Arab-American groups have sharply criticized  a Coca-Cola Super Bowl ad depicting an Arab walking through the desert with a  camel, and one group said it would ask the beverage giant to change it before  CBS airs the game on Sunday before an expected audience of more than 100 million  U.S. viewers.

Coca-Cola released an online teaser of  the  commercial last week, showing the Arab walking through a desert. He  soon sees  cowboys, Las Vegas showgirls and a motley crew fashioned after the marauders of  the apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ film race by him to reach a  gigantic bottle of Coke.

‘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, or ADC.

In its ad, Coke asks viewers  to vote online on which characters  should win the race. The online site does not allow a 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.

‘What message is Coke sending with this?’  asked Abed Ayoub, ADC’s director of legal and policy affairs. ‘By not including  the Arab in the race, it is clear that the Arab is held to a different standard  when compared to the other characters in the commercial,’ he said.

CBS declined comment. Coca-Cola spokeswoman  Lauren Thompson said Coke took a ‘cinematic’ approach with the ad, employing the  characters as a nod to movies of the past.

‘Coca-Cola is an inclusive brand enjoyed by  all demographics,’ she said in an email. ‘We illustrate our core values, from  fun and refreshment to happiness, inspiration and optimism across all of our  marketing communications.’

Ayoub said ADC intended to contact Coke and  CBS Corp on Thursday to ‘hopefully start a dialog.’

‘I want to know why this happened and how can  we fix this if possible before Sunday,’ he said.

The ADC garnered attention back in 1992 when  it complained that lyrics in the Walt Disney animated film ‘Aladdin’ were  racist.

Ronald Goodstein, professor at the McDonough  School of Business at Georgetown University, said he was surprised by the image  as well.

Source: The Daily Mail


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