First Helen Thomas negates years of courageous presidential interviews with her anti-Semitic outbursts and now Michael Jordan wears a Hitler moustache in a Hanes commercial? What is wrong with these people? Don’t they know that the suggestion of prejudice is not acceptable even if you’re an endearing character? Even Ashton Kutcher knows it’s wrong and he tweets about his love life with Demi Moore.
Before you write back and tell me that Jordan’s moustache is just some facial hair and doesn’t suggest anti-Semitism, please consider the power of the icon. After all, a Ku Klux Klan robe is just a white sheet, a noose is just a piece of rope and an axe handle is just a piece of wood but they all come preloaded with powerful meaning. And the best advertising is all about the emotional power of icons.
Thomas might be senile, and although that doesn’t excuse her hate speech at least she doesn’t have any handlers we can blame. But Jordan was surrounded by art directors, writers, producers, directors, P.A.s, etc. and plenty of others who should have realized what a horrible message he was sending.
What is Hanes going to do to follow this gaff, hire Mel Gibson as their next spokesman?