"I just want mayonnaise. I don't want guys kissing"

A backlash ensues after Heinz pulls an ad featuring a smooch between two men.

Published June 25, 2008 9:40PM (EDT)

Heinz is already experiencing a backlash for pulling a British ad that featured two men kissing.

In the ad, which you can watch below, a stereotypical New York deli guy prepares sandwiches for his two children, both of whom refer to him as "Mum." At the end of the spot, he gives the kids' business-suited father a quick, chaste kiss and says, "Straight home from work, sweet cheeks." While the commercial -- which I, frankly, think is adorable -- undeniably includes two dudes smooching, it's clear that the deli guy is a stand-in for the children's mother. The implication, of course, is that Heinz mayonnaise is so delicious that it transforms ho-hum school lunches into sandwiches worthy of a New York delicatessen.

Of course, outrage ensued, including a recent fulmination from Bill O'Reilly on the June 19 episode of "The O'Reilly Factor." It isn't news to anyone that Papa Bear isn't down with the "gay agenda," but the fit he pitched over a guy-on-guy kiss in a U.K. mayonnaise commercial is more notable for its general cluelessness than for its homophobia. "Heinz is trying to make it out like, 'Oh, it wasn't a gay thing!'" he fumed. "Of course it was!" Despite the attempts of two guests -- who, as usual, couldn't get a word in edgewise -- to explain the ad, O'Reilly continued to insist, "I just want mayonnaise. I don't want guys kissing."

Unfortunately, O'Reilly isn't the only one who didn't get it. The London Times reported Tuesday that Heinz has pulled the commercial after receiving complaints from over 200 viewers that it was "inappropriate" and "unsuitable for children to see." Now, I'm not sure what's more depressing: Is it that so many people think a peck on the lips between men is unfit for television, or is it that those same people can't understand a simple advertisement? Regardless, annoyed parties can sign anonline petition to reinstate the ad.

By Judy Berman

Judy Berman is a writer and editor in Brooklyn. She is a regular contributor to Salon's Broadsheet.

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