Ashton Kutcher criticized over 'brownface' ad

By Robert Kirchgassner,
Actor Ashton Kutcher arriving at the premiere of 'New Year's Eve' at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on December 5, 2011 in Hollywood. Philip Vaughan

Ashton Kutcher’s new online dating ad for Popchips is under fire for being racist.

In the ad, Kutcher plays five different characters, including himself. One of these characters is named Raj, a Bollywood producer.

Although the spot has its fans, the sight of Kutcher, 34, in brown makeup and with a mock accent has displeased some people.

New York writer/entrepreneur Anil Dash called for an apology from Popchips and Kutcher.

"I think the people behind this Popchips ad are not racist. I think they just made a racist ad, because they're so steeped in our culture's racism that they didn't even realize they were doing it," Dash wrote.

"[T]hey got to pull this shit and apologize, that's it," hip-hop group Das Racist tweeted. "[I]t's 2012, come on."

Other stereotypes Kutcher portrays in the ad include a bearded redneck, a British hippie and a German diva.

"The new Popchips worldwide dating video and ad campaign featuring four characters was created to provoke a few laughs and was never intended to stereotype or offend anyone," Popchips said in a statement. "At Popchips we embrace all types of shapes, flavors and colors, and appreciate all snackers, no matter their race or ethnicity. We hope people can enjoy this in the spirit it was intended."

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