Despite the fact that similar commercials aired previously on American TV without issue, a new, innocuous-seeming 30-second spot for Cheerios depicting an interracial couple and their young daughter has apparently left several bigots and miscellaneous conspiracy theorists all riled up. General Mills even had to close the comments section of the ad’s YouTube page, which was reportedly overrun with negative opinions. One user reportedly called the depiction an “abomination,” while another mounted a detailed and pseudoscientific argument on how mixed-race couples are expressly responsible for things like the “systematic decline of Western economies.” Awesome. The breakfast cereal’s vice-president of marketing has issued a statement, saying, “There are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all,” while its Facebook page is drawing in statements of support, and the flame war burns on at Reddit. All this over cereal.
It’s not all bad news, however: Last December, General Mills launched a social-media campaign asking Facebook users to share their love of the cereal with an app. Shortly thereafter, its Facebook page was inundated with submissions spelling things like “Poison” and “GMOs No Thanks” and “Deception,” all done up in a signature Cheerios font. For now, this one seems to be working out in the company’s favor.