A new ad for the return of NASCAR to NBC Sports has received almost 20,000 complaints because it mocks gluten-free diets.
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The advertisement opens with actor Nick Offerman, who plays Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation, saying the founding fathers would be disappointed in what’s happened to America.
“America it’s time for a gut check. If the founding fathers saw us holed up in our little cocoons, texting each other smiley faces, they’d hang their powdered wigs in shame,” Offerman says.
“When our idea of danger is eating gluten, there’s trouble afoot. Yes, we the people have gotten soft and all the likes in the world aren’t gonna save us now. But one thing will, and it rhymes with MASCAR,” he says.
Offerman then sings a song about NASCAR and how it’s classic Americana.
After the commercial was released last week, a man identifying himself only as “Gluten Dude” started a petition on Change.org for NBC to remove the ad.
“NBC is running a Super Bowl ad that makes fun of those who are gluten-free,” Gluten Dude wrote.
“It implies that we’re soft…we’re weak…we’re part of America’s problem. When all we’re trying to do is manage our disease. Celiac can be a true pain. The media is not helping and this petition is get NBC to see the light of day,” he wrote.
After the petition began to circulate, NBC caved and removed the reference to gluten from 60-second version of the ad.
As of Monday morning, over 20,000 people had demanded NBC pull the reference.