You can strike a man a thousand times in the crotch in your commercial for being a moron. But don't slap him in the face for being effeminate. That's the lesson learned by Leo Burnett in Toronto, whose trio of Manwhich ads (which we first saw on Adland) have been yanked from YouTube following complaints of homophobia. In each spot, a guy talks eagerly about something that typically excites women—his hair, the theater, shopping—and then gets slapped suddenly by a phantom hand. "It's called a Manwich," a manly voiceover then points out. The spots were getting lots of attention on YouTube last week, but ConAgra quickly pulled them after complaints. (A petition on Change.org argued: "Violence against gender non-conforming men and women is a serious problem in our country and should not be used for lazy jokes in advertising. Every year thousands of men and women are victims of hate crimes because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. This commercial series glorifies those crimes.") You may argue that it's just a little harmless slapstick humor—and that is what it's meant to be. But it's hard to deny these ads would be hard to watch by anyone who's suffered anti-gay bullying. Two more spots after the jump.
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