In what can only be described as a growing trend, another automaker finds itself in trouble for an ad that critics are calling offensive. A new television and internet ad for the Chevrolet Trax subcompact crossover is under fire for its soundtrack, which a Chinese newspaper has labeled "racist."

The commercial blends the not-sold-in-the-US vehicle with a Flapper-era backdrop and soundtrack, and it's the latter that has General Motors spokeswoman Ryndee Carney issuing an on-the-record apology to Advertising Age: "Our intent was not to offend anyone and we're deeply sorry if anyone was offended... we're reviewing our advertising approval processes to make sure this doesn't happen again." The song in question, Booty Swing, is performed by Austrian DJ and producer Parov Stelar, refers to "the land of Fu Manchu" a place in which the girls sing "ching, ching, chop-suey." The South China Morning Post was among the first to publish a story criticizing the commercial as racist.

The ad, known as The Original Reborn, has been running in Canada – where the vehicle is on sale – and AdAge also reports that it has been featured on the automaker's European websites. Since the controversy erupted, Chevrolet has since substituted a new version of the ad that omits the lyrics, but you can view the original by scrolling below.

Controversial ads are nothing new for this industry, but there has been a bumper crop of them lately, including a recent Hyundai suicide-themed spot and a series of Indian-market Ford print ads featuring celebrity caricatures making light of S&M-tinged kidnappings.

UPDATE: A video of the song itself has been added below – it spells out the lyrics in question.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 144 Comments
      vvk
      • 1 Year Ago
      What is racist about this ad?
      EZEE
      • 1 Year Ago
      Chevy should have realized that in an era where using the names/words \'Chicago, Apartment, 5 Boys, Kitchen Cabinet, Breadbasket of the South, and PGA\' are considered racist hate speech code words, that this would be racist. Obviously not racist for anyone that can open a dictionary, but, Chevy should have known.
      deus ex wagon
      • 1 Year Ago
      How can anyone be offended by lyrics that are completely unintelligible?
      bofdem
      • 1 Year Ago
      This song has been used in a TON of commercials. I think it was used in the Cosmopolitan resort/casino commercial last year AND a Bacardi commercial - you think that they called it racist? Come on. And Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people are some of the MOST racist in the world.
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bofdem
        \"And Chinese, Japanese, and Korean people are some of the MOST racist in the world.\" Depending on how you define racism. If you define it as dirty looks and rude reception, then yes. If you define it as beatings, killings, lynching, dragging, bombing, etc, then americans are way ahead in that respect.
      Rex Monaco
      • 1 Year Ago
      It's catchy. I like it. I'm going to iTunes now to buy this song.
      rem
      • 1 Year Ago
      This isn't racist but I guess it could be labelled culturally insensitive. Still, this is much, much, much milder than most of the other offensive ads that have been released recently and the South China Morning Post is being far too sensitive. The song in question appears to 'rib' the Japanese, Arabs and Gypsies as well...
      PiCASSO
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow... that is such BS.
      sixsix
      • 1 Year Ago
      Grow up people. The child hood chant "sticks and bones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" did a lot of good..that is until this generation of adult children. I'm rarely offended by things considered highly offensive to my genre yet I never cry to the media or gubment about it. Once again, GROW UP. It's hardly a surprise we have so many meltdowns and shootings when we have a society of adult children. If life really was as difficult as the leeches and their leaders make it out to be, there would be no time to complain about being offended. The problem is we have too much damn time on our hands. For the sake of our society, keep your crying to yourselves and direct that attention towards something more productive. Damn people.
      LongIslandSteven
      • 1 Year Ago
      Did anyone else listen to Parov Stelar's other songs? Their music is pretty hot.
        WheelMcCoy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @LongIslandSteven
        Can't deny the beat is hot and it captures the flapper era. Still, Parov Stelar needs to update their lyrics. For the GM ad, it's about a car being reborn -- modern, and more advanced than before. The song needs to do likewise.
        thedriveatfive
        • 1 Year Ago
        @LongIslandSteven
        Yep electro swing for the win
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      So many things are found offensive by people nowadays. One has to walk on eggshells.
      Curtis
      • 1 Year Ago
      I don't watch TV so I never would have seen this ad if not for this controversy. I'm glad I saw it because that song is very catchy! Parov Stelar is now on my playlist on Spotify:)
      BryanGx
      • 1 Year Ago
      I listened to the ad and didn't hear that line of the lyrics.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BryanGx
        14 seconds in
          Mr E
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          I sort of heard it, but it's barely recognizeable. They should've just claimed they said something else, like "hold me closer, tony danza"
          crshcrstr
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Cayman
          @mr e All I heard was "there's a bathroom on the right." or maybe it was "excuse me, while I kiss this guy..."
        BryanGx
        • 1 Year Ago
        @BryanGx
        I heard "Fu Manchu," but after that it was just "blah blah blah blah," unrecognizable.
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