A Mountain Dew add created by the hip-hop collective Odd Future has been pulled from online distribution after critics lambasted the ad for its perceived racist undertones.
The ad, which premiered on Odd Future’s late-night TV show “Loiter Squad” over the weekend, hit the Internet soon after and almost immediately received criticism for its portrayal of African-Americans. Reuters reports that in the ad -- conceived by Odd Future leader Tyler, the Creator -- members of Odd Future are seen in a police lineup along with a goat named Felicia.
Critics have claimed that the commercial is racist because of the implicit assumption that all young black men are criminals, and that they are on the level of animals.
Syracuse University professor Dr. Boyce Watkins harshly criticized the commercial in an essay entitled “Mountain Dew Releases Arguably the Most Racist Commercial In History.”
“Of course, in the world of Mountain Dew, every single suspect is black,” Watkins writes. “Not just regular black people, but the kinds of ratchety negroes you might find in the middle of any hip-hop minstrel show: Gold teeth, ‘mean mugging,’ sun glasses wearing, white-t sportin, hard core n*ggaz ready to ‘get into some ol gangsta sh*t.’”
Before the ad was pulled from the Internet, Tyler, the Creator stated that he personally pitched the advertisement idea to PepsiCo and Mountain Dew. Tyler, the Creator shot and edited the commercial while other members of Odd Future (also known as Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) starred in it.
"I'm gonna tell them some stupid idea I come up with five minutes before the meeting and they're gonna think it's f---in' retarded," Tyler told hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson before debuting the commercial for a live audience. "I'm so used to people saying, 'That's f***ing retarded and I'm looking at Clancy like, 'Yo are they serious' and they actually liked it."
In the same interview, Tyler stated that despite the immaturity in the commercial, he was proud to have the opportunity to work on it.
"Next thing I know I'm at the editing bay putting together the cuts for the commercial I shot with this f---in' goat and it dawned on me like 'Finally someone looked past the rape or the devil worshipping [in his music] or the immaturity which is evident in the commercial," Tyler said. "They actually gave me a chance and let me be seven years old with their product."
Watch Tyler, the Creator discuss the commercial below.