By Chris Hoenig
Weeks after a Cheerios commercial featuring an interracial couple drew a rash of racist comments on YouTube—but also sparked a run of support for parent company General Mills—a spoof of the ad by a group of comedians is going viral.
The “commercial,” written by Mark Normand and Eddie Lombardi, stars comediennes Hollis Witherspoon and Joyelle Nicole Johnson as an interracial lesbian couple, adding sexual orientation to the diversity of the cast.
The plot of the spoof follows a similar storyline to the Cheerios ad, while also referencing the ridiculous comments that forced YouTube to suspend commenting on the original. “Is it true that eating a healthy breakfast cereal like we do every morning is normal? And in the year 2013, the way our family looks shouldn’t be such a big deal,” the adorable Adriana Barnett asks Witherspoon. “I say that we have the God-given right to stuff our faces with whatever we want and with whomever we want, no matter what the haters say,” Witherspoon responds, in part. It then cuts to Johnson, cereal poured on her chest while sprawled out on the couch, waking up and asking, “What? Now this is a problem?”
Johnson finishes the commercial by adding, “Denise, disable the YouTube comments!”
The video, which has not had its comments disabled, has drawn more than 1,000 comments, largely positive and supportive. “Please tell me these two ladies are actually raising that little girl and not just actresses. Because I wanna be their best friend and babysit for them,” TJ Turner writes. D Lee says, “This video brought the biggest smile to a grumpy man’s day. I was astounded and disgusted that people found issue over the original advert. The fact that in this day and age people remain so narrow-minded and oppressive is a disgrace. Thank you for this send-up of the advert. Bringing a little humour to a sad situation. And thank you for not disabling the YouTube comments, Denise ;-)”
General Mills, No. 26 in the 2013 DiversityInc Top 50, has stood by the original Cheerios ad, saying that the bigoted comments will not make the company change its marketing plans. “There are many kinds of families, and Cheerios just wants to celebrate them all,” said Meredith Tutterow, Associate Marketing Director for Cheerios and Multigrain Cheerios.