Ford Raptor Commercial: Rainbow Sparks Online Backlash, Ignites Culture War: In a recent turn of events, Ford finds itself at the center of a heated online controversy, as its Ford Raptor commercial featuring a vibrant rainbow-colored vehicle goes viral, igniting a fierce backlash from conservative groups.
The advertisement, which originally debuted in June last year during Pride Month, resurfaced on social media platforms, triggering a wave of criticism from self-proclaimed “alpha males” and conservatives alike.
The spark that set off the firestorm was a Twitter user named Phillip Oliver, who shared a video clip of the ad on Thursday, May 17th, 2023. The clip itself was initially posted on TikTok by Brian Michael, another user, on Wednesday, May 16th, 2023.
Pride meets Patriarchy
The online frenzy surrounding the Ford Raptor commercial quickly escalated when the video caught the attention of conservatives who decried the rainbow-themed vehicle as an assault on American history.
One TikTok user, in particular, went so far as to claim that Ford had managed to obliterate 120 years of American heritage in a mere one-minute ad. Employing the now-infamous catchphrase, “Go woke, go broke,” frequently used by conservatives, the user aimed to rally opposition against Ford’s perceived support of LGBTQ+ rights.
The “Very Gay” Raptor, as it has come to be known, proudly flaunted its glittery rainbow body, with vibrant waves extending from the front to the back.
The creation of this vehicle was a direct response to homophobic comments directed at a previous Ford commercial featuring the Ranger Raptor, which was shared back in 2021.
Faced with a mounting backlash against companies supporting the LGBTQ+ community, right-wing individuals have been scouring the past promotional materials of these firms, seeking ammunition to fuel their online campaigns.
Ford’s Tough Talks and the Very Gay Raptor
Ford’s foray into the creation of the Very Gay Raptor was preceded by the launch of their “Tough Talks” video series.
In these videos, ex-Welsh rugby player Gareth Thomas, who happens to be openly gay, engages in conversations about the challenges of combating homophobia in the automotive industry. The series aimed to redefine traditional notions of toughness and promote inclusivity within the sector.
The decision to introduce the Very Gay Raptor was partly influenced by the homophobic responses the company received for their previous version of the Blue Ranger Raptor.
Last year, in June, Ford proudly unveiled the video, generating considerable attention. However, the momentum was halted by a single comment that derailed the positive reception the video had garnered.
Culture War and Ford’s Response
This recent attack on Ford is just one episode in a broader string of queerphobic and critical social media movements orchestrated by conservative groups in their attempts to boycott the American automobile manufacturer.
Ford, an established player in the industry since 1903, now finds itself caught in the crosshairs of an ideological battle. As the storm of controversy rages on, it remains to be seen how Ford will respond to the backlash and whether it will impact the company’s reputation or bottom line.
In a rapidly changing world, where social values and corporate responsibility often collide, the Ford Raptor commercial controversy highlights the challenges faced by businesses attempting to strike a delicate balance between expressing support for marginalized communities and appealing to a diverse customer base. As the debate rages on, it underscores the power of advertising and the enduring struggle for acceptance in society.