Acura issued an apology after celebrity site TMZ revealed that the casting sheet for its Jerry Seinfeld Super Bowl ad specified an African-American actor who was “not too dark” to play the car dealer.
In the ad, stars and car buffs Jerry Seinfeld and Jay Leno argue over who’ll get to buy the first production version of Acura’s NSX supercar concept.
TMZ obtained and posted the audition notice for the African-American car dealer role. In it, the casting agency sought an actor who was “Nice looking friendly. Not too dark.”
Seeking an explanation, TMZ wrote that “someone associated with casting the commercial” told the site that a reason for the restriction was because “lighting and special effects would get tricky.”
It was Acura’s first-ever Super Bowl ad and was created for Acura by its ad agency, Santa Monica, Calif.-based RPA.
It was considered a success for the brand, but Acura found itself having to issue this statement:
We apologize to anyone offended by the language on the casting sheet used in the selection of actors for one of our commercials.
We sought to cast an African-American in a prominent role in the commercial, and we made our selection based on the fact that he was the most talented actor.
The casting sheet was only now brought to our attention. We are taking appropriate measures to ensure that such language is not used again in association with any work performed on behalf of our brand.