"The portrayal of a young Asian woman speaking broken English in a Super Bowl ad being run by U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra against Michigan incumbent Debbie Stabenow is bringing charges of racial insensitivity.
“Some Asian-Americans may be offended by the stereotype that is portrayed in the spot,” said Robert Kolt, who teaches advertising part-time at Michigan State University and had previewed a number of Sunday’s Super Bowl ads. “Pete seems like a nice guy in the ad, but I think he is wasting a lot of money now.
The 30-second ad was filmed in California and never mentions China directly. It opens with the sound of a gong and shows a young Asian woman riding a bike on a narrow path lined by rice paddies.
Stopping her bike, the woman smiles into the camera and says:
“Thank you, Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow. Debbie spends so much American money. You borrow more and more from us. Your economy get very weak. Ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you, Debbie Spenditnow.”
The scene then shifts to Hoekstra telling viewers near a cozy fire, “I think this race is between Debbie Spenditnow and Pete Spenditnot.”
The Hoekstra campaign set up a website, www.DebbieSpendItNow.com , that features the ad and includes Chinese writing, paper lanterns, parade dragons and Stabenow’s face on a Chinese fan. It accuses the Democratic senator of “pouring American dollars into the Chinese economy.”