Party City ran a commercial that referred to gluten-free people as ‘gross’ — and customers are furious

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Shutterstock/Roman Tiraspolsky

  • Party City ran a commercial that inferred that people who eat gluten free are “gross.”
  • The commercial was advertising pre-Super Bowl deals at the discount party store, and people were offended.
  • In a statement, Party City apologized for the commercial and promised to make a donation to the Celiac Foundation.

Party City is in a tight spot after it ran a pre-Super Bowl advertisement that critics say is offensive to people who don’t eat gluten.

In the commercial, a host of a Super Bowl party is chatting with a guest. “What is that?” the guest asks, motioning to a sad-looking plate of gluten-free snacks. “Those are some gluten-free options,” the host says.

“Do we even know people that are like that?” the guest inquires. “Tina,” comes the response from the host.

“Oh, gross, yeah” the guest replies.

Take a look at the commercial below.

It’s unclear if, in the world of the commercial, the “gross” is referring to gluten-free people in general or just this unseen Tina.

Whatever the case, people who suffer from a gluten-free allergy and those with celiac disease took umbrage with the commercial on social media. Critics say it downplays the severity of the disease and difficulty of living with the allergy.

“Your new ad mocking people who eat gluten free is inconsiderate and wrong at best,” one Twitter user wrote to Party City. “My celiac disease is not your punchline.”

“Your commercial is disgusting. Do you have any idea how hard it is to live with a life threatening food allergy?” another one reads. “I will not be shopping at your store anymore.”

Party City has since pulled the commercial from all spots, and issued an apology statement on Instagram:

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. 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.