The maker of Cheerios was actually forced to shut down the YouTube comments on its latest commercial because of the strong racist backlash over the ad’s depiction of an interracial family.
The 30-second spot features a little girl asking her mom if Cheerios are really good for your heart. After the mom says yes, the little girl runs away with the cereal box, and a sleeping dad wakes up with a pile of Cheerios dumped on his chest.
According to Adweek, the YouTube comments section “devolved into an endless flame war, with references to Nazis, ‘troglodytes’ and ‘racial genocide’” before it was disabled.
The spot — viewed more than 900,00 times since it was uploaded Tuesday — still registers the “thumbs up/”thumbs down” count: It had received more than 13,000 “thumbs up” votes and 1,000 “thumbs down”s as of Saturday afternoon.
Meredith Tutterow, a marketing director for Cheerios at maker General Mills, told the New York Times the company stands by the commercial and that the spot will “absolutely not” be pulled.
“There are many kinds of families,” Tutterow said, “and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all.” She said the comments will be enabled again at some point, though didn’t know when.
Meanwhile, others have taken to Cheerios’ Facebook page to applaud the company for the commercial.
“As a biracial kid who has never been represented in media, this meant the world. Thanks, Cheerios!” one user wrote.