A Coke ad has been called racist by Arab-American groups ahead of its broadcast during the Super Bowl half-time commercials slot on Sunday (February 3, 2013). The ad - depicting an Arab walking through the desert with a camel - will be seen by around 100 million U.S. viewers this week.
According to Reuters, one group has asked the beverage giant to change the commercial before CBS airs the game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers. "Why is it that Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers?" said Warren David, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Cola-Cola released an online teaser of the commercial this week, which sees the Arab come across cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls and a motley crew inspired by the marauders in the movie Mad Max, all racing for a gigantic bottle of Coke. In its ad, Coke asks viewers to vote online on which characters should win the race. Viewers cannot vote for the Arab character.
"The Coke commercial for the Super Ball is racist, portraying Arabs as backward and foolish Camel Jockeys, and they have no chance to win in the world," Imam Ali Siddiqui, president of the Muslim Institute for Interfaith Studies, said in an email. Ronald Goodstein, professor at the McDonough School of Business of Georgetown University, admitted he was surprised by the imagery, "If Coke's vision is to be an arm's distance away from every customer, why would they want to offend the Arab world?"
Watch the Coke ad called racist by Arab-American groups: