EMobile Monkey change for Barack Obama
Japanese mobile phone company EMobile has recently withdrawn a television commercial following allegations of racism. The Japanese advertisement has the company’s mascot, a macaque monkey dressed in a suit, addressing a political rally. The monkey’s speech advocates the need for a change to a better provider, EMobile. In the background banners feature the word ‘change’.
Complainants have pointed out the connection between the monkey’s change campaign and that of Barack Obama and have expressed concern that many African Americans were referred to as monkeys during the worst years of racism in the United States.
Sachio Senmoto, chairman of telecommunications company eMobile, said it had not intended to cause offense, but had opted to pull the ad because of the response to it.
“We had no bad intentions, but this is a cross-cultural gap issue and we have to accept it,” he said. “There are African-Americans in Japan, so we decided to take prompt action and shut down the ad.”