The manly man appeared in an ad for NASCAR, bringing some of his freedom-loving Ron Swanson persona into play as he encouraged Americans to harden up and enjoy the spectacle of racecars looping around a track.
This being the internet, though, frivolity was quickly put aside in favour of outrage and anger, when a Change.Org petition began to circulate, asking NASCAR to ditch the ad because it mocks gluten-free diets.
In the commercial, Offerman pokes fun at a nation so soft that eating gluten is considered a dangerous activity; the petition, started by someone named Gluten Dude, claims that this is offensive to people with Celiac disease.
Per the petition:
NBC is running a Super Bowl ad that makes fun of those who are gluten-free. It implies that we’re soft…we’re weak…we’re part of America’s problem. When all we’re trying to do is manage our disease. Celiac can be a true pain. The media is not helping and this petition is get NBC to see the light of day.
I think about all of the gluten-free children getting bullied for being “different”, when all they want to do is feel better and fit in. I think about all of the people who have gotten sick at restaurants because the kitchen and/or the staff do not take us seriously. I think about all of those walking around undiagnosed and suffering because they only listen to what is in the media. I think about all of the people in the past who have died prematurely when going gluten-free MAY have been their saving grace.
While the ad would appear to be poking fun at people who blindly jump on the gluten-free bandwagon, and not sufferers of Celiac disease, which is an actual, serious medical condition, the petition has gathered more than 17,000 signatures.
A representative for NBC sports has said that the Super Bowl broadcast will contain a shortened, 60-second version of the commercial where the line is cut, and that it will appear only in the online version.