Party City apologized on Monday for airing a Super Bowl ad in which it called people who are gluten-free “gross.” The party supply retail chain has since pulled the advertisement.
The ad, which features Food Network star Sunny Anderson’s inflatable snack stadium, for the upcoming Super Bowl, shows two women looking at a big tray of snacks and then a smaller tray showing gluten-free options.
“Do we even know anyone like that?” one of the women says, motioning toward the gluten-free snacks. “Tina,” the second woman says.
“Oh gross ― yeah,” the first woman answers.
Understandably, backlash to the ad was swift. Many with celiac disease, a life-threatening autoimmune disorder that causes the body to trigger an immune response to the protein gluten, called out Party City for its insensitive advertisement.
Party City apologized for the ad in a statement posted on Instagram.
“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 statement says.
“We’d also like to clarify that Sunny Anderson was not involved in the creation of this commercial in any way, and we apologize for any offense it has caused with her audience and fans. We will also be reviewing our internal vetting process on all advertising content to avoid any future issues. In addition, Party City will be making a donation in support of Celiac Disease research.”
Anderson also posted the same apology on her Instagram account.
“I’d like to thank @partycity for handling this swiftly and with care,” the Food Network star wrote in the caption of her repost.
Party City is no stranger to controversy. In 2015, the company was accused of making sexualized Halloween costumes for young girls.