NASCAR unveiled its Super Bowl ad, starring "Parks and Recreation" star Nick Offerman, before the day of the big game. In the days before its Super Bowl Sunday broadcast, the commercial was already sparking controversy for a line making fun of gluten-free diets.
“When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there’s trouble afoot,” Offerman said in the ad. “Yes, we the people have gotten soft.”
The line garnered intense criticism and led to a petition calling for NASCAR to pull their ad, viewing it as insensitive to those with gluten allergies and Celiac disease. Over 16,000 people signed the petition.
“It [the ad] implies that we’re soft…we’re weak…we’re part of America’s problem. When all we’re trying to do is manage our disease. Celiac can be a true pain. I think about all of the gluten-free children getting bullied for being “different”, when all they want to do is feel better and fit in,” the petition reads. “I think about all of the people who have gotten sick at restaurants because the kitchen and/or the staff do not take us seriously. I think about all of those walking around undiagnosed and suffering because they only listen to what is in the media. I think about all of the people in the past who have died prematurely when going gluten-free MAY have been their saving grace.”
An NBC representative responded to the petition, saying that the full 60-second ad would not include the gluten comment. The online version of the commercial, however, still includes the controversial line.
Do you think NASCAR’s gluten comment was insensitive?