Thursday, October 29, 2015

Offensive, Deplorable, Insensitive, Cruel, and Insulting

Last night I was watching the World Series (I'm rooting for the Royals). I just couldn't handle watching the Republican debate. I find all of the candidates offensive, but I didn't expect to be offended during the World Series. However, a DIRECTV advertisement with Peyton Manning came on. I've seen it before, and its incredible offensiveness and makes my blood boil every time is see it. I never have particularly liked Peyton Manning, but even if I had been a huge fan of his, this commercial would have made me hate him with a passion. Before I say more, I'm going to let you read what the commercial says (I could have posted a YouTube video of the commercial, but I find it too offensive to post):
Hi I’m Peyton Manning and I have DIRECTV. 
And I’m really high voice Peyton Manning and I have cable. 
Only DIRECTV lets you watch NFL Sunday Ticket games live on all your devices. 
With cable I can’t do that it’s like – ahhhhhhh! [high-pitched] 
I get to take all the games with me. 
I sing with the Four Tunesmen. 
Camptown ladies sing a song
Doo dah, doo Dah
Camptown racetrack five miles long
Oh the doo dah day
Don’t be like this me get NFL SUNDAY TICKET only on DIRECTV.
To understand why I find this really offensive, I have to tell you something about myself that I don't think I've ever mentioned on this blog before: I have a high voice. My voice is the stereotypical "gay voice." I get mistaken for a woman on the phone and at drive-thru restaurants. All of my life, bullies have imitated my voice as a way to call me a faggot, usually while using the word fag or faggot and limp wrist hand gestures along with it. My voice has been an embarrassment to me all my life, but I am learning to accept it. It does help that with my new job, my voice plays a major component in said job. However, every time I see this commercial, it brings up all the bullying I faced in my life, and I'm not just talking about my teenage years but my adult life too. It still happens. Imagine calling your bank to straighten out an issue that has to be done over the phone and the person you are speaking with refuses to believe you are who you say you are. They thought by your name you were a man, but when they speak to you they are sure you are female and cannot be convinced otherwise. So they try every security question they can think of and after you answer all of them promptly and correctly, they reluctantly agree to speak with you, but remain skeptical you are who you say you are.

So when I see this commercial and I hear, "And I’m really high voice Peyton Manning and I have cable," what I really hear is "And I’m faggot Peyton Manning and I have cable." I don't know how many of you watch NBC's The Voice, but this season there is a male contestant named Jordan. He also has a high voice and during the blind auditions, everyone turned around and was shocked that he was a guy. Then they all said, especially Adam Levine, how important a contestant he was because he was so brave. I admire Jordan immensely for having the courage to stand up there knowing the judges would turn around and be shocked that he was a guy. I couldn't have done it. Sadly, I don't think he will make it far when America begins to vote because guys with high/effeminate/"gay" voices are discriminated against everyday. We constantly have our manhood questioned because we don't have a deep voice. We are constantly discriminated because of it. We are made fun of by athletes and bullies, and now even on a national television commercial.

I find this commercial to be one of the most offensive, deplorable, insensitive, cruel, and insulting commercial that I have ever seen. DIRECTV has been called out before on these types of commercials, but they continue to make more of them. Who else will they be allowed to insult before they stop using these commercials? I find this one even worse because without saying it directly, it hits on two major stereotypes of gay men: that we have "gay voices" and we don't like sports. After all, this is a commercial about NFL Sunday Ticket on DIRECTV. This commercial invites ridicule for those men who don't have deep voices. DIRECTV should be ashamed of themselves for such a blatantly homophobic commercial. The sad thing is, I doubt DIRECTV nor Peyton Manning realize just how hurtful and insensitive this commercial is. They merely think it's funny. There is nothing funny about condoning bullying and homophobia, directly or indirectly.


Susan said...

I rarely watch commercials. Normally my TV viewing is from DVR'd shows or I turn down the sound when they come on. But recently I did see this one. I ended up watching the entire thing because I was so horrified by its crassness I could hardly believe what I was listening to. I found it to be all the adjectives you listed and more. When I saw it, it was during a football game. It wasn't funny; it wasn't entertaining; and it definitely wasn't selling me anything. What it was doing was annoying the hell out of me. Plus I was extremely offended on behalf of the LGBT community who have to deal with this type of bullying and derogatory stereotypical humor still, and shouldn't have it coming into their living rooms on TV!

