A same-sex couple who featured in a TV advert for the chip brand McCain have spoken of their shock at receiving vile homophobic abuse after the advert was aired.
Cheshire couple Lee and Mat Samuels-Camozzi appear with their baby son in McCain's We Are Family advert, which aims to celebrate "the diversity of family life".
"When it comes to normal, what is normal? Normal isn't normal," a narrator says at the beginning of the original 60-second advert, which goes on to showcase a wide range of different family units.
The couple told the BBC last month that they had received homophobic abuse on social media after the advert aired, with one online troll calling them "sick".
The couple said they felt "disheartened" by homophobic responses to their appearance in the advert, but added: "For all the negativity, we had lots of hugely supportive comments."
The 60-second We Are Family advert has since been replaced by two 30-second adverts, one of which does not feature the couple. A spokesperson for the chip brand told The Guardian that this decision was "absolutely not" connected to the pernicious ripples of homophobia that resulted from their appearance in the original advert, of which the company remains proud. The 30-second versions of the advert, created to run in rotation, were simply edited to fit into a shorter time slot.
The spokesperson said: "Our campaign is all about celebrating the diversity of family life and not everybody’s a normal family. There’s only so much you can say in 30 seconds. We’re still promoting them, they’re in the posters and we’ve got them on social media."
McCain also told a viewer on social media that "the advert featuring the two dads has always been a part of our campaign," and "this will continue to be so."
While the advert is currently off air, McCain has confirmed that Lee and Mat and their baby son will return to TV screens next week. In the meantime, you can watch the advert above or check it out on the company's YouTube channel, here.
Ed. note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Lee and Mat Samuels-Camozzi had been removed from the campaign as a direct result of the online abuse they received. A spokesperson for McCain has since clarified that the decision to air the 30-second version of the advert, in which the couple do not feature, was made weeks prior to the initial rollout of the campaign and was in no way a response to the reaction from certain members of the online community. The above has been amended to more accurately reflect the company’s position.