Ashton Kutcher’s “Racist” Advertisement: What Do You Think?

Posted by Ranjit Rodricks
May 4, 2012
Ashton Kutcher as Raj in his video spoof for Popchips

Ashton Kutcher as Raj in his video spoof for Pop Chips

Errr….are we as Indians losing our sense of humour? Have we totally lost the plot? This is strictly MY OWN opinion and it does not reflect on the opinions of Team MissMalini, but I absolutely feel that there is nothing racist or insensitive about Ashton Kutcher’s spoof as Raj, a Bollywood producer, for Pop Chips. What’s the hullabaloo about and why was it banned or considered racist?

Why is it that we can’t laugh at our idiosyncrasies? And aren’t we so colour-conscious that we peddle skin bleaches, fairness creams and skin whitening creams? Here is what the Twitterati has to say:

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Ashton getting made-up for the role of Raj

Ashton getting made-up for the role of Raj

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Ashton Kutcher for Pop Chips

Ashton Kutcher for Pop Chips (PHOTO by: MICHAEL SIMON/

Twitter reactions

Twitter reactions

Seriously guys and girls, are you offended by this spoof? Please add your comments below!


  • Leave A Comment
    • Bee

      honestly speaking, I thought this is the best he has ever acted… hahahha
      why was this banned? and they want to keep the vaginal fairness advert? LOL- we Indians seriously need to work on our sense of humor!

    • Aditi

      Our society is a very hypocrtical one.
      Look at the matrimonial advertisements and you will see “XYZ seeks a fair,beautiful…blah blah.”
      WHY? We are naturally brown and fact of matter is, it’s SEXY!

      On a serious note, it just shows how our society loves to put up a facade of accepting certain truths while simultaneously breeding an attitude of intolerance towards the duskier(Read: Natural) skin.

      I can go on, but one gets the gist.

    • Miss R.


      I don’t think Indians (those living in India), would find it racist because Indians are not a minority group in India. Looking at the tweets mentioned above, those are from people who reside in India. Does India have discrimination? Yes, there is so much, including discrimination based on religion and class. But it is not the same as the racism that Indians or those of South Asian descent encounter in the west.

      However, Indians are a minority group in the West. In the US, Canada or Australia, minorities often have a hard time being accepted into mainstream society. In fact, a recent Toronto Star article found resumes belonging to those with an “ethnic” last name were less likely to get called back for an interview. There are always those who will discriminate them based on their skin colour. The problem with this ad is that it perpetuates an unflattering stereotype. It only adds to the negative image of Indians that some have formed in their mind.
      I mean, kids can watch this video, and mock their classmates of South Asian descent with their version of an Indian accent the next day in school.

      Check out these links, to understand how racism affects minority groups in the west:


    • Erica

      I think Ashton in his series spoofed much more offensive ads than Raj. I think this is really an issue of a non Indian making fun of a stereotype, no one gets nearly this up in arms when its Russell Peters. We all need to live and let live a bit, I am far more offended by how Time of India portrays successful non Indian actresses in the West. Daily you open the paper to see Oscar winners or very well respected actresses always in like the most revealing bikini clad or just plain sleazy looking photo even if from years ago. What stereotype is that putting out there? These ads were done in humor not with any malicious intent, that’s the difference.

    • elton

      as a culture, we indians need to learn to feel adequate and build our self-esteem. only weakness makes one feel targeted. whatever happened to our sense of humor / wit?!?! i personally have nver liked Ashton, but hes hilarious… n if that pays his bills, good for him!

    • Neel

      Okay for context imagine a white person “blackening” their face dressed in full hip hop outfit, gold chains hanging out, grill in mouth then proceeds to identify himself in full thug rapper lingo as a spoof to the Afican American community. Now imagine if Kutcher instead of using the prosthetic nose to potray Raj decided to paint himself yellow and tape his eyes squinty. Just imagine the reaction in America if any of those things were to happen. Imagine the repurcussions when it comes to the Asian American and African American communities. You think Kutcher would be able to work in any meaningful way in Hollywood again without apologizing? Here its not gonna matter at all. The ads purpose is done. Its has got the needed publcity for a really lame ad. Its got controversy rolling against a community which does not know the boundaries of self respect. Young Indians like me in the US are perpetually trying to fit in. Any racism levelled against Indians and the reaction amongst them is usually of a self loathing “but look how racist we are” type. So the message to corporations is: If you want controversy and cheap publicity to sell your product: be racist against Indians, not many are going to stand up.

    • Zara

      oh please, Indians need to get that stick out of their …
      I am of Indian descent and married to an American guy and let me tell you, Desis are more racist than most whites or blacks I have encountered.
      Like the author said they don;t have a problem peddling fairness cream and bleaches to look white and demand more dowry from a darker shade woman, the obsession to white skin is almost hilarious. Yet, gasp of somebody makes fun of something innocous, we all get bent outta shape.
      gosh have these indian see how we depict out very own people in movies for instance how all south indians are lumped as “Madrasis” and shown speaking in a ridiculous accent and slurping curd rice? We have no qualms about calling blacks “Kallus” or asians “Chinks”.
      We Are like this Only!

    • Zara

      We are desis we can squirt coca colas outta our nose laughing @ shahrukh khan acs like a “madrasi” and make an ass of himself.
      We will laugh oursleves silly, when sridevi tapes her eyes to act as a chinese woman.
      We show all white woman as money grabbing sluts in our movies.
      We have no qualms buying fairness creams
      But we cannot laugh at oursleves.
      We have no sense of humor we are a drab people.
      people sit down and watch yourselves some “Dave Chapelle”

    • http://none grogfa

      I feel this ad was offensive, because it was done by Ashton Kutcher. Why dont they just make Mel Gibson do the same ad. At least he is a better actor.

    • Miss P

      Come on guys, this is 2012! I just think this guy Dash saw a PR opportunity and overreacted. Here is an eye-opening article by a srilankan born Hong KOng resident, I so agree with him,

      we should learn to ignore such silly things, they are not as mean as the sardarji jokes that we read each day. And moreover the Indian diaspora has grown strong and smarter, the world already recognizes our worth, why then petty over Kutcher’s portrayal.

    • Ritika

      Ok so far, 98% comments i have heard, have been those claiming this video is just fine and indians need to be able to take a joke and all that. Where do i find the people who are actually creating the ‘furore’? I think we jump to declare shame on the people who cant take the joke, when i think they are anyway such a small percentage. Every time, some video or article like this comes up, the protestors are assumed to be a larger number than they actually are. IMO.

    • MissMalini

      Well said Zara! We have to stop taking ourselves so seriously and have some fun with it :) xoxo

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