Acura, the luxury vehicle division of Japanese automaker Honda, was recently forced to issue a public apology following accusations of racial discrimination at an audition for one of its Super Bowl ads.
The company has been criticized and labeled racist after documents from a casting agency that Acura hired for a Super Bowl ad suggested that the company was seeking a "not too dark" African-American to play the role of car dealer in the commercial, according to TMZ.
"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," Acura said in a statement to TMZ.
"As for the language 'not too dark,' 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," the company added.
The commercial, which featured actor Jerry Seinfeld and late night talk show host Jay Leno, was aired during the Super Bowl and features an African-American car dealer whom Acura insists was selected based on his acting abilities and not his skin tone.
The casting sheet, which was used for an audition on Jan. 6, sparked public outrage after it was leaked to the media by a frustrated African-American actor who was turned down after auditioning.
"Nice looking, friendly. Not too dark. Will work with a MAJOR COMEDIAN," a description in the casting sheet states.
In the infamous Super Bowl ad, the African-American car dealer breaks the news to Seinfeld that he is not first on the list to buy the new Acura NSX sports car. Jay Leno also makes a cameo appearance.
While there have been reports of a possible racial discrimination lawsuit against Acura, it is still unclear whether any claims have been filed at this time.