Stellantis NV, the company that owns the Jeep brand, pulled a multimillion-dollar Super Bowl ad off of YouTube following news that Bruce Springsteen, the iconic singer and actor who dominated the ad, was arrested late last year and charged with driving while intoxicated.
This seems an ironically fitting end for the Super Bowl ad, entitled “The Middle,” that preached unity but ended up dividing Americans. While Republicans attacked Springsteen’s unity preaching by pointing out the singer’s previous statements demonizing former President Donald Trump, secularists complained because the ad centered on a chapel in the center of the “lower 48” states.
Springsteen is scheduled to appear in federal court later this month. National Park Service rangers had arrested him on November 14 in Gateway National Recreation Area. He faces charges of driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and consuming alcohol in a prohibited area, The Wall Street Journal reported.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate. But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established,” a Jeep spokesperson said. “Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever. As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”
It seems bizarrely fitting that Jeep would pull Springsteen’s ad about unity in order to avoid charges of hypocrisy.
“There’s a chapel in Kansas standing on the exact center of the Lower 48,” Springsteen intones in “The Middle.” “It never closes. All are more than welcome to come meet here — in the middle.”
That chapel features a star-spangled map with a cross on top of it. “It’s no secret the middle has been a hard place to get to lately,” Springsteen says, before preaching against fear, which he says is not “the best of who we are” and freedom, which “belongs to us all.”
While “The Middle” may have a good message, conservatives took issue with the messenger. It seemed oddly convenient for Springsteen to preach unity after Donald Trump — whom The Boss repeatedly demonized.
Before the 2020 election, Springsteen said he would leave the U.S. if Trump won re-election. Also last year, The Boss said that Trump “is a threat to our democracy.” Unsurprisingly, Springsteen endorsed Joe Biden. He called Trump’s presidency a “nightmare.”
Springsteen even composed a poem in which he accused Trump of essentially destroying America. “There’s no art in this White House. There’s no literature, no poetry, no music,” he began. “We are rudderless and joyless. We have lost the cultural aspects of society that make America great. We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness, our cheering on of others, the shared experience of humanity that makes it all worth it.”
“The challenges and the triumphs that we shared and celebrated, the unique can-do spirit that America has always been known for. We are lost. We’ve lost so much in so short a time. On November 3rd, vote them out,” he concluded.
Bruce Springsteen’s unity preaching comes off as shallow, given this history. Yet the Jeep ad also featured the cross-crowned star-spangled U.S. map, which many leftists attacked as a symbol of the kind of Christian nationalism they blamed for the Capitol riot.
Jeep’s Super Bowl ad certainly sparked a conversation, but it seems the company made the right decision in pulling it.
The Middle. pic.twitter.com/dbsgWV35i0
— Bruce Springsteen (@springsteen) February 8, 2021
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.