A petition on campaigning website CitizenGO is calling for the removal of a Cadbury advert featuring a gay couple sharing a Crème Egg while kissing.
Some say the advert should not feature a gay couple in an Easter advert because it is offensive to Christians, others say the advert is too explicit, regardless of the sexual orientation of the couple.
On the other hand, some people have pointed out that kissing is frequently used between straight couples with far less complaints.
The petition to remove the advert, which has now been signed by 21,000 people, says: "By choosing to feature a same-sex couple, Cadbury's are clearly hoping to cause controversy and escape criticism, by claiming that any objections must be rooted in 'homophobia', but members of the LGBT community have also expressed their dislike of this campaign.
"Cadbury's should not be seeking to hide under cover of LGBT rights to conduct a campaign which sexually objectifies individuals. If the couple in question were heterosexual, the advertisement would likely be prohibited, given the sexually explicit and graphic nature of the kiss."
Catholic campaigner Caroline Farrow, who is running the petition, told Premier: "A kiss can take many forms; this is not a mere peck on the cheek or familial show of affection but rather two adults snogging, using their lips and tongues to exchange the contents of a creme egg in an extremely sexually suggestive fashion.
"It is gross and offputting, regardless of the sex of the participants and given the overtly sexual nature of the kiss, would likely to be banned or censured if the couple were straight. The advert goes further than many soap operas.
She continues: "Many evangelical and Catholic Christians, as well as those of other faiths are likely to be offended by the advert, which deliberately seeks to undermine biblical and traditional Christian teaching about sex and sexuality. It's important that Christians are not rail-roaded into accepting the prevailing liberal orthodoxy and even more important that brands which seek to have broad appeal. from elderly pensioners to vulnerable children, and capitalise on their trusted status, don't let down their customers."
The advert is celebrating 50 years of the Crème Egg and features various people eating Crème Eggs in different ways, such as putting them in a cake, eating them discretely and eating them like egg and soldiers.
A gay couple are seen dancing in a garden and then kissing, sharing a Crème Egg as they kiss, with the voiceover saying: "Sharers? Yeah, we are down with that."
One of the men in the advert, who is with his co-star in real life, replied to the criticism on Instagram: "So it's OK when an advert sexualises a woman to benefit the male gaze and make other women feel inadequate if they do not live up to this beauty standard.
"But it's not OK, in 2021, to have an advert of a multi-racial (strike one) gay couple (strike two) on your screens for 10 seconds (strike three) eating/kissing/sexualised (strike four). Does anyone see how ridiculous this is? Like actual LOL."
Cadbury gave Premier this statement: "Cadbury has always been a progressive brand that spreads a message of inclusion, whether it is through its products or brand campaigns. We are proud of our Golden Goobilee advert which celebrates the many ways that everyone can enjoy a Cadbury Creme Egg. To illustrate this and showcase the joy our products bring, a clip of a real life couple sharing a Cadbury Creme Egg was included in the advert."
Luke Dowding, executive director of One Body One Faith, an LGBT+ inclusive Christian group, told Premier he was delighted there were more LGBT+ people being represented in the media and added: "I think for Christians, perhaps what should be of more concern is the commercialisation of Easter" and that "issues of how chocolate is grown, how farmers are supported, whether chocolate is fairly traded are perhaps bigger issues that Christians might want to focus on."
Speaking about the claim that the product is often bought by children but has an advert which is 'sexually explicit', Dowding said: "I'm not sure the sharing of chocolate or the expression of a kiss could be expressed as 'sexually explicit', regardless of the orientation of the couple but I agree that there is media out there that perhaps is inappropriate for the consumption of children, but it really is down to the parents to decide what they want their children to watch or not watch."
Mike Davidson from the Core Issues Trust, which supports Christians who wish to change their sexual feelings, told Premier this advert was not the biggest problem: "I think there's a great deal that would have to be removed if we want to protect children. I can well understand the need to defend and protect Judeo-Christian values in society, I'm just not sure that easter eggs is the place to do it. Is that really the place where we want to have an argument about what we want to project in terms of the values that are important to us?"
American family group One Million Moms, who advocate for traditional Christian values and say their aim is to "stop the exploitation of our children, especially by the entertainment media" is encouraging its members to boycott Cadbury's Crème Egg to avoid the advert reaching American TV.
The group wrote: "You might not like how the company celebrates the risen Saviour.
"Cadbury makes a huge push to sell its Crème Eggs in America during the Easter season each year. A portion of each sale goes to help finance Cadbury's social agenda that has nothing to do with chocolates and candies.
"If U.S. sales are strong, Cadbury just might bring this ad to American televisions for your children to see."
The CitizenGO petition claims: "Cadbury's are well aware of the religious significance of Easter. Therefore, they are trying to cause gratuitous offence to members of the Christian community during the most important feast in their calendar."
The petition will be sent to Guy Parker, chief executive of the Advertising Standards Agency and Louise Stigant, managing director of Cadbury UK.