Party City took aim at football fans gearing up for next month’s Super Bowl with one of its latest products: an inflatable snack stadium created in collaboration with Food Network star Sunny Anderson.
The so-called “infladium” was meant to just be a fun display for game-day treats. But now it’s at the center of a controversy thanks to Party City’s recent commercial, according to People.Infladium/Instagram
It started when the party supply giant released an ad that shows two women discussing party snacks.
One woman points to a small plate of snacks that she refers to as “gluten-free options,” to which her friend responds:
“Do we even know people that are like that?”
When the woman reminds her friend about a gluten-free person named “Tina,” she says “Oh, gross, yeah.”Screenshot/Party City
The commercial immediately prompted backlash on social media. Many claimed that Party City was insulting gluten-free people, particularly those with celiac disease.
Some Twitter users wrote:
As someone w/ family members dealing w/ gluten allergies, this is not only in poor taste, it’s just plain wrong & insensitive. People with these allergies suffer horribly if they ingest even the smallest amount of gluten. Shame on you, Party City. https://t.co/RoQEp4FLNM
— Monica Stout (@MI_turnaround) January 24, 2018
@PartyCity apparently thinks people with celiac are gross. You know what’s gross? Being sick your whole life and dying of stomach cancer. Also gross… peddling cheap lead filled products made in China. PS Celiac is not an allergy. It’s a DISEASE. https://t.co/dFlzNqLRz2
— Heather@centsiblechateau.com (@CentsChateau) January 23, 2018
— Tempest (@tbiz85) January 22, 2018
In response to the controversy, the Celiac Disease Foundation released a statement which called the ad “clearly insensitive to the millions of Americans who must adhere to a gluten-free diet because they suffer from either celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity.”
Party City responded to the backlash by removing the ad and issuing an apology to those that were offended. The statement read, in part:
Party City values its customers above all else, and we take your feedback extremely seriously. We recognize that we made an error in judgment by running the recent Big Game commercial, which was insensitive to people with food allergies. We have removed the commercial from our website and all other channels, and sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused.
The company also clarified that Sunny Anderson had nothing to do with the controversial commercial.
While many applauded the company for responding to the fall-out quickly, other social media users slammed those complaining as “overly sensitive.”
Regardless, it looks like Party City is doing what it can to recover from the blunder. Watch the commercial below: