The Ram's Super Bowl ad features a speech by Martin Luther King Jr., which was originally delivered on Feb. 4, 1968 — just two months before his assassination.
People immediately took to Twitter to point out it was a bad idea to use King's speech to sell cars.
The speech the commercial is titled "The Drum Major Instinct," and addresses the importance of service.
Mother Jones editorial director Ben Dreyfuss pointed out that Martin Luther King Jr.'s estate has tight control over his work, including the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, and has a history of licensing his speeches for TV commercials — much to the criticism of civil rights activists.
Bernice King, who is the youngest child of Martin Luther King Jr., tweeted "no" when asked if his children had allowed the speech to be used in the commercial.
The King Center tweeted that neither the center nor Bernice King approves the use of Martin Luther King Jr.'s words or imagery. The center also tweeted a video of the full speech.
Reporter Kate Aronoff noted that the full text of King's speech includes a critique of conspicuous consumption and car sales.
People pointed out that Fiat Chrysler, which makes the Ram Truck, was sued last year for allegedly discriminating against black managers.
People said the ad was tone deaf.
And made jokes.
Lots of jokes.
"MLK drove a Ram truck?"
"I feel like MLK was more of a Jeep guy."
"I have a dream. That someday my words will be in a Dodge Ram commercial."
But maybe it could've been worse?
Making the rounds Monday was a version of the ad re-cut with a speech MLK Jr. gave about capitalism.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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