The Society Pages and Jalopnik recently discussed a casting call for the Acura Super Bowl commercial (with Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno). For the role of African American Car Dealer the “role details” stipulated that the actor should be: “Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark. Will work with a MAJOR COMEDIAN.” I think that Jalopnik has the most interesting commentary on this one, stating:
If you’re wondering why this might be outrageous to some, step back for a moment and look at the inverse of a casting request looking for “Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark.” You’d get “Ugly looking, mean. Dark.”
Jalopnik also comments on Acura’s apology, noting that the apology does not actually admit that anybody did anything wrong:
Acura Statement RE: Casting Call
We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials.
We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor.
The casting sheet was only now brought to our attention. We are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such language is not used again in association with any work performed on behalf of our brand.
Anyone in there hear an apology for favoring a light-skinned black actor? Not us.