An advocacy group says Uber Eats is changing its Super Bowl commercial set to air Sunday amid backlash for a joke involving food allergies.
The star-studded TV ad features a running joke about people forgetting. In previews of the ad, it also includes a brief scene of a man who has forgotten the ingredients in peanut butter with a swollen face and hives from an apparent allergic reaction.
Advocates condemned the ad for misrepresenting risks for people with food allergies. Several people on social media also described the dangers they or their loved ones face.
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On Friday, the nonprofit Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) said Uber agreed to air the ad without reference to the peanut allergy, said Sung Poblete, the nonprofit’s CEO, in a statement. The change, she said, came after backlash on social media from several people describing the risks with their own food allergies.
“I want to thank you, our community, for speaking up so that our voices could be heard as we change the way life-threatening food allergies are perceived,” Poblete said. “It’s personal for all of us.”
Uber didn’t respond to ’s email request on Saturday.
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While data is limited, FARE estimates more than 30 million Americans have food allergies, including around 6 million children, some of whom experience bullying on it. A 2019 study estimated one in 10 Americans have a food allergy, though far more think they do.
The commercial downplays legitimate health issues especially as food allergies are increasing among Americans, according to Dr. Purvi Parikh, an allergist and immunologist with the national nonprofit Allergy and Asthma Network. Factors such as pollution and climate change, along with greater advancements to understand allergies, are thought to be contributing to the uptick. Peanut is one of the most common food allergies.
“This is a serious and life-threatening condition,” Parikh, who is also a clinical assistant professor at NYU Langone, told . “People that truly have these allergies really can’t be exposed to these allergens in any form because it’s so dangerous.”
She cited the recent death of New York City professional dancer Orla Baxendale, 25. On Jan. 11, Baxendale died from an allergic reaction after eating a mislabeled cookie that contained peanuts.
Uber Eats’ commercial also includes Jennifer Aniston not remembering she starred alongside David Schwimmer for 10 seasons of “Friends.” David and Victoria Beckham forget the latter’s pop group, the Spice Girls, while she sports a shirt saying “David’s Wife.” The musician Jelly Roll forgets he has face tattoos. Meanwhile, this year’s Super Bowl halftime performer, Usher, hopes he could perform there one day.
The commercial is set to air during the third quarter of the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, Uber said.