'Homophobic' Snickers ad pulled from TV following huge backlash

The Podemos political party pointed out that the ad comes as Spain experiences a 'wave of LGBTI-phobia, including attacks and even murders'.

A splitscreen of a long haired man and a shorter haired bearded man both wearing the same jumper

An ad for Snickers Ice Cream has been pulled from Spanish TV screens following a backlash from viewers over its “homophobic content”.

The ad sees popular social media influencer Aless Gibaja, an effeminate gay man, ordering a “sexy orange juice” at a beach resort while his friend and the waiter look at him in confusion. Gibaja is handed a Snickers, a bite of which makes him turn into a gruffer, broader, bearded man.

“Better?” the friend asks. “Better,” he replies. The Snickers catchphrase “You’re not yourself when you’re hungry” then pops up in the ad.

The backlash was immediate. The Podemos political party called the Snickers ad a “trashy commercial” and said the message “tells you that you are not yourself if you are effeminate.” The party also questioned the timing of the commercial’s release as the country was experiencing “a wave of LGBTI-phobia, including attacks and even murders.”

Irene Montero, Spain’s Equality Minister, said on social media, “I wonder who would think it is a good idea to use homophobia as a business strategy?…Our society is diverse and tolerant. Hopefully those who have the power to decide what we see and hear in advertisements and TV programmes will learn to be as well.”

Snickers pulled the ad, releasing the statement, “In this particular campaign we wanted to convey in a friendly and light-hearted way that hunger can change your character. At no time was it intended to stigmatise or offend any person or collective.”

It continued, “We recognise that we got it wrong and have removed the online content immediately. We take equal rights and inclusion seriously, we want a world where everybody is free to be themselves and we believe that as an employer and advertiser we have a role and a responsibility to play our part in creating that world. We will take the opportunity to listen and learn from this mistake and do better in the future.”

© 2021 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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