After receiving several reports from constituents and advocates about a transphobic radio commercial for Taco Bell, GLAAD joined a handful of watchful bloggers in calling on the company to cancel the ad. This afternoon, Taco Bell agreed to pull the hurtful material from further broadcasts after conversations with our National News team and other concerned advocates, including Autumn Sandeen of Pam’s House Blend.
While no audio recording of the commercial has yet been found, BorderHouse blog published the most complete description of its content on January 7th:
Some male tells a female (presumably his wife or girlfriend) that it’s a surprise that there is nacho cheese in a layer of the Taco Bell burrito. The woman responds with “Well, I have a surprise for you. I was born male, my name was Claudio” and her voice is lowered several octaves. After which, the male says “Ew.”
GLAAD contacted Taco Bell’s Media Relations staff about the collective outcry over the use of someone’s transgender identity as the punch line of a joke (a troubling trend we dealt with most recently in outreach to the Late Show with David Letterman).
Spokesman for Taco Bell, Rob Poetsch, confirmed that descriptions of the ad by concerned advocates were accurate and quickly began the process of taking the ad off the air. He issued this statement to GLAAD late today.
"We sincerely apologize as the ad was not meant to offend anyone and as soon as it was brought to our attention, we immediately stopped airing it."
- Rod Poetsch, Taco Bell Corp.
It is encouraging to see Taco Bell act so quickly in response to our concerns. A special thank you to all of the community members, especially Autumn Sandeen, who brought this to GLAAD's attention. We were happy to help bring a resolution to this situation.