Gillette Faces Backlash, Boycott Over #MeToo-Inspired Ad on 'Toxic Masculinity'

© AFP 2022 / Jung Yeon-je A South Korean demonstrator holds a banner during a rally to mark International Women's Day as part of the country's #MeToo movement in Seoul on March 8, 2018.
A South Korean demonstrator holds a banner during a rally to mark International Women's Day as part of the country's #MeToo movement in Seoul on March 8, 2018.  - Sputnik International
The shaving brand has played on its famous 30-year tagline “The Best A Man Can Get”, asking “Is this the best a man can get?” in a new commercial against “toxic masculinity”.

Gillette landed in hot water after an attempt to embrace the #MeToo movement by putting the responsibility on men to end bullying, sexism, and sexual harassment in a new controversial ad.

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The 90-second-long commercial, called “We Believe”, encourages men to change their behaviour and shows shots of different men looking in the mirror as news on the #MeToo era is broadcast in the background.

“Is this the best a man can get? Is it?” a voiceover is heard asking.

The ad continues by highlighting all the ways the mistreatment of women has been normalised over the years, and stressing that “toxic masculinity” and excuses defending ad behaviour should no longer be tolerated.

“We can’t hide from it. It has been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off. Making the same old excuses. But something finally changed. And there will be no going back. Because we… We believe in the best in men. To say the right thing. To act the right way. Some already are, in ways big and small. But some is not enough. Because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow”.

The commercial also features a clip of actor Terry Crews, a victim of sexual assault, saying: “Men need to hold other men accountable”.

READ MORE: Indian Businessman Admits He Recorded Sex Fearing #MeToo Accusations

The ad has generated a heated debate, and drawn much criticism from social media users, who blasted the shaving brand for the commercial’s tone, with many accusing Gillette of jumping on the social justice bandwagon:

A vast number of netizens announced that they would boycott the company and switch to other brands:

The majority of users pointed to the fact that the ad portrayed boys as “monsters-in-waiting”, and wrongly equated masculinity with men’s bad behaviour:

On the other hand, there were those, who admired the ad, describing it as “must watch”…

…while others lashed out at people who negatively viewed the ad:

Gillette has also pledged $1 million a year to non-profit groups “designed to help men of all ages achieve their personal ‘best’, changing the conversation of modern manhood for generations to come”.

“From today on, we pledge to actively challenge the stereotypes and expectations of what it means to be a man everywhere you see Gillette. In the ads we run, the images we publish to social media, the words we choose, and so much more”, the brand, owned by Procter & Gamble, wrote on its website.

The #MeToo movement has been gaining ground since October 2017 after a wave of bombshell revelations of alleged sexual misconduct against influential Hollywood figures, including film producer Harvey Weinstein, surfaced. The hashtag #MeToo became increasingly popular on social media, prompting women from across the globe to speak publicly about their sexual harassment experiences.

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