John Lewis has said it has a duty of care to protect the cast of their new Christmas advert from racist trolling.

The retailer said it’s “fine with [them]” for people not to like the film, but that “doesn’t excuse the racist responses we’ve seen from a minority.”

The new two-minute advert, Unexpected Guest, tells the story of a young boy befriending a space traveller who landed in the woods beside his home.  The heartwarming film shows the boy introducing his new friend to his family’s festive traditions.

However, the advert received backlash from trolls as some branded it “too woke” for featuring a Black family.

Others have threatened to boycott the retailer, with one Twitter user saying: “British white people are not aliens.”

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Since being uploaded to YouTube, the video has received more than 4,200 thumbs down.

In a statement to indy100, a spokesperson said: “Our advert celebrates the moments that make Christmas special.

“While many viewers love it, some don’t, and that’s fine with us but that doesn’t excuse the racist responses we’ve seen from a minority.

“We’re proud of our ad and we don’t tolerate any form of racism or discrimination.

“We always cast widely for the lead roles and we choose our actors on merit.”

Ahead of the ad’s release, the brand, known for its tear-jerking festive films, vowed to stand by the cast.

Speaking to Metro, John Lewis customer director Claire Pointon said they have a “duty of care” to those in the advert, adding that they wanted to represent “a modern Britain” as that’s their consumer base.

Pointon added: “I think it’s shocking when you get that [racist abuse] and unfortunately you do get racist abuse on certain stuff.

“We have a duty of care and we would always take that [racist abuse] very seriously as a brand.”

Sainsbury’s had to deal with similar backlash last year when it was criticised for featuring a Black family in one of their Christmas adverts.

Responding at the time, Sainsbury’s tweeted: “At Sainsbury’s, we want to be the most inclusive retailer. That’s why, throughout all our advertising we aim to represent a modern Britain, which has a diverse range of communities. We have three stories of three different families in our advertising.”

This isn’t the first time in recent weeks John Lewis has made headlines (the retailer John Lewis, not this guy).

In a now-pulled John Lewis home insurance ad, a clip of a little boy tearing through a house while wearing a dress was branded “misogynistic” by some. The advert was eventually pulled for being “potentially misleading” as it could have caused confusion over what the insurance covers.

To explore John Lewis Christmas adverts throughout time, check out our list.

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