A gay-themed McDonald's advertisement in France is causing a stir around the globe.
The advertisement, which uses the slogan "Come As You Are", was meant to "recognize the diversity of McDonald's customers in France," a McDonald's Australian spokeswoman told the Sydney Morning Herald.
The ad opens with a closeted young boy talking on the phone with his lover and looking longingly at their class picture. After telling his lover "I miss you too," he quickly hangs up when his father returns with their order.
The father sees the class photo and begins to reflect on his own youth, saying, "You look just like me at your age. Let me tell you, I was quite the ladies' man!"
He then says to his son, "Too bad your class is all boys ... you could get all the girls." The boy wryly smiles to himself, and the advertisement slogan appears on the screen.
Some groups are questioning the rationale behind McDonalds' ad. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly mocked the ad during a segment on his show, asking if the company had an "Al-Qaeda ad?"
But others are trumpeting the ad for its ability to avoid stereotyping.
Rodney Croome, spokesperson for the Australian Coalition for Equality, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the ad was "a refreshingly realistic depiction of a young man who's in a same-sex relationship, who isn't angst-ridden and who is in control of his life even as he faces the question all young gay people face: 'When do I tell my dad?'"
Croome added, "The irony about this ad receiving so much attention is its message is that being gay is just another part of life."
McDonald's brand director in France says the ad simply looks at how French society is today.
"We're very comfortable with the topic of homosexuality, there is obviously no problem with homosexuality in France today," Nathalie Legarlantezec told Yagg.com. "The point was not to show someone who is troubled, especially a teenager. We know it can be difficult for some people, but we wouldn't have dared show someone who is struggling."
But don't expect the controversial ad to make its way to the states just yet. Lisa Howards, McDonalds's director of corporate media relations, told Media Matters that the "Come as You Are" campaign was made exclusively for France.
"The ad you're referencing is one of a series of ads called "Come as You Are," which recognized he diversity of McDonald's customers in France. This particular commercial was produced by McDonald's France and is running only in France," Howards said in the statement. "Each of our Protected content around the world determines their own advertising and marketing."