Awards Season

Emmy Viewers Were Appalled by a "Tone-Deaf" Booze Ad Featuring Anthony Bourdain

Anthony Bourdain's fans called the Emmy ad exploitative and a "really bad choice."

The late Anthony Bourdain had already received posthumous awards in the Creative Arts Emmy awards a week ahead of last night's Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony — where the beloved Parts Unknown host was also remembered in an "in memoriam" segment. But less than an hour after that montage ran, scotch manufacturer Balvenie ran an ad featuring Bourdain than enraged his fans.

In the new commercial, Bourdain says that it's “not always a great idea to follow your passion if you’re passionate about something you’ll never be good at.” But he encourages people to pursue their passions if "you can do something unique that will shock and astound and terrify people and bewitch them.” The ad ends with the brand message, “And so you did. We’re proud to have shared your journey.”

Twitter was not pleased.

In a report that calls the ad "tone deaf," Eater notes that Bourdain became a spokesperson for the scotch brand three years ago, occasionally appearing in online videos created "with input from Bourdain, in the style of one of his TV shows, with minimal brand call-outs. The YouTube description for 'The Balvenie Honors Anthony Bourdain' indicates that the Emmys ad was cobbled together from old Raw Craft videos."

Not all responded negatively to the ad; Esquire, for instance, sincerely called it "heartbreaking" immediately after airing. Watch the spot here and decide for yourself:

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