Hyundai Motor America Corp. has withdrawn a TV commercial following complaints it conjures up the videotaped police beating of a black motorist.
"We are going to have this commercial sent to an advertising research firm to determine whether or not we should run it," spokesman Bill Wolf said Wednesday. "Depending on the reaction, we'll run it or it will be killed."Wolf said the Southern California advertising firm of Backer Spielvogel Bates wrote the commercial before the March 3 beating of Rodney King, and it was in production when King was beaten by Los Angeles police officers.
King was pulled over for speeding in a Hyundai and was kicked, clubbed and shocked with a stun gun in a beating captured on video by a bystander.
In the Hyundai commercial, there's a chase in which a policeman in an inexpensive Hyundai Sonata overtakes a BMW and arrests the driver of the German luxury car. As the driver spreads his hands across the back of the policeman's car, he asks, "Hyundai?"
The commercial was scheduled to premiere Thursday night during NBC's "Cheers," the most-watched series on television. But the negative reactions of advertising executives and community leaders quoted in Wednesday's Los Angeles Times prompted Hyundai executives to withdraw the 30-second ad.
Hyundai itself became part of the beating controversy when police officers claimed King's 1988 Hyundai Excel had been traveling at up to 115 mph. The car manufacturer publicly stated its cars had never been clocked above 100 mph.