A Cheerios commercial on YouTube that featured a biracial child drew throngs of people making racist remarks, forcing the video-sharing site to shut down the comment section.
The child is shown asking her white mother if Cheerios are beneficial to heart health. It later shows her father, who is black, waking up from a nap.
Adweek reported that before the comment section was taken down, there were numerous references to “Nazis,” “racial genocide,” and “troglodytes.”
General Mills, which makes Cheerios, released a statement to ABC News that the YouTube advertisement was received well.
“Consumers have responded positively to our new Cheerios ad. At Cheerios, we know there are many kinds of families and we celebrate them all,” said Camille Gibson, the vice president of marketing for the cereal.
“We felt like we were reflecting an American family,” Gibson said.
As a large company, Minneapolis-based General Mills is used to getting some degree of negative feedback and wasn’t surprised by the comments on YouTube, she said, but it was the first time the company requested the site turn the comments section off because of the vitriol.
The national ad will continue running as scheduled for several more months and Cheerios isn’t planning any changes, Gibson said. She declined to say whether the campaign would feature interracial ads going forward.
Overall, Gibson said, the feedback has been overwhelmingly supportive: “Consumers are actually responding very positively to the ad.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.