Taking MLK Out of Context and Promoting Military Industrial Complex, Super Bowl Ads Condemned

A number of ads run by NBC during Sunday night’s Super Bowl coverage provoked condemnation on social media, as the network chose to promote a controversial religious group that’s been denounced as a cult by former followers, and use a speech by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to sell cars in the kind of advertisement the civil rights leader had specifically criticized.

During one commercial break, an ad for the Church of Scientology played back-to-back with one for Raytheon, the maker of American missiles, military aircrafts, and drone technology that have led to countless civilian deaths.

The Church of Scientology has been denounced by former members who say they were physically and psychologically abused, separated from their families, and forced to perform arduous labor with little pay by the notoriously secretive group. The organization has promoted an anti-LGBT agenda, having supported California’s anti-marriage equality initiative, Proposition 8, in 2008.

The ad played into the organization’s secrecy, asking viewers if they were “curious” about its inner workings, before answering, “We thought so.”

In addition to the Raytheon-Scientology commercial break, an ad for Fiat Chrysler’s Dodge Ram truck was rebuked for using an excerpt of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech, given exactly 50 years before the Super Bowl.