This morning I received an email from a New York-based CNN producer about a story that broke concerning a Super Bowl commercial that had been airing. Reportedly, the casting notice for the commercial was looking for an “African-American car dealer. Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark.” Ooops.
The producer wanted to know if this sort of thing was common and if I was available to speak with them about it. Hmmm.
Then, a while later, I received another email from a Los Angeles-based CNN producer. This producer I know and am friendly with. It was tricky and I wasn’t sure I wanted to get involved without knowing much about the specific casting. I am very familiar with the casting office, I audition there regularly and have booked commercials there in the past.
The story didn’t specify who or why the directive was put in the casting notice. Did it come from the ad agency, the client, the casting office, etc? I don’t know. Was it for technical/lighting/special effect reasons, was it racism, etc? I thought it was probably best that I issue a “No Comment” on the matter...my agents agreed. I felt important for a moment. Like my opinion mattered!