Gay equality organisation Stonewall has called on all consumers, gay and straight, to boycott leading worldwide food brand Heinz following its decision to pull a TV advertisement that depicted a same-sex couple.
Chief executive Ben Summerskill blasted Heinz’s knee-jerk reaction to an “orchestrated campaign of complaints” as short-sighted and discriminatory.
“If the ad showed a black couple, and people complained, I very much doubt they would withdraw it,” he told PinkNews.co.uk.
The ad, for Heinz Deli Mayo, was pulled last Friday following some 200 complaints.
It showed a male New York deli chef playing the role of mum to two children and featured a kiss between two male parents.
The Advertising Standards Authority said it is continuing to log complaints to the advertisement but has yet to decide if it will investigate.
ASA press officer Olivia Campbell said viewers had felt “offended” by the advertisement, but that homosexuality itself was not a breach of its code.
Heinz spokesperson Nigel Dickie apologised to consumers who felt “offended” by the advertisement.
However, Heinz had no response for the many gay consumers it had also offended by its actions.
Mr Summerskill encouraged consumers to engage in “ethical consumerism” by not buying Heinz products.
He also questioned whether ethically-minded young people would want to work for a company with such attitudes.
Mr Summerskill said many members of the LGBT community had already complained to Heinz and encouraged others to do so.
People who want to complain can call the Heinz customer careline on 0800 528 5757.
“Perhaps if 200 PinkNews.co.uk readers call and complain, they will change their minds again,” said Mr Summerskill.