Update: From Cindi Creager, GLAAD’s Director of National News, in the glaadBLOG‘s post Taco Bell Address Reports That Transphobic Radio Ads Are Still Airing:

…We reached out to Taco Bell to ask that the company rectify this situation immediately and explain why the problematic commercials are still reportedly running in several markets. Taco Bell issued this response:

“We are very concerned to have learned that over the weekend some stations were airing a radio ad that we instructed them to remove on January 14. In the process of replacing the ad, we discovered that some stations inadvertently ran the original commercial. We sincerely apologize that this ad ran again and offended people. We’re in the process of contacting all of our radio partners to ensure that the original ad never airs again. We appreciate that GLAAD brought this to our attention so that we could take immediate action.”

We appreciate Taco Bell issuing this apology but urge our members to hold the company accountable for fair advertising standards moving forward.  If you hear anti-LGBT radio commercials in your local area please contact GLAAD immediately at nationalnews@glaad.org and tell us what time the commercial aired, on what station, and in what city.  Taco Bell must live up to its word, pull all of the spots immediately, and cease defaming LGBT people in all future advertisements.  GLAAD and the community will be listening.

The Taco Bell statement on what happened doesn’t mean that I’m satisfied completely. Exactly how happy are my peers and I supposed to be with the re-airing of very problematic ads? Even if there was a “good” reason — or a “good” excuse — for how it happened?

I’m not happy. It will probably be awhile before I eat at Taco Bell again.


We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.

~Martin Luther King Jr.

To say I’m a little disappointed this morning is a bit of an understatement. We reported here about Taco Bell’s transphobic ad — and Taco’s Bell’s promise to pull the ad. Several lesbian, gay, bisexual — and especially transgender — (LGBT) activists worked hard behind the scenes to explain why the ad should be pulled.

Taco Bell’s said they would pull the ad. On January 13th, Taco Bell Corp. spokesperson Rob Poetsch stated:

We sincerely apologize as the ad was not meant to offend anyone and as soon as it was brought to our attention, we immediately stopped airing it.

Well, apparently he spoke too soon about the ad being completely pulled. From The Advocate‘s Transphobic Taco Bell Ads Still Running:

Taco Bell claims a transphobic spot that had LGBT activists riled up last week has been yanked from the air – but the ad is still playing on Los Angeles radio stations as of Sunday, January 24…

…An ad airing Sunday morning in Los Angeles on KIIS-FM during Ryan Seacrest’s weekly American Top 40 countdown offers a similar punch line.

In this ad, after a fight between the man and the woman, the woman says, “Well then I don’t feel so guilty telling you… [I wasn’t born] Martha.” The woman’s voice then changes to a man’s voice, which says, “I’m Marvin.”

A blender also sent an email to me this weekend, indicating the ad was also playing on an Indiana radio station Cincinnati’s WUBE 105.1 — which can be heard as far away as Indiana. (updated: AVS )

I contacted GLAAD about the ad in Indiana; they were previously aware of the ad playing on KIIS in Los Angeles this past weekend. GLAAD is already in contact with Taco Bell Corp. spokesperson Rob Poetsch to see what happened.

But, if an ad that uses trans panic/gay panic to sell product plays a week-and-a-half after it’s promised to be “immediately stopped” from airing, then it’s no stretch to say we have a major fail.

Taco Bell has a lot of explaining to do, and I know I would sure like to hear the explanation of the major fail. Frankly, they owe the LGBT community — and especially trans people — more than an explanation at this point: Taco Bell needs written corporate policy that includes gender identity and expression antidiscrimination language. Otherwise, I see something like this major fail this happening again.

It appears I ate my celebratory Taco Bell tacos a bit too soon. I have infinite hope that this will work out for the best, but I am profoundly disappointed in Taco Bell. Taco Bell Corp. obviously didn’t treat the removal of this ad from the airwaves as the urgent priority it should have been treated as.


Further reading:

* glaadBLOG: Taco Bell Acts Quickly to Remove Transphobic Radio Ad

* Border House: Off-Topic: Taco Bell’s Transphobic Radio Commercial

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Autumn Sandeen

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