Thank you for speaking out about this Joe. I give you tremendous credit for bringing this up as it applies to you personally.

Lenny Ricci said...

nicely put joe... it makes you think of how significant something like this is in some peoples lives.
Aside from Peyton in this commercial, I cannot for the life of me wonder why he has to degrade himself selling Buicks, Papa Johns pizza and a myriad of other crap... the guy certainly doesn't need the money and his skills on the field are getting worse by the game...

That's my 2 cents worth.

Lenny from Denver

Michael Dodd said...

Pretty much have no use for anyone who hawks Papa John's Pizza, for lots of reasons -- some culinary and others social. At any rate, I find the whole series of DIRECTV commercials in this vein to be offensive and stupid.

Full disclosure: I find pretty much all television advertising to be offensive and stupid.

Mike said...

I have a really high voice too. I have been told I sound like Winnie the Pooh. I hate it. I have all the gay inflections, though I didn't try/want to. I am mistaken as a woman on the phone all the time. Thankfully my real first name is unusual, so people don't give me a hard time since I don't think they know if its a woman or man.

If its people I've never spoken to who cold call, they usually assume its a woman. I HATE IT.

The kids at work used to give me a hard time since I didn't have a deep voice - it was all in fun - and I would throw it back at them, give them a hard time too.

timmer66 said...

I've been a DirecTV customer for many years, and I have seen this ad. I've ignored it in the past, but seeing it here - on your blog - made me pay attention. It's right up there with Auto Zone commercials on the radio - sexist and homophobic.

So I wrote to DirecTV's customer service email:

"I find your commercial with Peyton Manning offensive. It is sexist and homophobic. It is bullying and derogatory toward the LGBT community. It is not informative, entertaining or useful in any way.

Why is your company bullying? Why do we have to see this in our homes?"

They are required to respond within 24 hours. I wonder what they will have to say?

Tim in Montana

nikki said...

All of those similar commercials for Direct TV are idiotic but I agree that this one is really offensive. Who's writing this stuff -- a 12 year old?

naturgesetz said...

I haven't seen the ad, since I don't watch any sports other than the Red Sox on TV (well, maybe an occasional post-season baseball game). But the ad definitely goes beyond the pale.

Completely BTW, though, I have an anecdote for you. I guy I knew at about age 12 moved away. A number of years later, he told me of a classmate in high school who had a high-pitched voice. One Monday morning in class everybody was shocked when he responded to a teacher's question in a low-pitched voice.

Apparently, the high pitch wasn't because of physiology, but his manner of producing sound. He had gone to a speech therapist who had taught him how to use his voice's natural lower register.

You may be perfectly content to use your higher register, but if you would prefer not to be mistaken for a woman, it might be worth checking out whether you can produce a lower voice than the one you've been using.

Amanda said...

I don't know why advertisers don't think through the ads they put on tv. I don't care for commercials at all but especially not offensive ones.

Andrew Weiss said...

I was watching with a gay friend. While neither of us have a high pitched voice, we both commented on how homophobic and stupid the ad was. Usually my brain tunes out commercials, but that one you could not help but notice. I think they were trying to be funny, but it came off as shameful, idiotic and offensive.

Geordie said...

Why are you people wasting your precious lives watching tv at all?

Joe said...

Thanks everyone for your support on this. Tim, I would love to know if they respond to your email. When I had DIRECTV, I had very little success in dealing with their customer service. Naturgesetz, I do plan on looking into some speech therapy once the insurance from my new job kicks in,

timmer66 said...

Well, I did get a response about 8 hours after I sent it:

"Dear Tim,

I am Edward, a customer service specialist from DIRECTV's email support group. I appreciate you for taking the time to share us your thoughts about our commercials. As our valued customer for several years, your feedback is very important to us.

I deeply apologize for any misinterpretation about our commercials. We certainly did not mean to offend you or anyone else with them.

It is our goal as your service provider to make sure that suggestions on how we can improve your viewing experience is taken care of. To ensure your voice is heard, I personally forwarded your email to the DIRECTV Management Team. Please be assured that all feedback is reviewed; and considered for any improvement or changes that we may apply in the future.

Thank you for writing us today, Tim. We want to let you know how grateful we are for trusting us to provide your entertainment needs.


Edward E. - 100402409
DIRECTV Customer Service"

Interesting that they apologized for the "misinterpretation" of their commercials. Hardly owning the problem, at all.