Is This Ashton Kutcher Video Racist or Just Unfunny?

Ashton Kutcher is doing a new campaign for PopChips in which he portrays different characters in a bunch of “dating videos.” One of them is “Raj,” an indian man that you can see above. It’s being called racist by a bunch of different people, most notably by tech pundit Anil Dash. Is it racist? He’s wearing “brownface,” which isn’t the same as blackface, which is offensive and racist because of its history, not just because people are wearing makeup. And I don’t like flinging accusations of racism or offensiveness at comedians unless it’s really, truly warranted; comedians deserve the benefit of the doubt for the most part. But there’s still something unseemly about this video — watching it made me uncomfortable immediately.

But was I uncomfortable because it’s racist, or because it just sucks? Because regardless of charges of racism, it isn’t good comedy. This shit makes The Love Guru look like Dr. Strangelove. What do you think? Is this truly offensive, warranting a scrambled apology from the PR company and yanked ads, or is it just another example of a lousy commercial that’s not funny but is, in the end, harmless?

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