Besides the fact that they engage in some of the worst factory farming practices around, KFC is also in the habit of making really racist television ads. A recent one out of Australia:
[Video description: The video opens with a logo reading “KFC’s Cricket Survival Guide.” A white guy sits in what appear to be sports arena bleachers, surrounded by cricket fans, all of whom appear to be non-white. They are dancing, playing instruments and singing. He looks annoyed, rubbing his face and looking around like he’s confused. He says, “Need a tip when you’re stuck in an awkward situation?” Then he hands out a bucket of fried chicken and everyone goes silent and you can hear the game in the background. He says, “Too easy,” which is followed by the formal KFC pitch.]
KFC has pulled the ad, but a spokesperson nonetheless defends it, basically saying that it’s only causing an uproar because it was reproduced in the United States where people are racist, when it was really just intended for not-racist Australians:
It is a light-hearted reference to the West Indian cricket team. The ad was reproduced online in the US without KFC’s permission, where we are told a culturally-based stereotype exists, leading to the incorrect assertion of racism. We unequivocally condemn discrimination of any type and have a proud history as one of the world’s leading employers for diversity.
Perhaps it is true that the “black people just love fried chicken!” stereotype isn’t as prevalent in Australia as it is in the United States; I’ll buy that. But even if you replace the fried chicken with something else, the commercial is still… troubling. The fried chicken makes it worse, but even if it was a box of jelly beans, the message is still “Oh jeez, this white guy is surrounded by loud-ass black people but if he gives them something nice they will calm down and not be so noisy!”
I don’t doubt that Australia has a different context for this ad than the United States does, but I have a hard time believing that it would only be considered racist over in my corner of the world. Aussie readers, am I wrong?
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