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JC Penney Ad Accused Of Promoting Bullying

A JC Penney ad is accused of promoting bullying. The controversial ad was pulled by the department store. However, some parents are still angry.

The commercial advertised back-to-school clothing, specifically focusing on jeans. The commercial is narrated by a woman, who discusses JC Penney’s clothing selection and prices. She explains that JC Penny has “the brands they have to have.”

The commercial cuts to a lunchroom scene. A boy, who is apparently her son, is surrounded by his friends and smiling.

The mother explains why brand name clothing is important to her son:

“I’ve been told the stuff can make or break your entire year.”

The boy is then pictured sitting in an empty lunchroom, looking alone and confused.

As reported by CBS DFW, many parents criticized the commercial through social media. They feel that the commercial promotes bullying. The JC Penney ad seems to suggest children will only have friends if they wear certain brands of clothing.

Facebook user Lissa Albert explains:

“Bullying doesn’t always look like kids punching others. The boy is sitting alone at the table, isolated and abandoned by his friends who are wearing the ‘cool’ clothes… Exclusion is a very common form of bullying. Judging people based on what they wear, how they look, that is bullying.”

The controversy prompted JC Penney to remove the commercial. They issued a statement about the ad, stating that they never intended to promote bullying. They explain that the ad was meant to inspire children to “express their individuality” and to “create and reveal” their own unique look.

Their decision to remove the ad was applauded by some parents. At least one parent has suggested that JC Penney could use the experience to promote sensitivity and awareness.

The JC Penney ad was likely an innocent attempt to be funny. However, bullying is a serious issue that cannot be ignored.

[Image via Flickr]

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