After Being Called 'Disgusting,' Queer Cadbury Creme Egg Couple Reflect on Negative Pushback

Tuesday March 16, 2021
Originally published on March 9, 2021

When real-life gay couple Callum Sterling and Dale K. Moran posed for a recent ad for Cadbury's Creme Egg, they never expected a pushback. "Nobody in production, at Cadbury and especially ourselves thought there would be any blowback from the commercial," Moran told Pink News.

The ad was to celebrate "the Creme Egg's Golden Goobilee aka, our favourite fondant-stuffed egg's 50th birthday," writes a report on the website Delish. "The advert showcased a number of different ways to enjoy Creme Eggs — you can lick them, bake with them, dip them, and share them. But unfortunately, the final option has offended a number of people and a petition has been launched to ban the advert."

The couple are seen at the 40-second mark in the video in a segment entitled "Sharers." They are first seen playfully spinning on a rooftop. They stop and move in on each other with a cut to the close-up where one of the couple playfully bites a Cadbury Creme Egg lodged in his boyfriend's mouth.

While many praised the ad and the couple, others were not amused. A number of conservative websites — one in Spain and one in the U.S. — started petitions to have the ad removed. CitizenGo, the Spanish site, wrote on the website their objections to what they consider "a highly-charged sexually provocative act" seen in the ad. In the petition they accuse Cadbury of "grooming, exposing children to inappropriate and graphic sexual content," and to escape criticism by "by using the cover of 'inclusiveness' and 'diversity'." They also claim — without evidence — that members of the LGBTQ community have "expressed their dislike of this campaign" and if "the couple in question were heterosexual, the advertisement would likely be prohibited, given the sexually explicit and graphic nature of the kiss." Thus far the petition has received nearly 80,000 signatures.

Less effective is the petition by the American-based One Million Moms, an offshoot of the American Family Association which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On their petition page, they quote conservative pundit Todd Starnes who best described the ad this way: "It's like Disney's 'Lady and the Tramp' scene where the two dogs share spaghetti. Except, it's two grown men spinning around in a circle and sharing a creme-filled chocolate egg in a sexualized way."

So far the One Million Moms petition has nearly 31,000 pledges.

The couple told PinkNews there was no "underlying narrative" that Cadbury wanted them sharing the egg to be "sexualised at all". They said, when they auditioned for the role, there was no mention of the company wanting to feature a gay couple.

Sterling and Moran have done many commercials together, but never have had a response as with this one. Moran explained that the response "came in two waves." The initial "wave" was "overwhelmingly positive" and came from mostly people in the UK, but there was a "second wave" of backlash which happened when the advert spread more globally.

They continued: "I think the blowback came from the fact that a lot of everyday people took what was sharing a Creme Egg, which was more of a gimmick 'how do you share a Creme Egg' and sexualised it, which is something mainstream media can't deal with."

They added that people are "generally OK" with seeing gay people on TV, but the general public "don't want to see them kissing of touching or doing anything 'gay.'"

Moran, who is the creative director at queer talent agency House of Androgyny, said the contract was gender non-specific; and that "the media and its 'consumers' sexualised the couple sharing the egg, which made it more 'outlandish and shocking' than it was meant to be."

For them the negative response has been so strong that Sterling has been questioning humanity and their religious beliefs, telling PinkNews they are "very open" Christians, and the religious groups who lambasted the couple and commercial left them with a "really bad taste in my mouth in regards to religion."

"It makes me question the religion itself," Callum said. "It's been a real whirlwind on my part."

In response, Cadbury said it has "always been a progressive brand that spreads a message of inclusion, whether it is through its products or brand campaigns."

A spokesperson said in a statement: "We are proud of our Golden Goobilee advert which celebrates the many ways that everyone can enjoy a Cadbury Creme Egg.

"To illustrate this and showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real-life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert."