OH BUOY! POPEYE'S GONE GAY; JUICE AD CAUSES STIR
Thu Dec 27 2001 20:06:24 ET
HELLO sailor! Cartoon tough guy Popeye has been outed.
The spinach-guzzling seaman's secret gay affair with arch-rival Bluto is revealed in a controversial new ad. The two sworn enemies are usually depicted fighting for the attention of the lovely Olive Oyl in cartoons and comics.
But in a new ad campaign for orange juice they only have eyes for each other.
Beefy Bluto squeals with joy as he pushes muscle-bound Popeye back and forth on a swing in a children's playground Then the two tough guys lark about on a see-saw before heading off to the beach.
Their new-found affection for each other is sealed when they get the words "Buddies For Life" tattooed on their bulging arms.
Bemused Olive Oyl spots the pair coming towards her on a tandem and tries to catch their attention by striking a sexy pose. But pipe-smoking Popeye and Bluto blank her and ride off into the sunset together.
The ad - by orange juice makers Minute Maid - has outraged moral crusaders in the USA, who claim the cartoon characters are spreading gay propaganda.
Robert Knight, director of the Culture and Family Institute, stormed: "If parents think their children are being targeted by a homosexual campaign, they will switch brands of juice without blinking.
But Cathy Renna from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation found the new gay icons amusing.
She said: "Gay people are raising their eyebrows and winking along with the ad."
Charles Torrey, Minute Maid's marketing director, said the ad was meant to be fun.
He said: "We're certainly not targeting any one group."