ESPN has promised to stop showing an advertisement starring Shaquille O’Neal after gay rights’ advocates complained about its homophobic content. In the clip, ESPN’s Mike Breen asks Shaq for a “fist kiss” in the company’s RV. Shaq, unnerved by the peculiar turn of phrase, angrily declines and backs away. “No fist kiss, no fist love, no fist hump. None of that. You’re a weirdo man. Stay over there. Fist kiss. Disgusting.” ESPN released an apology almost immediately after receiving the complaint.
We have dozens of executions of the “NBA on ESPN RV Tour” online campaign and none are intended to be offensive to anyone or any community of people. Our intent is to send a positive message about the camaraderie of sports and to do so as creatively as we can. However, we understand your perspective on this ad and would like to apologize to the members of the gay community. In addition, we have decided to remove the ad from the campaign’s online executions.
As TMZ noted, the tone of the ad was rather ironic. Not just because ESPN has a good diversity rep, but because Shaq has publicly admitted to enjoying analingus from Kobe Bryant. At least that’s how we heard it.