The mother of a young boy who starred in a John Lewis advert has blasted the online trolls who have sent her family abuse in reaction to the advert.
In the ad called “Let Life Happen”, nine-year-old Reggie Parker plays a young boy who is dressed in his mum’s clothing, makeup and jewellery and begins to dance around his house to Stevie Nicks’ “Edge of Seventeen” and causing chaos in his path.
It was a light-hearted and endearing advert but not everyone felt this way and in response, some Twitter users complained that the young boy making a mess was an example of toxic masculinity and male entitlement.
Now Reggie’s mother, Sam Parker is speaking out and has said she is “disgusted” at trolls sexualising her son.
”I am shocked it has caused so much controversy,” Sam told theDaily Mail. “It’s laughable, how can anyone be so upset and offended over something fun and innocent?”
The mum-of-two added: “I’ve read comments from people with old fashioned mindsets who don’t want to see a boy in a dress.
“I’ve seen ridiculous comments saying his ‘behaviour’ is destructive and spoilt – he is acting in an advert for home insurance.
“But what disgusts me are complaints saying the advert is sexualising Reggie, with lipstick and ‘provocative’ dance moves.”
“If you see something sexual in an advert with a young boy - you have a problem,” she said.
Such was the sheer volume of abuse directed towards the advert, John Lewis provided a response to the claims of toxic masculinity and sexism - but doesn’t directly address the anti-LGBT+ trolling.
“At John Lewis, we believe in children having fun and that’s why we chose this playful storyline for our latest advert,” they said.
“It’s designed to show the young actor getting carried away with his dramatic performance. He is not willfully damaging his home and is unaware of the unintentional consequences of his actions.”
Many of you have contacted us regarding the thinking behind our latest Home Insurance advert. Please find our respo… https://t.co/3QOma8tqt1
— John Lewis & Partners (@John Lewis & Partners)
Although Reggie himself is aware of some of the hateful backlash, he is taking it all in his stride.
The nine-year-old said: “I’m not transgender, but even if I was what would it matter?
“It’s just a boy dressing up and having fun. It’s over the top as it’s supposed to be funny.
“Even if I was transgender or gay it doesn’t make me who I am or change my performance.
He added: “I like the LGBTQ world, but actually it shouldn’t be a thing and everyone should live in one world. A person is a person.”
A John Lewis spokesperson praised Reggie as a “brilliantly talented young actor” and apologised that he has been “subjected to negative comments online”
“We have been speaking to Sam, Reggie’s mum, to make sure we support her and Reggie with anything they need, as well as reassuring them of the many positive comments from customers who love the advert.”