Utah State Fair ads pulled... too "sensual" or just racist?

Jared Hess, of Napoleon Dynamite fame ponders if racism is the reason these ads he directed were pulled. In the ads a jheri-curled soul singer is seen serenading a pig and a funnel cake, in a rather over the top fashion. The Utah State Fair Board members have said the ads just "weren't right." Some said they were offensive.

The Utah State Fair Board decided to pull the TV ads when some board members felt they had "sexual undertones" and were "over the top." But Hess says he believes it was only because the actor is black.

The actor in the ad, Markus T. Boddie says he doesn't believe the decision was racially motivated, but he can't say for sure.

"The spirit that we were trying to go for was the old ‘70s singers. They were ultrasmooth, ultracool and they could say anything and make it sound good."

Says Markus T. Boddie who does a really good supah-cheesay soul singer. Bonus points for Boddie pulling out his inner Barry White in the last words in this interview to purr Take a chill pill, baybeh.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com

If the javascript embed isn't working in your browser, go straight to KSL.com for video

Meanwhile, the radio-ads with the exact same songs are still running.

* Edit See comments, I only just learned how to spell "Jheri-curl" right. Not "Jerry-curl" then. I bet this knowledge will leave my head in the next five minutes and I'll make this mistake again in the future.

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HowieSPM's picture

I refuse to back either claim. They are just horrible spots. Utah is at least 90% Caucasian. With the rest being mostly Latino. They are a prude state. Mormon overwhelmingly. Don't drink don't smoke what do they do. Still have backass laws on drinking etc.

But the Spots Sucked. Horrible. I loved Napoleon Dynamite. And I know he was trying for humor. But why did Utah have this director do these commercials?

Everyone failed all around.

Dabitch's picture

Personally I don't think they were "over the top" enough. Okay, hypothetcally if we find the songs funny (and I guess the pig serenade sorta is), then yes, it works well as radio. But there's really no extra in the video to make this need a visual execution. It's just a bad jerry-curl wig, vintage clothing, backlit, and yeah... That's it. The commercial is just not quite over-the-top enough, for TV. IMHO, YMMV.

Pig being serenaded on a dark red satin bed would have made it funnier already.

HowieSPM's picture

I am curious if the 'racism' view is because it's a black male being sexual with animals and food. Or if they feel it is stereotyping blacks.

I love the Pig in a Red Satin Bed. But also think maybe a White Mormon Farmer serenading would be better.

Dabitch's picture

Okay, NOW You made it funny. A typically mormon farmer dude channeling his inner Barry White serenading a pig, with a choir (doing gospel dancing moves) of Fundamentalist Church of Latter-Day Saints dressed and coiffed mormon women screaming their exited haleluYEAHs behind him as the song picks up.

See, that's funny. It would also likely offend the heck out of the target market, I suppose.

kaliganges's picture
Dabitch's picture

Ha! Learn something new every day, qouteth the wiki :"often incorrectly spelled Jerry curl or Jeri Curl", aaw. Me bad.

What's this up-do called? :)

andromeda's picture

They're radio ads. Not racist.... Or too "sensual" ? wtf? They're just not very funny as commercials. As radio ads though, they're not bad as Boddie sings quite well.