Food and cosmetics giant Unilever has removed an “offensive” advert for Flora margarine after it was condemned as homophobic.
The advertising for the margarine brand, which is touted as being good for the heart, features a bullet inscribed with the words “Uhh, dad I’m gay” hurtling toward a porcelain heart.
“You need a strong heart today” reads the caption, next to the Flora logo and set against a light pink background.
Unilever has distanced itself from the ad, created by a South African agency.
“The advert is offensive and unacceptable and we have put an immediate stop to it,” Unathi Mgobozi, a spokesperson for the South African arm of Unilever, said in a short statement to AFP.
“This advert was prepared by an external agency in South Africa and was not approved by anyone at Unilever,” she said.
“Unilever is proud of the support that our brands have given to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, including our recent campaign for Ben & Jerry’s on equal marriage.”
Unilever’s ice-cream brand Ben and Jerry’s last month re-branded its Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavour to “I Dough, I Dough”, in support of same-sex marriages.
The local advertising company responsible for the Flora advert did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Despite having some of the world’s best legal protections for gay people, South Africa has seen numerous cases of homophobic violence, including deadly attacks on lesbians, who also risk falling victim to what is known as “corrective rape”.
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