Entertainment

Mother of John Lewis advert star slams ‘disgusting’ trolls who say her son has been ‘sexualised’

Maggie Baska October 22, 2021
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Reggie Parker played a young boy who takes his mum's clothing and jewellery for a performance to Stevie Nicks' Edge of Seventeen

The mum of nine-year-old Reggie Parker, who was featured in John Lewis' latest home insurance ad, has clapped back at "ridiculous" trolls who hate the "fun" performance. (YouTube/John Lewis)

The mother of the young boy who stars in John Lewis’ latest advert has slammed “ridiculous” trolls who’ve sent her family abuse online.

The joyous ad sees nine-year-old Reggie Parker play a young boy who tears through his family home while dancing to Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen”, dressed in his mum’s clothing, makeup and jewellery.

Despite garnering widespread praise – including from Nicks herself – critics were quick to voice their discontent with the advert.

Some labelled the boy’s destructive performance an example of toxic masculinity and privilege, while swarms of so-called “gender critical” campaigners accused John Lewis of pushing a “woke” agenda. A near-identical advert featuring a girl dancing to Elton John drew no such criticism.

Reggie’s mother, Sam Parker, said she’s disgusted by trolls who have claimed the John Lewis advert is “sexualising” her son.

​​”I am shocked it has caused so much controversy,” Sam told the Daily Mail. “It’s laughable, how can anyone be so upset and offended over something fun and innocent?”

She continued: “I’ve read comments from people with old fashioned mindsets who don’t want to see a boy in a dress.

“I’ve seen ridiculous comments saying his ‘behaviour’ is destructive and spoilt – he is acting in an advert for home insurance.

“But what disgusts me are complaints saying the advert is sexualising Reggie, with lipstick and ‘provocative’ dance moves.”

The mum-of-two condemned anyone who thought there was “something sexual in an advert with a young boy”, saying: “You have a problem.”

Sam said that her son was “really excited to play the part” in the John Lewis advert, and that the family was thrilled for him. Reggie’s school friends loved the advert, she added, and his “teachers played it in class”.

She explained that Reggie is aware of the hateful comments online, especially those targeting the trans community, but has handled it maturely.

“I’m not transgender, but even if I was what would it matter?” Reggie said. “It’s just a boy dressing up and having fun. It’s over the top as it’s supposed to be funny.”

He added: “Even if I was transgender or gay, it doesn’t make me who I am or change my performance.

“I like the LGBTQ world, but actually it shouldn’t be a thing and everyone should live in one world. A person is a person.”

John Lewis defended the advert featuring Reggie against claims of sexism and toxic masculinity, but it sidestepped the anti-LGBT+ backlash.

The retailer said it believed in “children having fun and that’s why we chose this playful storyline for our latest advert”. It added the young actor is “not wilfully damaging his home and is unaware of the unintentional consequences of his actions”.

But at least John Lewis is seemingly looking after Reggie and his family. The retail giant described Reggie as a “brilliantly talented young actor” before saying they were sorry he had been “subjected to negative comments online” as a result of the advert.

“We have been speaking to Sam, Reggie’s mum, to make sure we support her and Reggie with anything they need, as well as reassuring them of the many positive comments from customers who love the advert,” John Lewis said.

Related topics: John Lewis

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