If you watched the Super Bowl last night, you probably noticed a commercial that looked like it was tackling immigration from Mexico head-on before abruptly ending. The tag of the ad from family-owned lumber company 84 Lumber asked viewers to go to a website to “complete the journey.” My reaction was one of incredulity—why would I go to a website to finish your commercial? Just air the whole thing! Don’t make me work for your advertisement, company I’ve never heard of!
Well as it turns out, 84 Lumber did plan on airing the full commercial, but Fox cried foul. The network considered the ad too “controversial” to air during the most-watched television event of the year, and thus 84 Lumber was forced to cut the commercial short and remove the offending footage.
So what, exactly, did Fox not want on its airwaves? Well the commercial is the symbolic story of a mother and her young child making the long, arduous journey to America. In the footage you didn’t see during the Super Bowl, they reach the border only to be greeted by a massive concrete wall. That’s not where it ends—I won’t spoil the full thing because it’s honestly a pretty powerful piece of short filmmaking—but the message is clear: opportunity is being snuffed out.
This is some seriously controversial material for a lumber company, so why did 84 Lumber choose to go this route? 84 Lumber president and owner Maggie Hardie Magerko told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4 the following:
“Ignoring the conversation that’s taking place in the media and at every kitchen table in America didn’t seem right. I believe America is the land of hope and opportunity for everyone, and that goes for all people, no matter who you are, what you believe, or where you’re from. And in this country, that should never be a controversial message.”
That’s certainly fair. Listen, Fox is a for-profit company, so they have the right to choose what does and doesn’t make it to their airwaves, but it does seem a little ridiculous that the same network that’s cool with the graphic torture violence of 24 finds the image of a border wall too “controversial.”