*A new ad for heart-healthy Cheerios featuring an interracial family has sparked a torrent of racist posts on its YouTube page, forcing the cereal brand to shut down the comment section.
The ad features a mixed-race girl asking her white mother if Cheerios are good for the heart before running out of the kitchen when she is told that they are. The shot then cuts to her black father awaking from a nap on the sofa to find a pile of Cheerios on his chest. [Scroll down to watch.]
AdWeek reported that the comment section contained numerous references to Nazis, “troglodytes” and “racial genocide.” The Huffington Post reported that some commenters on the cereal’s Facebook page also said they found the commercial “disgusting” and that it made them “want to vomit.”
One man expressed shock that a black father would stay with his family, writing: “More like single parent in the making. Black dad will dip out soon.” A stream on Reddit went off on a debate about the accuracy or likelihood of the mixed-race family being made up of a black man and a white woman rather than a black woman and white man.
“It has nothing to do with the company, the point is some casting agency/marketing department wanted a Carl Winslow, stereotypical upper/middle class white housewife, and a mixed girl,”one Reddit user wrote.
This is not the first time that Cheerios has sparked a race controversy, as a previous ad featuring two black siblings and their father received numerous racist comments.
In the June 2012 spot, the older brother steals the majority of his high chair-bound sibling’s cereal.
“Just goes to show you they start steeling [sic] at an early age!!! First Cheerio’s [sic] next bikes then cars lol just like in real life,” one Youtube user wrote in the comments.
Despite the string of ugly comments made on YouTube and Facebook, many were quick to defend the new interracial ad, made by Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.
Kevin Mueller posted on Facebook: “Every TV station in the US should play your bi-racial ad during every commercial break […] Time to help everybody find their way to 2013 since some are still stuck about 60 years [in the past]. Keep up the good work Cheerios!”
Camille Gibson, the vice president of marketing for Cheerios, released a statement defending the ad after the backlash, saying, “Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all.”
Whitney Avalon, the actress who plays the mother in the 30-second spot, has been featured in 47 national commercials and she felt the need to come out in support of the ad.
She posted on Twitter that she was “proud to play the mom in this adorable @Cheerios commercial!”