Anil Dash Pops Off About Ashton Kutcher's Going 'Brownface' in Popchips Ad

Tech Guru Softens Stance on Epic Post Slamming Snack Company After Speaking to Founder

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For a second, tech guru Anil Dash was so over Popchips.

Not because he didn't like the taste, but because its recent digital campaign featuring Ashton Kutcher in "brownface," as Mr. Dash called it, "revealed a much larger, more complex problem with their company and with the ecosystem of people and companies that they partner with," he wrote in a blog post this afternoon.

Anil Dash
Anil Dash

In the course of that post, Mr. Dash slammed various companies and people responsible for creating and promoting the ad. He made sure to harshly criticize ad agency Zambezi, PR agency Alison Brod and Mr. Kutcher.

Here's what he had asked for, via his blog:

* That the PR firm that promoted this campaign should acknowledge its failure.

* That Ashton Kutcher should personally apologize.

* That Popchips should not pull this ad down but instead should leave it up and link to not an apology, but an explanation of how their process failed and resulted in this racist ad being created.

* That the firm that led the creation of the ad should name the team members who participated in its creation.

But that was before he spoke to the founder of Popchips, Keith Belling. After Mr. Belling took his call, he tweeted this: "@anildash Just got off the phone w/ the founder of @popchips, who was thoughtful, sincere, & contrite. I'm optimistic about their response."

We'll see if Popchips delivers. When Ad Age last checked, the video was already made private on YouTube -- which would be in violation of Mr. Dash's wishes. And the company, via PR agency Alison Brod PR, didn't acknowledge any wrongdoing in a statement to us.

It said: "The new Popchips worldwide dating video and ad campaign was created to provoke a few laughs and was never intended to stereotype or offend anyone. At Popchips we embrace all types of shapes, flavors and colors, and appreciate all snackers, no matter their race or ethnicity. We hope people can enjoy this in the spirit it was intended."

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