“Offensive” Blackface South African Commercial Banned

A white actor plays a corrupt black dictator in a spot for the Cape Town Fish Market.

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa last week ruled that the ad, titled “Fresh, Part One,” was offensive and discriminatory.

The Authority received two complaints, which they summarized:

“…the commercial is offensive as it portrays a stereotype that black politicians are liars. This technique is known as blackface, and is an inherently racist form of acting. The black character is depicted with derogatory intention, speaks with a thick accent, and recalls a stereotypical black dictator. To achieve the desired result of showing a corrupt official, there was no need for the man to be made out to be black.”

The actor in the ad is Leon Shuster. The Market responded to the complaint, saying, in part:

“Schuster has made extensive use of white actors playing persons of colour to parody South African society for 20 years. There are also numerous international films that consist of white people playing black characters and vice versa. The first weekend that the commercial in question was flighted, aired the Hollywood film, Tropic Thunder, a film which featured a white actor playing a black character throughout the entire film.”

Ah yes, ye olde “Tropic Thunder” defense.
No word on if Mammy was also played on TV that weekend.

The commercial was banned from both TV and YouTube.
As of this writing, there are at least four copies of the ad available online.

Robert Mugabe has reportedly ordered the execution of everybody associated with the commercial, including any fish.


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