A Cheerios commercial released last Tuesday featuring a biracial family has received numerous racist remarks. General Mills, which owns Cheerios, disabled comments on the YouTube video because they were offensive.
In the 31-second commercial, a young biracial daughter asks her white mother if Cheerios are “good for your heart,” and later shows that the girl has poured Cheerios over her black father’s chest while he was sleeping in a playful gesture to help his heart.
“The comments that were made were, in our view, not family-friendly, and that was really the trigger for us to pull them off,” said Camille Gibson, vice president for marketing for General Mills on TODAY.
Some people are not surprised by the negative responses the Cheerios commercial has received.
“I’m not surprised at the reaction, because social media is kind of the new Ku Klux Klan white hood,’’ said TODAY’s Star Jones, an attorney and former prosecutor. “It allows you to be anonymous and to say the kinds of things that you would never say to a person to their face. But a lot of this is generational also. People in my generation are still stuck in giving the side eye to an interracial couple. I think younger people have gotten used to seeing black and white, and Latin and black, and Latin and white. That’s not going to be an issue in years to come.”
Positive comments expressed gratitude that the commercial acknowledges biracial families.
“I think this commercial is a really big step for interracial families,” said Meagan Hatcher-Mays, who is the daughter of a black mother and white father. “The commercial represents that we exist.”
Even with the controversy, General Mills said it would not pull the commercial. Comments on Cheerios’ Facebook page express support of the decision.
“My husband and I are an interracial couple. He is African American and I am white,” said Tanya Roberson on Cheerios’ Facebook page. “I was so impressed with the way Cheerios stood up to those racist comments and stated that it would absolutely not withdraw its new commercial. I will definitely remember this and intend to be a LOYAL Cheerios customer. Thank you Cheerios for doing the right thing!”