John Lewis addresses outrage over insurance advert featuring boy in dress and heels

Some social media users complained the department store’s advert is too ‘woke’ and ‘sexist’

Kate Ng
Friday 15 October 2021 16:03 BST
John Lewis home insurance advert

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John Lewis has defended its latest insurance advert against accusations of “agenda-pushing”, following backlash on social media.

The department store said it believed in “children having fun” and that the advert featured a “young actor getting carried away with his dramatic performance”, not “wilfully damaging his home”.

The TV commercial, which first aired earlier this week, showed a young boy in a dress, jewellery, heels and make-up dancing around the house to Stevie Nicks’s “Edge of Seventeen”.

As he performs, he leaves behind a messy trail by smearing paint on the wall and stairs, tossing glitter in the air, kicking off his shoes at lamps, knocking a photo frame off the wall, and throwing an umbrella aside, which knocks a vase off a shelf.

The advert quickly drew criticism, with some saying it was “sexist” and depicted “male entitlement” because the boy was seen “wrecking” the house as his mother and sister look on.

One person wrote: “The John Lewis advert of a young boy being the centre of attention for trashing everything while his sister obediently sits and paints in a corner is sexism encapsulated in 60 seconds.”

Another said: “It’s very telling about that John Lewis advert that even when presenting gender ideology in as adorable a way as possible, it’s still revealed to be narcissistic, destructive, aggressive, misogynistic and thinks women and girls exist to sit quietly and take whatever crap it pulls.”

Others complained that the advert was “woke”, and vowed to withdraw their custom from the department store.

John Lewis described it as a “playful storyline, adding: “He is not wilfully damaging his home and is unaware of the unintentional consequences of his actions.

“If customers have Accidental Damage Cover with our Home Insurance, this would cover a range of major and minor home disasters – including unintentional breakages caused by children in the family.”

Others hit back at those complaining about the advert, accusing them of being homophobic and wilfully misinterpreting the commercial.

One person said: “Wow I see people are really upset about the John Lewis advert because… checks notes… a little boy in a dress is having fun and making a mess and they’re equating this to the ‘gay agenda’ ruining society. Go outside and touch grass. Please.”

Another said: “What exactly is the agenda being pushed apart from buying John Lewis home insurance? People are saying young kids will find this, if they are watching home insurance adverts I have questions.”

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