For Tyler, the Creator, the Mountain Dew spots he directed was his shot at bringing his wild, child-like creativity to new heights. When he debuted the final installment of his three-part commercial in New York City on April 24, the Odd Future ring leader was proud of his creation, now the ad has been pulled by Mountain Dew after charges of racism.
At first Tyler didn’t want to get his hopes up after learning that the soft drink company was interested in hearing his pitch, but at the urging of his manager Christian Clancy, the rapper/producer and noted video director took the meeting.
“I’m gonna tell them some stupid idea I come up with five minutes before the meeting and they’re gonna think it’s f—in’ retarded,” Tyler told veteran hip-hop journalist Elliott Wilson onstage at his #CRWN interview series just minutes before debuting the commercial in question for a live audience. “I’m so used to people saying, ‘That’s f—ing retarded and I’m looking at Clancy like, ‘Yo are they serious’ and they actually liked it.”
The first commercial in the series follows Felicia the Goat (voiced by Tyler), who attacks a waitress after she fails to bring mass amounts of Mountain Dew. The second spot finds the goat eluding the police after a highway stop, and in the controversial third ad, the goat stands in a police lineup in the middle of five black men. The waitress, in bandages and on crutches, gets intimidated by the Felicia the Goat and runs out of the police station screaming. The image was too much to ignore for activist Dr. Boyce Watkins, who wrote a post on YourBlackWorld.net on Wednesday (May 1) taking Mountain Dew and Tyler to task for perpetuating a stereotype and what he described as “corporate racism.”
Back in April, Tyler admitted that the idea was immature, but for him, that was the appeal. He described the creative process from its inception, to picking the right goat, to editing the spots himself. “Next thing I know I’m at the editing bay putting together the cuts for the commercial I shot with this f—in’ goat and it dawned on me like ‘Finally someone looked past the rape or the devil worshipping or the immaturity which is evident in the commercial,” he said acknowledging the controversial content of his music. “They actually gave me a chance and let me be seven years old with their product.”
Tyler went on to thank Mountain Dew and even professed his love for the company, but today the Pepsi-backed soft drink giant yanked the ads and expressed their regret in a statement issued to MTV News. “We apologize for this video and take full responsibility. We have removed it from all Mountain Dew channels and Tyler is removing it from his channels as well,” the soda company said.