A KFC ad in Australia has led some on the Internet to accuse the company of being racially insensitive.
The ad, part of the company's "Cricket Survival Guide" promotional series, features a young white Australian at a cricket match sitting in a sea of dark-skinned fans loudly cheering, presumably for the opposition. The Australian, known as Mick in the ads, remarks, "Need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation?"
He then shares a big bucket of KFC with them, which seems to help matters. He ends by telling the camera approvingly, "Too easy."
The ad, which has been viewed over 200,000 times on YouTube and generated over 2,000 comments, is presented on that site with the leading title "Racist KFC Advertisement?" For what it's worth, the ad's title on KFC's website is "How to Silence a Noisy Crowd."
On Mediabistro, Kiran Aditham writes of the ad: "Here, a flustered white guy gets out of an "awkward situation"--which in this case appears to mean being stuck in a crowd of happy, cheering black people at a sporting event--by ordering in fried chicken."
Meanwhile Buzzfeed's Jack Shephard, who decided to drop the question mark and title his post "KFC's Racist Cricket Ad," introduces the video by saying, "What's a white guy to do when he awkwardly finds himself in a crowd full of black folks? KFC has the answer."
Is there a cultural context here that Americans are missing? One user writes on YouTube:
Americans might think this is racist because black people eating fried chicken is a stereotype that exists in their country. This ad was shown during cricket matches between Australia and the West Indies. If England had been playing at the time, the ad would have shown the bloke feeding chicken to the Barmy Army to make them sit down and shut up. There's no racism intended or perceived in Australia. The complaints I've seen have come from Americans guilty about they treat people in their country
What do you think? Is the ad offensive, or is this a case of overreaction?
UPDATE: 01/06: KFC issued the following statement Wednesday: "KFC Australia is removing the television advertisement that was being run in conjunction with the Australian cricket season. We apologize for any misinterpretation of the ad as it was not meant to offend anyone."
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