State Farm is pulling a commercial featuring former "Saturday Night Live" cast member Rob Schneider after activists launched a social media campaign against the ad, PR Week reported.
But it's not the message of the ad that the activists have a problem with — it's Schneider himself.
Schneider has taken a public stance against vaccines. A few years back, he came out against California Bill AB 2109, which requires parents to obtain doctors' counsel before they're given an exemption for immunizing their children.
After the bill was signed into law, Schneider tweeted, "Today California passed a law to force parents to get a Doc's permission to not vaccinate their kids or they can't attend school! Nazi's"
(Schneider's June 28, 2012, tweet was active Wednesday morning but looks to have been deleted since then.)
So when pro-vaccination folks found out about Schneider's appearance in the State Farm commercial — in which he reprises his character "The Copy Guy" a.k.a. "Richmeister" — they went into action on social media platforms.
A counter commercial was also created challenging Schneider's appearance in the ad, saying that "someone who publicly states dangerous opinions should not be a spokesperson for a health insurance company."
"State Farm provides health insurance, and nothing ensures public health more than getting vaccinated," the video states, adding that it's "time to end the anti-vaccination movement; with your help, we can elicit change."
Following the outcry, State Farm’s director of public affairs said the ad was being pulled.
"[Schneider’s] ad has unintentionally been used as a platform for discussion unrelated to the products and services we provide," Phil Supple told PR Week. "With that, we are working to remove the ad from our rotation at this time."
While Schneider didn't make direct reference to State Farm's decision, on Tuesday he offered this observation on Twitter:
"'If the Freedom of Speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter,' George Washington," he tweeted.
The actor and comedian has shifted his liberal views in recent years. He noted before the 2012 election that he wouldn't be voting for "crappy" Obama and a year later said he was supporting a Republican for California governor. Earlier this year, Schneider said that America is sliding into socialism.
Schneider also blamed Robin Williams' suicide on medications for Parkinson's disease.
Here's the State Farm commercial via YouTube:
This story has been updated.
(H/T: The Wrap)