Cheerios is standing by an ad featuring a biracial family extolling the "heart
health" benefits of the General Mills cereal, despite remarks on YouTube that
forced the disabling of commenting.
The ad features a child with a Cheerios box approaching her white mother, who is sitting at the kitchen table, and asking her about the health benefits of the cereal. The mother tells the child the box says the cereal has whole-grain oats that can help remove cholesterol, which is "heart healthy." The child rushes from the room. In the next scene, her black father, who is lying on a couch, wakes up to a pile of Cheerios on his chest above his heart.
The ad was viewed by more than 1.7 million people on YouTube and generated tons of comments, many considered to be racist. General Mills had the commenting disabled. There were also reports that comments about the ad also began showing up on other Cheerios ads on YouTube.
As of Monday, the more than 20,000 "likes" on the video vastly outnumbered the "dislikes," at about 1,500.
General Mills defended the ad and says it will not be removed. Camille Gibson, the cereal maker's vice president of marketing, told website Gawker, "Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all."
According to the Census Bureau, 4 percent of married couples in the U.S. in 2009 were interracial, nearly 2.5 million couples. The number was 650,000 nearly 30 years ago.
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