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PETA always pushes the envelope with their animal-rights protests and campaigns — as we explained earlier, they sued Sea World for “enslaving” the killer whales who perform for them — but the ad above (which is NSFW if you’re interested in clicking on it) is getting them more heat than usual. While it promotes an interesting side benefit of having a vegan lifestyle, people are up in arms about what the ad looks like at the start.
In the ad, a woman walks the streets wearing a neck brace, sporting a black eye, wearing no pants and seemingly dazed. Narrator Kevin Nealon talks about how the woman is suffering from “BWVAKTBOOM“, which stands for “Boyfriend Went Vegan and Knocked the Bottom out of Me.”
By the time we get to the second half of the web-exclusive spot, we realize that the woman is injured and dazed because veganism has given her boyfriend some newfound stamina in the bedroom. But commenters on the video’s YouTube page were not to happy about what the first half looked like: that the woman was a victim of domestic abuse. One of the kinder comments was “you’ve ended up with a campaign where you try to get people to do a particular thing, and then show that thing by boyfriends causing girls to wear neck braces and eyepatches. It’s very counter-productive.”
A PETA spokesperson told the New York Daily News that “we’re kind of issuing a fun warning to people that if their partner goes vegan, they will have so much stamina that it will knock them over.”
Like we said, PETA is usually unapologetic over campaigns that offend people, figuring that it’s getting attention either way. So their light tone in response to the objections is par for the course with them. And, taken in full, the ad is funny. But leading with the image of an abused woman wandering the streets was a bit of a miscalculation on the organization’s part; it would have gotten plenty of attention from the sexual content of the ad if they had just showed a quick shot up front of how the woman got that way in the first place.