The NFL and Fox have banned a PETA commercial from airing during the Super Bowl on Sunday, according to the animal rights organization — and then received some unexpected backlash for it.
PETA say they submitted the ad, which features forest creatures taking a knee in reference to football player Colin Kaepernick’s 2016 peaceful protest action that shone a spotlight on racial injustice and inequality in the U.S. PETA claim the spot has been “positively acknowledged by Kaepernick himself.” The ad calls for viewers to “end speciesism” and treat all living creatures equally — from bears and mice to foxes and humans — to “challenge people to expand their concept of injustice to include humans’ injustice against other species.”
“Humans may differ in appearance from the birds, fish, and other animals who share the world with us. But we all think and feel, and when it comes to the capacity for pain, hunger, fear, thirst, love, joy, and loneliness or simply the desire to live, we’re all the same,” PETA say on their website.
PETA tell TMZ they submitted the ad to Fox for approval back in December. On Jan. 3 the organization were informed the commercial was being discussed internally and they would have an answer ASAP. According to PETA, multiple followups from the group had gone unanswered but allege the ad agency was told the NFL was pressuring Fox to reject the ad. However, according to TMZ, an NFL source says it’s “ultimately up to the network carrying the game, not the NFL, to approve or reject all ads.”
Neither Fox nor the NFL has responded to PETA’s claims.
Once the commercial was made public, some of the reaction may not have been what PETA had been expecting. In fact, the organization received backlash on social media for co-opting Kaepernick’s message for their own purposes. Check out a sample of tweets calling out PETA: