Tyler, the Creator has a unique voice and a boundless creative spirit, and while his latest Mountain Dew ad may have been offensive to some, Odd Future’s co-manager Christian Clancy maintains Tyler meant no harm.
“It was never Tyler’s intention to offend however,” Clancy wrote in a statement he issued to MTV News and posted on his Tumblr on Wednesday. “Offense is personal and valid to anyone who is offended. Out of respect to those that were offended, the ad was taken down.”
The ad Clancy references was a Tyler-directed Mountain Dew spot, which was unveiled April 24 but came under fire Wednesday when social commentator and University of Syracuse professor Boyce Watkins wrote a post titled “Mountain Dew Releases Arguably the Most Racist Commercial in History” on YourBlackWorld.net.
Watkins charged that the commercial, which featured a goat (voiced by Tyler) in a police lineup with five black men, perpetuated a damaging and irresponsible stereotype.
Clancy apologized to those who took the ad out of context, but did offer up an explanation. “For those who know and respect Tyler, he is known for pushing boundaries and challenging stereotypes through humor. This is someone who grew up on David Chappelle,” he wrote, referencing the socially poignant comedian. “This situation is layered with context and is a discussion that Tyler would love to address in the right forum, as he does have a point of view.”
Tyler has been quiet about the controversy, only tweeting: “I Would Love To Have A Convo With @drboycewatkins1.”
His management expressed the importance of Tyler’s voice and clarified the intent behind the commercial. “This spot was part of an overall admittedly absurd storyline about a crazy goat who becomes obsessed with Mountain Dew,” Clancy wrote, simplifying the story arc of the three commercials. “He absolutely never intended to spark a controversy about race. It was simply an again admittedly absurd story that was never meant to be taken seriously.”
To close, Clancy offered a final apology on behalf of Tyler and Odd Future. “We apologize if this was taken out of context and would never trivialize racism, especially now in America where voting and civil rights are being challenged at the highest level,” he wrote.