Watch: Anti-Gay Group Attacks Inclusive Ritz Crackers Ad

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday December 15, 2020

Watch: Anti-Gay Group Attacks Inclusive Ritz Crackers Ad
  (Source:Screencap / YouTube)

"Where there's love, there's family," says the narrator in a Ritz Crackers holiday ad, inviting viewers to "Join us in helping create a more welcoming world." But an anti-LGTBQ group discards the message of hospitality in the ad, choosing instead to serve up hate, Yahoo! Life reports.

The ad depicts diverse people coming together who might otherwise be shoved to the margins. But it seems that some viewers might have missed the point: A petition from the notoriously anti-LGBTQ American Family Association accuses the snack company of "attempting to normalize the transgender lifestyle" and "pushing the LGBTQ+ agenda," going on to claim that Ritz Crackers intends "to brainwash children and adults alike by desensitizing audiences."

"The company's goal is to redefine family as something other than God's biblical design for gender and sexuality," the hate group claims in a petition targeting the ad, Yahoo! Life reports. "In its own words, Ritz says, 'We're encouraging people to rethink what it means to be family,' " the petition adds.

Ritz Crackers has a different perspective - one much more in keeping with the season.

"On its website featuring the campaign, Ritz noted that it has partnered with the It Gets Better Project, which focuses on LGBTQ youth, as well as with Hispanic Star and Invisible People to help support communities in need during the holiday season," Yahoo! Life reports.

Patty Gonzalez, the brand's senior marketing director, has previously commented on the ad, saying, "At a time when our families may be strained as a result of social distancing, political tensions or personal orientations and identities, the Ritz brand's campaign is intended to encourage Americans to help build a more accepting world and welcome in those that may be feeling disconnected or alone."

A similarly inclusive ad from Oreo - also owned by Ritz parent company Mondelez International - ran in October, depicting a young women bringing home her girlfriend for a family get-together. Oreo partnered with PFLAG for that ad campaign, which was called #ProudParent.

As previously reported at EDGE, the ad, titled "Where There's Love, There's Family," introduces a number of characters who seek to reach out in the Christmas spirit: A child shares a snack in a homeless shelter, an elderly woman serves hors d'oeuvres in a residential care facility, a gay 20-something sends a conciliatory text to his mother, and a African-American party host prepares to receive guests by putting on a touch of lipstick. What these scenes have in common - other than an aura of kindness and human connection - is Ritz Crackers.

As the ad reaches its denouement, the young gay man arrives at the apartment of the African American man, bearing a box of the crackers as a gift. The two are later seen to be a couple as they embrace and chat with friends around a holiday dinner table.

"The holidays are about spending time with family," the narrator says. "Whether it's the one you're born into - or the one you make."

Watch the Ritz Crackers ad below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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