Ice cream brand Magnum has apologized for an advert that seemed to compare gay people being jailed for the sexuality to the “guilty pleasure” of eating an ice cream.
The commercial, which ran on Spotify in the U.K., featured a man saying he couldn’t hug his boyfriend in public for fear of being imprisoned for ten or more years.
“A hug for my boyfriend. That’s my guilty pleasure,” the man in the advert says. “Because in my country, just a simple hug with the man I love could send me to prison for more than 10 years.”
Somehow, gay people being thrown in jail for expressing love or affection was comparable to the “guilty pleasure” of eating ice cream.
Social media users reported that the ad finished by saying, “Pleasure should never be guilty. Like Magnum ice cream.”
Not surprisingly, the advert didn’t go over well, and it was branded “homophobic,” “disgusting,” and “racist” on Twitter.
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
@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
Magnum initially offered a vague response, saying the company “wanted to remind people that what is considered a guilty pleasure isn’t always what you would expect.”
Now, presumably after a stern talking to from someone concerned about damage control, they have offered a slightly less oblique response.
Speaking to Huffington Post, a spokesperson said, “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.”