Mr T Snickers Commercial - withdrawn? What you talking about Fool?

You are Nuts, Fool.

Over the years there have been plenty of things for gay men to take umbrage with on TV, but Mr T harassing a speedwalker in a Snickers ad? Get over it. As the editor of Gay Times, I get a lot of letters about things people are offended by, and I bet this won’t be one of them.

The slot shows Mr.T from the A team firing snickers bars at a speedwalker and imploring him to “Be a man, Get some nuts”. The Human Rights Campaign, an American group which lobbies for fair representation for LGBT people on TV have had ‘conversations’ with senior Mars execs and persuaded them that their ad perpetuates violence against gay men and should be pulled. Mars conceeded

Firstly, Speedwalkers are funny – I’m sorry, but it’s true, with their funny little wiggles, they look absurd (Speedwalkers, but you should know this – we love you and wouldn’t want to stop your fun, but it’s true). It’s why in Australian Sitcom Kath and Kim Kath and her Man Pal, the metrosexual sausage salesman, Kel, are speedwalkers. There may have been an episode when she thought he was gay – but no-one would have dreamed of calling that programme homophobic.
Furthermore surely Mr.T. is one of the campest and most well loved parodies of masculinity ever dreamt up for our televisual pleasure. All stern bling and gristle and growls. He’s camper than John Wayne.

Surely this ad is really offensive to speedwalkers, a group which have even less representation in advertising than gay men do, and surely must feel the full, dreary pain of discrimination in their aching hips.

Are HRC really saying that any representation that veers from a traditional masculine role is ipso facto a gay one? I can’t help but feeling that this is in itself a homophobic assertion. I think it was the cultural critic Kobena Mercer who said (and I’m para-quoting from memory) “A bending over backwards not to be racist attitude betrays a lack of faith in the group portrayed.” I couldn’t agree moreand it translates to this group too. Don’t they trust us to have a sense of humour, ever?

Here’s another stereotype that I don’t feel comfortable with – it’s the Professional Placard, quick to find offence where none is intended, quick to scream blue murder when they feel that they have been censored – but just as quick to pick up the tools of the oppressor when it suits them. I’m sorry, but you cannot have it both ways. We laughed at Mary Whitehouse, let’s not become her.

"HRC applauds Mars for taking swift and appropriate action," said HRC Workplace director Daryl Herrschaft. Well I for one condemn them for cow towing to these uptight, miserable so and so’s, in the same way I condemn Heinz for bowing so limply to the family campaigners who persuaded them to pull their Deli Mayonaise advert for containing a same sex (though not, by my reckoning, gay) kiss. What they talking about? Fools!

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