Her character on “Veep” may claim to know how to talk to people, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ latest commercial definitely doesn’t.
The Israeli ad for a local satellite television provider called Yes has been pulled from TV (and YouTube, for that matter) after offending some viewers with its portrayal of overweight women. In the clip, the Emmy winner known for her on-screen pratfalls congratulates a female colleague on her pregnancy and rubs the woman’s belly, only to discover that the only buns in her oven are literal, not metaphorical. Later, she refers to the woman and says she can’t be pregnant “because obviously she hasn’t dated anyone in forever.”
The message was meant to be for non-subscribers that if they’ve made the mistake of not subscribing to Yes, they can fix it.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Yedid Association for Community Empowerment quickly sent a formal complaint to Yes CEO Ron Ayalon and to the Cable & Satellite Broadcasting Council. “There are a lot of weight-challenged individuals in Israel who are treated in an irreverent and hurtful manner,” the organization said. “There is no justification to illustrate a stigma which suggests a larger woman is either pregnant or simply too fat for anyone to consider going out with.”
The Na’amat Israel women’s organization followed suit, posting on Facebook shortly after the spot first aired, declaring that it was “shocked” by the “insulting” commercial and calling for it to be yanked from the networks and unable to air again.
The Second Authority for Television & Radio also called for the spot to be removed. “The Yes commercial has been hurtful to a portion of the public, despite the inherent freedom of speech in advertising media,” they said in a statement.
Yes has since apologized, explaining that they meant no harm. “This is a humorous advert based on the style for which the actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus is known. The message of the advert is how to deal with mistakes, and if there is someone presented in a ridiculous light, then it is Julia – who makes the mistake [in the advert],” they said in a statement released to the Jerusalem Post. “There was never any intention to upset the public in any way, and if someone feels personally offended, we apologize for that."
The commercial was conceived and produced by McCann-Erickson.