In the last seven days,
Hyundai has pulled an ad that shows a man’s failed suicide attempt due to the car’s 100% water emissions, Mountain Dew yanked its video that perpetuates “racist” stereotypes and glorifies violence against women, and now GM has had to apologise and remove an ad for a global commercial that calls China “the land of Fu Manchu” where people say “ching, chop suey.”The commercial is a riff on Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris,” except instead of someone from the present getting picked up in car by hip 1930’s artists and writers, it’s a man from the early 20th century who gets to take a ride in a Chevrolet Trax.
The pile of Asian stereotypes comes in the commercial’s soundtrack, “Booty Swing” by DJ Parov Stelar, which is based on Lil Hardin Armstrong’s “Oriental Swing.”
While lyrics about how “geisha girls in old Japan” pronounce “Americans” like “Amerilans” might have flown in the ’30s, the year 2013 is less forgiving of these racial stereotypes.
GM Canada communications director told the South China Morning Post, “Once the issue was called to our attention, GM immediately removed the offensive content from the commercial. As the goal of advertising is to engage an audience and draw their attention to a featured product and it is never our intention to offend the audience, we made a decision to edit the advertisement.”
Other edits of the commercial without the lyrics have began running in Canada.
Watch the original spot below:
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