The Saturday Night Live sketch "Djesus Uncrossed" is an online hit, but viewers will no longer see commercials for Sears attached to it.
In an email to The Hollywood Reporter, the retail chain acknowledged that some of its customers found the skit offensive, so it yanked its online commercials but has not abandoned the TV show.
“We received customer feedback about our ads running on NBC.com and Hulu in a rotation with other advertisers around the online rebroadcast of that particular SNL episode,” Sears said. “We informed customers that it wasn’t supposed to happen, and while going forward we may advertise on the broadcast, we’ve taken steps to ensure that our commercials do not air online exactly as they did in this situation.”
Earlier in the week, the American Family Association was taking credit for alerting Sears, and it also made the claim that JCPenney was convinced to withhold some advertising.
“NBC would never do this to any other religious group, but it’s crazy popular in Hollywood circles to go after crazy Christians," AFA president Tim Wildmon told FoxNews.com
The Fox News story also says the AFA issued a press release announcing that JCPenney and Sears had pulled ads from Saturday Night Live, though no press release exists at AFA’s website. The AFA did not respond to a request for comment from THR, nor did JCPenney, though a spokeswoman there told the New York Times that it doesn't advertise on the show to begin with.
Meanwhile, some in the media are mocking AFA for its hard-to-locate press release that proclaims Sears and JCPenney have ditched Saturday Night Live. The Huffington Post said the AFA was making a "sketchy claim," for example.
"Call Sears and JCPenney's headquarters to let them know you support them ceasing their financial advertising support of NBC and Saturday Night Live," the AFA says in its release that went out to supporters. "Ask them to continue to not fund the show, both broadcast and online."
The "Djesus Uncrossed" skit is a trailer-spoof of Django Unchained and features Christoph Waltz as a resurrected Jesus. It aired on Saturday Night Live on Feb. 16 and has been popular on the Internet ever since.
“He’s risen from the dead, and he’s preaching anything but forgiveness,” a narrator says in the faux trailer. “He may be wearing sandals, but he can still kick ass.”
See the skit below.
The AFA is a Christian, conservative, non-profit advocacy group founded in 1977 by a Methodist pastor in Mississippi. Its AFA Journal boasts 180,000 paid subscribers, and the organization operates 200 radio stations under the American Family Radio banner, according to its website.
Since shortly after the skit aired on television, the AFA has been encouraging its audience to sign an online petition that reads, in part: "NBC broadcast (and now makes available online) a violent and gory mockery of Jesus Christ during the Feb. 16 episode of Saturday Night Live."
The petition asks Sears, JCPenney and Kmart "to pull all its advertising from NBC's Saturday Night Live program, whether on broadcast television or on its website."
NBC declined to comment.