Magnum ice cream says it’s sorry for that super awkward commercial it ran earlier this month that compared eating ice cream to gay people being locked in a jail cell for 10+ years.
The ice cream company faced criticism over a “guilty pleasure” ad on Spotify that featured a man with a Middle Eastern accent lamenting about how he can’t hug his boyfriend for fear of being thrown in prison for ten years or longer.
“A hug for my boyfriend,” he says. “That’s my guilty pleasure!”
Then he adds, “…Because in my country, just a simple hug with the man I love could send me to prison for more than 10 years.”
BUY MAGNUM ICE CREAM!!
The ad didn’t go over so well with listeners.
@MagnumIceCream your advert comparing the potential to be killed if you're gay to the guilty pleasure of eating a magnum is disgusting, racist and homophobic. Please withdraw it immediately.
— nell blane (@firegoat67) August 5, 2019
What the hell?!? There are at least 3 versions of the magnum ice cream ad that does a bit about being gay would get me X years in prison followed by a get a magnum, pleasure should be guilty. That's fucked. pic.twitter.com/T0j6Hbxl4g
— Tia (@Tatty_is_ALIVE) August 4, 2019
Just heard an ad that (in short) was a guy saying "My guilty pleasure is a kiss. I like kissing men. Kissing men can send me to prison for 14 years in my country. Pleasure should never be guilty. Like Magnum ice cream" NOPE. NOT THE SAME MY DUDES.
— Jessica Wynn ???? ? (@jesswynn93) August 2, 2019
An ad for #Magnum ice cream bars just popped up on my #Spotify and it is the cringiest/funniest gay baiting ad ever. A foreign accented man laments how dangerous it is to hug his boyfriend in his country, but he won't get arrested for eating a Magnum! pic.twitter.com/S6WdzW9p51
— Christa Blackmon (@TheOdalisque) August 2, 2019
Initially, a spokesperson for Magnum didn’t seem to understand why people were so bothered by the commercial, saying the company merely “wanted to remind people that what is considered a guilty pleasure isn’t always what you would expect.”
And while it’s certainly admirable for a company to want to use its global platform to raise awareness to issues like the persecution of LGBTQ people in the Middle East, a better approach might have been to, say, team up with a human rights organization. Maybe donate a portion of proceeds to combating homophobia. Or make some sort of call to action other than telling people to go out and buy its product.
Now, the spokesperson tells HuffPost UK: “Magnum has a history of championing LGBTQ+ rights and Pride Month is a moment when lots of us celebrate progress. We’re sorry for any offense caused by the advert, which aimed to bring awareness to the injustices people still face around the world.”