PETA claims its Colin Kaepernick-inspired Super Bowl LIV commercial was rejected by the NFL and Fox. The ad has been the subject of mockery and criticism online since it was released on Jan. 31, as it shows animals kneeling while "The Star-Spangled Banner" plays. While Kaepernick kneeled during the 2016 NFL season to protest racial injustice and police brutality, the PETA ad suggests the animals are kneeling to "end speciesism."
The animated 60-second commercial shows various forest animals kneeling, including bees and fish, who do not have knees in reality. "Respect is the light of every living being," the slogan reads at the end. It includes the hashtag "EndSpeciesism."
After releasing the commercial on YouTube, PETA released a statement, claiming the NFL and Fox ejected the commercial.
"PETA is challenging speciesism, which is a supremacist worldview that allows humans to disrespect other living, feeling beings and to treat their interests as unimportant," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in the statement. "Our patriotic Super Bowl spot envisions an America in which no sentient being is oppressed because of how they look, where they were born, who they love, or what species they are. It sends a message of kindness — one that the NFL should embrace, not silence."
"Because of human prejudice, highly social primates are caged alone in laboratories; billions of cows, chickens, pigs, and others are hacked apart in slaughterhouses every year; coyotes are trapped in the wild and their fur is turned into jacket trim; and tigers are whipped to force them to perform in traveling circuses," the organization's statement continued. "It's 2020 and time to embrace a more enlightened worldview."
PETA did not say if it received a message from Fox or the NFL about the commercial being rejected. According to NBC Sports, Fox sold all its advertising slots fo Super Bowl LIV back in November. This year, 30-second spots cost as much as $5.6 million, with total sales for advertisements expected to pass $400 million.
The ad was quickly criticized online for re-appropriating Kaepernick's causes and the Black Lives Matter movement.
"You're not respecting Kaepernick with this," one person tweeted.
"Honestly...I thought it was going to be a toilet paper commercial at first and that's why the animals were all squatting like people crapping in the forest," another joked.
"I am not too keen on a gesture to raise awareness for black victims of police brutality being reappropriated for animals," another added. "And I love animals."
"How y'all take a gesture that’s symbolic of black Americans' fight against police brutality, apply it to animals & think it's a good idea???" another chimed in.0comments
Super Bowl LIV kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET, live on Fox.
Photo credit: PETA/YouTube