Kraft Says 'GCB' Ad Pull Was Not Linked to Show's Content

The company behind Philadelphia Cream Cheese says it didn't bend to pressure from the controversy surrounding the new ABC series.
ABC/Karen Real

GCB creator Robert Harling and its cast hoped that controversy over the new ABC series would subside after it premiered, but that hasn't been the case. Now, Kraft Foods tells The Hollywood Reporter that reports about commercials for its Philadelphia Cream Cheese being pulled from the show as a result of the controversy are false.

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“As part of a larger multishow media buy on ABC-TV, there were some spots included in the rotation for the new GCB series,” Kraft says. “It's customary to advertise on premiere episodes due to their large viewership, like Philadelphia Cream Cheese did this week.

“The brand has decided to redirect advertising to other programs with an established audience,” the statement continues. “Although we received a few consumer complaints, this decision was not linked in any way to the content of this particular show.”

It’s hard to tell if the company is backtracking from a statement delivered to TMZ, which omitted words from its statement when it broke the news of the ad pull.

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The site printed the following: “Philadelphia has decided to pull its advertising from GCB. ... We have received a few complaints from consumers, and their opinions about our advertising are important to us."

GCB has suffered under this controversy for months before the show premiered this past week. Originally titled Good Christian Bitches, after the Kim Gatlin novel, it was changed to Good Christian Belles, then finally the acronym.

In the wake of its debut, New York City Councilman Peter Vallone condemned the series for its portrayal of Christians, asking, “Why is it always Christians [who] Hollywood is laughing at?"

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Earlier this week, Vallone called for a boycott of the show in order to force ABC’s hand in pulling the series from the air.

At the most recent TCA, Harling said the show has close ties with Christian leaders who consult it on faith-based issues. He also says that religion is treated with the utmost respect in the series.

“You have to be aware and respectful of faith systems,” the show creator said. “And the fun of it is the characters trying to live within the rules.”

ABC reps have not responded to THR inquiries for comment.

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