A new advertisement by McCafé featuring a heartwarming coming-out scene has created something of a firestorm in a coffee cup in Taiwan, with religious fundamentalists up in arms, calling for a boycott against the chain.
In the 90-second video, titled Acceptance, the third and latest video in the More Warmth in Conversations campaign by McCafé which started in January, a father and son are seen sitting at a table in a McCafé. The son hands his father a coffee cup with a note which reads “I like boys.” The father then gets up, visibly upset, and appears to storm away from the table.
As the son sits at the table in despair, his father later returns and writes three characters on the coffee cup which make the sentence read “I accept that you like boys.” The pair then exchange smiles before the tagline “Let there be more warmth in conversations” appears on screen.
Following its release Friday evening on McDonald’s Taiwan’s Facebook page, the video has been shared more than 5,400 times and viewed 1.5 million times. On Youtube, the video was viewed more than 330,000 times.
While the ad received mostly positive comments on social media, its message of acceptance didn’t go down too well with some of the island’s religious fundamentalists.
Chang Shou-yi, secretary general of the Alliance of Taiwan Religious Groups for the Protection of Family, has urged parents and consumers to boycott McDonald’s. “Now, even if you want to just take a leak at a McDonald’s bathroom, you can’t help but feel polluted,” he was quoted in local media reports as saying.
In a statement to the press, Chang wrote that the Alliance “does not approve of the ideological stand behind the advertisement” and accused McDonald’s of “openly promoting gay issues.”
“Because McDonald’s is frequented by many children, it is especially important to oppose the promotion of same-sex behavior,” the statement added. As such, the Alliance “opposes all advertising that miseducate children on sexual behavior,” and “rebukes and boycotts all enterprises that are polluting the next generation.”
While same-sex marriage is not currently recognized in Taiwan, the island is generally seen to be on the forefront of Asia in the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights.
President-elect Tsai Ing-wen has been on the record as saying she supports marriage equality. In a campaign video released before she led her party to a landslide victory in elections in January, she said, “In the face of love, everyone is equal. Let everyone have the freedom to love and to pursue their happiness.”
Seven cities in Taiwan, including Taipei, Kaohsiung and Chiayi, now accept household registrations of same-sex couples.
In a poll by Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice, close to 60 percent of respondents indicated that they approved of same-sex marriage. If activists succeed in overcoming opposition from a small but vocal, and highly influential, Christian minority, Taiwan will become first in Asia to legalize gay marriage.
Watch the ad here: