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Largest gay rights group slams Mars over homophobic Snickers Superbowl ad; demands it and other homophobic ads be pulled from Web site

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From the Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian civil rights group in the US:

Human Rights Campaign Condemns Violent and Homophobic Marketing Campaign by Mars, Inc.,

HRC Urges Ads Be Pulled from Campaign

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, is calling on the makers of Snickers, and its parent company Mars Inc., to pull the ad campaign launched yesterday during the Superbowl. The ad features two presumably straight men who accidentally engage in a kiss and then try to distance themselves from any perception of being gay by “doing something manly.”

Three alternate endings to the commercial spot are posted on the Snickers website, one of which includes the two men violently attacking one another – which sends a dangerous message to the public condoning violence against gay Americans.

HRC President Joe Solmonese issued the following statement:

“The makers of Snickers and its parent company at Mars should know better. If they have any questions about why the ad isn’t funny, we can help put them in touch with any number of GLBT Americans who have suffered hate crimes.”

Two other video clips posted on the Snickers website feature players from the Bears and the Colts watching the ads and responding to the two men kissing.

Solmonese continued:

“This type of jeering from professional sports figures at the sight of two men kissing fuels the kind of anti-gay bullying that haunts countless gay and lesbian school children on playgrounds all across the country. Eighty-four percent of GLBT students report being verbally harassed at school, and this type of ad only reinforces that.”

“Is Snickers suggesting that people who eat their candy bars are cavemen? It’s an odd market to court, particularly after the Isaiah Washington flap a couple weeks ago, which clearly showed that there’s a strong distaste out there for people who portray themselves as anti-gay or holding on to old prejudices and stereotypes.”

“Mars and Snickers need to pull the ‘Wrench’ ad and the footage of the NFL players out of their campaign immediately.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
UPDATE: GLAAD has just now (7:57pm Eastern) issued a press release about this matter.

Web Site for Mars, Inc., Ad Campaign Displays Videos Promoting
Prejudice, Violence

Los Angeles, Monday, February 5, 2007 -- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Matthew Shepard Foundation today strongly condemned elements of an ad campaign launched by Snickers ® – a brand of Mars, Inc.'s Masterfoods USA, and the official chocolate bar sponsor of the National Football League (NFL) – that includes a Web site featuring video of NFL athletes reacting with prejudice and disgust to depictions of two men kissing.

"That Snickers, Mars and the NFL would promote and endorse this kind of prejudice is simply inexcusable," said GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano.

The campaign, created by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, was launched during CBS' February 4 Super Bowl® telecast with an ad that showed two mechanics eating from opposite ends of a Snickers candy bar and, after their mouths touch, ripping out their chest hair in a desperate attempt "do something manly."

In early January, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York asked GLAAD to review and provide analysis on a Snickers spot. GLAAD agreed. The next day, the agency abruptly withdrew their request without having shown GLAAD the ad.

Mars' campaign Web site ( shows alternate endings for the ad -- among them, a version called "Wrench" where, instead of ripping out their own chest hair, one man grabs a wrench and uses it to bash the other, who responds by slamming the hood of the car down on his head. Mars is asking visitors to vote on this and three other endings -- including the one aired on the Super Bowl telecast -- to determine which version will air during the broadcast of the Daytona 500 on Sunday, February 18 on Fox.
- more -

GLAAD, Matthew Shepard Foundation Condemn Anti-Gay Snickers® Campaign
Page 2

The site also shows five NFL players, two from the Indianapolis Colts and three from the Chicago Bears, reacting to the several versions of the ad. The players' reactions range from general amusement (Bears quarterback Rex Grossman and Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison) to non-verbal disgust (Bears wide receiver Muhsin Muhammad) to overt expressions of prejudice (Bears tight end Desmond Clark and Colts linebacker Cato June).

"I am outraged that Mars, the NFL and these players would promote such an anti-gay message. This campaign encourages the same type of hate that lead to the death of my son Matthew. It essentially gives ‘permission’ to our society to verbally or physically harass individuals who are gay, lesbian or bi-sexual," said Judy Shepard, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. "In particular, I am dismayed that these players, who are role models to our young people, would participate in perpetuating such discrimination and prejudice."

The Mars/Snickers Web site bears the logos of the NFL and PLAYERS, INC (National Football League Players Incorporated).

"Mars, Inc., needs to apologize for the deplorable actions of its Snickers brand, immediately pull the "Wrench" ad and the offensive NFL players clips from its Web site, and hold those within the company and at its ad agency publicly accountable for promoting anti-gay prejudice and violence," GLAAD's Giuliano said. "We want to sit down with both Mars and the NFL to address our concerns and give them an opportunity to raise public awareness about the destructive impact of these kinds of anti-gay images and comments."

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. For more information, please visit .

About The Matthew Shepard Foundation
The Matthew Shepard Foundation was founded by Dennis and Judy Shepard in memory of their 21-year old son, Matthew, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in Wyoming in October 1998. Created to honor Matthew in a manner that was appropriate to his dreams, beliefs and aspirations, the Foundation seeks to "Replace Hate with Understanding, Compassion & Acceptance" through its varied education, outreach and advocacy programs. For more information, please visit

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