Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Homosexuality and Heinz

Dear old Heinz. First they run a humorous ad featuring a New York deli chef kissing another man, implying pretty strongly in the script that the chef is actually their mother and it's Heinz's Deli Mayo product that makes her appear this way.

Then when about 200 viewers complain because it was 'offensive', 'inappropriate' and 'unsuitable to be seen by children', Heinz pulls it, just like that. Considering that the ad wasn't allowed to be screened during children's scheduling because of the product's extreme unhealthiness, surely that 'unsuitability' argument should have been immediately discounted. And Zoe Williams is right - what makes this so inappropriate when Bounty (the kitchen roll) is still running a series of ads with men dressed as women. So transvestism isn't 'inappropriate' or 'unsuitable to be seen by children'? But the bigger question is why Heinz pulled it at all. Spokesman Nigel Dickie said:

"Heinz is a global company and we respect all universal rights. The advertisement was intended to be humorous, not designed to cause offence to anyone. Clearly it failed in its intent to amuse and that is why we took the decision to withdraw it."

Says who that it failed to amuse? 200 complaints is hardly groundbreaking, and why do you think it makes more sense to offend gay and gay friendly consumers by bending to homophobic pressure? Stonewall Chief Executive Ben Summerskill advocates a consumer boycott of Heinz (and I agree with him), saying:

"We're shocked that an innocuous ad should have been withdrawn in this way. I can't imagine that Heinz would respond to protests about black people featuring in their adverts."

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