A Mountain Dew online ad was pulled after backlash that criticized the ad for portraying racial stereotypes and making light of violence towards women. Tyler, The Creator developed the 60-second Mountain Dew online ad. The 60-second spot depicted a battered white woman on crutches who is urged by an officer to identify a suspect out of a lineup of African-American men.
Included in the Mountain Dew online ad's criminal lineup amongst the black men is a goat character known as Felicia. The goat makes threatening remarks to the battered white woman such as "Ya better not snitch on a player" and "Keep ya mouth shut." Eventually, the woman screams, "I can't do this, no no no!" and runs away. Apparently, the word "do" is a reference to Mountain Dew's "Dew It" slogan.
PepsiCo Inc. apologized for the Mountain Dew online ad in a statement and said that it understood how the ad could be offensive. The company was alerted on Tuesday by its consumer relations team that some people found the Mountain Dew online ad offensive, according to Jen Ryan, a spokesperson for PepsiCo.
The company immediately decided to take down the Mountain Dew online ad and Tyler, The Creator said he would take it down from his YouTube channel. According to Ryan, the online ad was never intended to air on television. Mountain Dew is marketed towards younger men.
The spokesperson for the Mountain Dew parent company said that Tyler, The Creator had "final approval" for the commercial, but she was not aware of the details of PepsiCo's involvement.
Tyler, The Creator's representative did not immediately respond to inquiries about the Mountain Dew online ad controversy. In the past, the rapper's songs have been criticized for being misogynistic and homophobic, but conversely, he has also publicly come out in support of singer Frank Ocean when the latter revealed that he was bisexual.
Mountain Dew is also entrenched in another legal battle right now regarding another rapper they sponsor: Lil Wayne. People are demanding that the Young Money rapper be dropped from his sponsorship deal with the PepsiCo company because of outrage over a recent song. In his remix of "Karate Chop," Lil Wayne includes the lyric "Beat that p**sy up like Emmett Till."
This reference is to a Chicago teen, who, in 1955, was infamously tortured and lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman while visiting Mississippi. Till's family objected to the line, and Rev. Jesse Jackson contacted Lil Wayne's management company, the Blueprint Group. Till's family says they'll pursue action to get Lil Wayne dropped from his Mountain Dew deal. Since then, Weezy has apologized for the lyrics.
So between the Mountain Dew online ad being pulled, and Lil Wayne's "Mountain" of a lyrical mishap - it looks like PepsiCo should be more careful moving forward with who they decide to sponsor and represent on their behalf!