After critics cried 'fowl' over Burger King running a commercial of Mary J. Blige singing about its fried chicken snack wraps, the company quickly pulled the spot from TV and You Tube. Though it claims the decision stemmed from licensing issues, cynics are convinced the fast food chain was caught with egg on its face for playing into racial stereotypes.
An online version of the spot went viral this week, spurring bloggers and others to dress down the burger chain. "(It) reminded many of us that stereotypes of dancing, singing, and chicken-loving black people still remain prevalent in the hearts and minds of advertisers," wrote Janell Hazelwood of Black Enterprise.
Instead of her usual lyrics about love, loss and the meaning of life, Blige burst into a silly song about "crispy chicken, fresh lettuce, three cheeses, (and) ranch dressing wrapped up in a tasty, flour tortilla" in the short-lived commercial.
The sultry singer was called out along with the burger chain for selling out to make a few bucks. "This is so beneath you," wrote Renay Alize in an open letter to Blige on Madame Noire. "This harmonizing about chicken is a move I would associate with someone whose glory days were far behind them . . . . You are the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, not a court jester for the so-called King of Burgers!"
The Bronx-born singer and actress is not the first celebrity to get clucked at for making a TV commercial in questionable taste.
Critics called a foul on web-based coupon club Groupon for running a series of Super Bowl commercials last year featuring Cuba Gooding Jr., Elizabeth Hurley and Timothy Hutton. The ads started out as documentaries about serious problems such as freedom for Tibet and vanishing rain forests that morphed into crass pitches for curry dinners and Brazilian waxes on the cheap.
Four years ago, a Dunkin' Donuts ad featuring cooking queen Rachel Ray was pulled after conservative bloggers claimed her scarf looked like a keffiyeh -- a type of scarf worn by some Middle Eastern terrorists as well as every day Arabs.
And Ashley Graham's ad for Lane Bryant's sexy lingerie line was not allowed to air on ABC TV's "Dancing With the Stars" because the network allegedly thought the busty model showed too much cleavage. In what the NY Post called a "plus-sized bra-hah," the surprised Graham said, "The first thing I thought of was Victoria's Secret commercials, and how they're just as racy, if not more racy, than Lane Bryant. [The models are] just a lot smaller than what I am. [ABC] can't handle bigger on TV, bigger boobs on a normal-sized woman on TV."
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