Sony Pulls Controversial Dutch PSP Ad

Reuters, July 12, 2006

[See “Sony Ad Causes White Riot”]

Sony said on Tuesday it had pulled a Dutch billboard advertising campaign for the new white version of its PlayStation Portable video game player and apologized to anyone offended by the ad, which critics dubbed racist.

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Sony said that the Netherlands campaign intended to highlight the color contrast between the existing black PSP and the new ceramic white PSP.

Instead, the ad campaign riled California Assemblyman Leland Yee, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a youth civil rights education project called Sojourn to the Past.

Those critics condemned Sony’s use of the racially charged photo to sell a product and said it recalled an age and time when black people were portrayed in minstrel shows.

“We recognize that the subject matter of one specific image may have caused concern in some countries not directly affected by the advertising. As a result, we have now withdrawn the campaign,” said Sony, which has also removed the image from its Dutch PSP site and apologized to those put off by the ad.

“I am pleased to see Sony taking responsibility for their racially charged ad and appropriately pulling it from the marketplace,” said Yee, who has spearheaded state legislation aimed at keeping excessively violent and sexually explicit games out of the hands of minors.

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