Two new Uber Eats ads feature a star-powered gymnastics duo – professional athlete Simone Biles, and amateur gymnast Jonathan Van Ness. In the ads, the Olympic gold medalist and the “Queer Eye” star show off their gymnastics skills and talk about what they’re going to order on Uber Eats.
One conservative group, One Million Moms, has criticized the choice to cast Van Ness and calls the ads “damaging to young viewers.”
The group is a division of the American Family Association, which describes itself as a “pro-family” organization that is “on the front lines of America’s culture war.” It has been a vocal opponent of LGBQT inclusive programming and advertising.
“The two newest Uber Eats commercials, featuring talented gymnast Simone Biles, includes the well-known ‘non-binary’ Jonathan Van Ness wearing one of Simone’s leotards,” One Million Moms says in a statement on its website. “In one commercial, she gives him a strange look and tells him he can keep her leotard because she doesn’t want it back now that he has worn it.”
“In the other commercial, she asks him if he wants to split her food order by saying, ‘Splitsies?’ Confused by her request, he does the actual splits instead,” the statement reads.
“Casting a cross-dresser in its ads screams liberal agenda and turns off potential Uber Eats customers,” the statement continues.
In the spot, Van Ness is wearing an outfit that is identical to the traditionally female outfit that Biles is wearing.
The “Queer Eye” cast member has been known to wear dresses on the red carpet and has slammed critics of that choice as “transphobic.” In a 2019 interview with Out Magazine, Van Ness described himself as “non-binary” and “genderqueer.”
Van Ness, who along with being a hairstylist has also taken up gymnastics and comedy, said: “The older I get, the more I think that I’m non-binary — I’m gender nonconforming. Like, some days I feel like a man, but then other days I feel like a woman.”
In their statement, One Million Moms also criticizes the caption of Uber Eats’ YouTube video for one of the ads: “Anything Simone Biles can do, Jonathan Van Ness can do … in his own, amazing way.”
“Shame on Uber Eats for attempting to brainwash viewers with an agenda instead of focusing on providing a helpful service, especially during a pandemic,” One Million Moms says. “Potential customers have plenty of other food delivery options to choose from instead of doing business with Uber Eats and its parent company Uber. Uber Eats and Uber are actually pushing consumers to the competition with their propaganda.”
One Million Moms said Uber Eats should be focusing “on what it does and remain neutral on controversial issues.”
A petition on the One Million Moms site allows supporters to sign their names to the following statement: “I am extremely disappointed that Uber Eats and Uber are refusing to remain neutral in the culture war. Uber is pushing the LGBTQ agenda on families with its most recent Uber Eats commercials. If Uber cannot remain neutral, then I will no longer support your company.”
There were 6,569 signatures as of Friday morning.
In a statement to CBS News on Friday, an Uber spokesperson said: “At Uber Eats, we’re unapologetically committed to representing the flavor spectrum. From tacos to talent, we like it spicy. JVN and Simone serve gymnastic prowess and ferosh self-confidence, qualities millions of moms everywhere can—and do—support.”
CBS News has reached out to reps for Van Ness and the American Family Association for comment.
One Million Moms also recently criticized Oreo’s gay pride commercial.
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