UK retailer John Lewis has been slammed for their new “woke” Christmas advert featuring a black teenager who falls in love with a white androgynous space alien.
The release of the yearly Christmas advert from John Lewis, the department store, has almost become a tradition in the UK over the past decade, with high production budgets determined to warm the hearts of the British public. However, this year’s advert, known as “Unexpected Guest,” has fallen flat with many, deriding it for being too “woke” and not feeling Christmassy enough.
The advert features a black teenager, Nathan, discovering a crashed ship with a white alien called Skye, who while played by a girl, is depicted in an extremely androgynous manner, and has been described by viewers as nonbinary.
Nathan then introduces his white, Alien friend to “Christmas traditions,” including eating mince pies and Christmas trees. Skye and Nathan eventually share a kiss while a cover of “Together in Electric Dreams” by Philip Oakley and Giorgio Moroder plays in the background, before Skye has to leave the planet once again.
Unsurprisingly, the Christmas advert received a severe backlash on social media from ordinary members of the British public. Many complained that the advert was simply designed to tick racial diversity boxes, only featuring one white person.
Some threatened boycotts against the store, while others said that it was boring and had no relation to Christmas or its celebration at all:
— Laurence Fox (@LozzaFox) November 4, 2021
The dreary John Lewis Christmas ad proving once again that this ridiculously right-on department store is never knowingly underwoke.
— Kevin O’Sullivan (@TVKev) November 4, 2021
Enough is enough… I can’t buy another thing from the woke @JohnLewisRetail
— Teresa (@teresadg0) November 4, 2021
And let’s not forget , what Christmas was all about .. the birth of the baby Jesus old fashioned view I know. But there we have it.
— mo (@mo98241081) November 4, 2021
The John Lewis ad is about right, whitey treated like aliens in our country now
A black family being the main players round the Xmas table
You couldn’t have even got a bet on that , nailed on FFS
— stoney63 (@stoney632) November 4, 2021
Not the best this year unfortunately. Often I get a tear in my eye but not this time. Not sure about an alien and there was very little family warmth.
— Andrew (@heland001) November 4, 2021
I regularly shop in John Lewis / Waitrose & it looks like they’re out of step with their Christmas ad. as this is not what I see-
Turning every family in the UK into mixed race does not reflect the facts.
Ticking boxes again?@JohnLewisRetail
— Patricia (@Patricia344130) November 4, 2021
GB News breakfast presenter Simon McCoy slammed the advert shortly after its release, saying that it came off as “a little bit box-ticky,” adding that it was yet another example of political correctness going “absolutely” mad.
“The only white face you see is the alien. I’m sorry, but it seems to me we’re going down a road where some people will not be entirely comfortable,” he added, rightly predicting that the advert would “cause a bit of a fuss this year.”
David Buik, markets commentator at Aquis Exchange, further noted that the advert cost a whopping £8 million pound to produce, slamming the company for wasting such a large amount of money during difficult times. “The John Lewis Partnership lost several million pounds this year, and made the best part of 4,000 people redundant,” Buik said.
“Just because they’ve had a reputation over the years for producing these extremely exaggerated and enjoyable adverts, this is not the year to be doing it.”
In a statement, John Lewis claimed that the young cast was facing “racist abuse” as a result of the advert. “We have a duty of care and we would always take that [racist abuse] very seriously as a brand,” said John Lewis customer director, Claire Pointon, but gave no evidence of any such abuse occurring. Pointon added that John Lewis wanted the advert to “represent a modern Britain, quite frankly, and that’s our customer base.”
This is not the first time that an advert from John Lewis has been accused of being woke. Only last month, the store came under fire for a home insurance advert featuring a young boy who trashed his house while wearing a dress and makeup, and were subsequently accused of encouraging young children to experiment with their gender, in a time when concerns by parents of radical transgender activists influencing their children are growing. The advert was ironically pulled last week by the British Financial Conduct Authority for being “misleading.”