Racist Backlash Against Cheerios Commercial
Cheerios Commercial Featuring Mixed Race Family Gets Racist Backlash
An adorable Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple and their daughter generated such a strong racist backlash on YouTube that the comments section had to be closed.
The ad had received more than 1,600 likes and more than 500 dislikes as of Thursday evening.
Prior to the closure, the comment section had been filled "with references to Nazis, 'troglodytes' and 'racial genocide,'" according to Adweek.
YouTube comment sections have a reputation for breeding racist flame wars. CNN focused on the issue earlier this year, after a panel addressing racism and race on YouTube was held at South By Southwest:
"Everyone gets hate comments on YouTube," said Andre Meadows, the creator of the Black Nerd Comedy channel. "You can make the most wonderful video in the world and you will get 'Fake!' and 'Gay!'"
But for minority creators, "when you get comments, it seems to be targeted toward race almost immediately. A lot of people get 'dumb video, stupid video' -- but with mine it immediately goes to racial slurs."
Commenters on the cereal's Facebook page also said they found the commercial "disgusting" and that it made them "want to vomit." Other hateful commenters expressed shock that a black father would stay with his family.
However, many took to Facebook to express their appreciation for Cheerios' decision to feature a mixed-race family.
"Having been mixed in the '70s, I'd like to thank everyone at Cheerios for making a commercial with an interracial couple! Going to buy boxes today! Many thanks for reflecting what my family looked like," Beschelle Lockhart posted Monday.
"Just watched your commercial with the biracial family. Beautiful. Thank you so much," Alexandra Burt wrote.
Cheerios was unfazed by the racist Internet backlash. "Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all," Camille Gibson, Cheerios vice president of marketing, told Gawker.