The makers of a trendy California snack food have apologized for their Internet advertisement featuring Ashton Kutcher in brownface as a goofy but lovelorn Bollywood film producer.
Popchips acknowledged "a lot of feedback" to its new ad campaign this week in which the "Two and a Half Men" star and soon-to-be divorcee plays five different bachelors in a spoof dating-service commercial.
One's a hippy. Another a biker. The third a fashion designer called Darl who looks like Karl Lagerfeld, and a fourth is Kutcher himself. But it was the Hollywood actor playing "Raj" that triggered online outrage.
"Don't watch it; It's a hackneyed, unfunny advertisement featuring Kutcher in brownface ... with the entire punchline being that he's doing it in a fake-Indian outfit and voice," New York tech consultant Anil Dash blogged.
On Twitter, the rap group Das Racist asked Kutcher, who is in the midst of a divorce from fellow thespian Demi Moore: "Hey @aplusk, what's with the racist brownface video?"
On his corporate blog, Popchips founder Keith Belling responded: "Our team worked hard to create a light-hearted parody featuring a variety of characters that was meant to provide a few laughs."
"We did not intend to offend anyone. I take full responsibility and apologize to anyone we offended."
Popchips pulled an 88-second video of "Raj" from its YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/popchipsfans) -- but kept a compilation in which Kutcher affects a Hindi accent, scratches his foot and declares he's "looking for the most delicious thing on the planet ... like Kardashian hot."