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That Viral Tubi Superbowl Commercial Had Some Real-life Consequences That Can’t Be Ignored

The real-life consequences were not funny

Tubi's viral commercial during the 2023 Superbowl

For some fun-loving households, Tubi’s viral Superbowl commercial was likely one of the hilarious highlights of the night. But in a society where domestic abuse is on the rise, the commercial left some families rattled.

For those who may have missed it, on February 11, Tubi aired a Superbowl commercial which made it convincingly seem as if someone was changing the channel. The commercial begins with the game commentators appearing on the screen, seemingly marking the end of the commercial break. However, a menu then arises from the bottom of the screen. “Someone” clicks on and opens the Tubi App and scrolls through several streaming titles. After several seconds, the Tubi logo comes on, revealing that it was just a commercial.

The commerical was so realistic, it really did give the appearance of someone grabbing the remote and changing the channel on those watching the Superbowl. The ad quickly went viral as users admitted to falling for the prank. It can’t be denied that it was a pretty unique marketing ploy that attracted lots of attention. For most viewers, it likely caused momentary confusion, and then laughter, as they puzzled over how the channel changed suddenly. For victims of domestic abuse, however, the commercial could have had a very different outcome.

Social media users quickly began sharing examples of how scary the situation turned as some partners, parents, restaurant-goers, etc. instantly flew into a rage because they believed someone had touched the remote. Most videos seemed to depict men flying into a rage and instantly taking out their anger on their wives or children. Some reactions that users shared because they thought they were funny were actually very scary and shocking to see.

The real-life consequences of Tubi’s commercial

One very scary example of the consequences of Tubi’s commercial surfaced on Reddit shortly after the game. One post in the r/offmychest community that quickly went viral is titled, “I broke up with my boyfriend over the Tubi Super Bowl Commercial.” The post paints a deeply disturbing picture of one women’s boyfriend’s reaction to the commercial. The 23-year-old female revealed that her 25-year-old boyfriend began “violently” screaming at her and calling her things that she refused “to even write down” because they were so awful. He also punched a hole in the wall and ignored her attempts to explain it was a commercial. She felt so unsafe after the incident that she left the next morning. Sadly, her parents and Redditors downplaying her boyfriend’s abusive episode left her second-guessing her appropriate (and potentially life-saving) decision to leave.

Other scary stories and reactions surfaced. One TikToker revealed that she didn’t find the commercial “funny” after getting yelled at by an entire crowd of people at a bar.

Actual footage of some explosive reactions also surfaced on social media. In one particularly disturbing video, one man begins screaming, “Hey, what are you doing?!” at the top of his lungs, causing the entire household to visibly jump in fear. He rushes to the couch and begins screaming at people to get up, as they fearfully shrug or hold up their hands to prove they don’t have the remote.

Some users even implicated themselves as they shared their reactions to the commercial. Many revealed that their first reaction was to begin “flipping out,” yelling, and hurling insults and threats at everyone in the room. What’s sad is that many seemed to fully believe their reactions were “funny” and appropriate responses to a minor inconvenience.

Domestic abuse rates are known to rise during sporting events

Some users tried to defend Tubi, as a commercial is not a valid excuse for anyone flying into an abusive rage. However, there is evidence that Tubi could have anticipated some of these reactions. TikTok user @mel.on.medicine pointed out that statistics and research has found that instances of domestic violence are much more likely to occur during major sporting events. These statistics aren’t new—these studies are from 2011 to 2021. The studies found that in certain instances, such as a national sports team losing, reports of domestic abuse increased by as much as 38%. Each study found an increase in domestic abuse rates, reports, and phone calls to domestic abuse hotlines during sporting events.

TikTok user @aurora…star also highlighted these statistics, while explaining that anyone who has been in an abusive situation knows full well that a 15-second joke is more than enough to spark an abusive and/or violent outburst. She also brought up that restaurant workers were endangered by the commercial. Some bartenders reported getting screamed at and having drinks thrown in their face as whole bars of intoxicated men blamed them for changing the channel.

We really need to talk about this Tubi commercial

Much of the discourse on social media has changed from joking about the commercial to questioning how Tubi thought that it was a good idea, knowing that domestic abuse rates are already on the rise and the tension that sporting events bring. So far, the company has not responded to the criticism, nor has it apologized as reports of domestic abuse arising from the commercial continue to surface. It’s important to continue to raise awareness for the turmoil that the commercial caused to ensure that no other company gets the idea to employ such a marketing technique and endanger more people.

It’s also important to keep the conversation going. Unfortunately, as stories surrounding the Tubi ad continue to arise, there are social media users, friends, and even parents trying to downplay the seriousness of an individual exploding over a 15-second commercial. Many are also trying to normalize or excuse men screaming, punching walls, and turning violent because they are so “into” a game. In doing so, they are becoming a large part of the reason why people remain trapped in abusive relationships and struggle to leave. The woman who posted her story to Reddit highlighted exactly what’s wrong with society as she detailed her parents being angrier at her for “overreacting” than they were concerned that their daughter was verbally abused and nearly physically attacked because her boyfriend thought she touched a remote.

There is absolutely no excuse for any individual to scream at, threaten, or become physically violent towards their partner, family, or children because of a game that will have zero impact on their personal life. Anyone who witnessed a scary reaction to the Tubi commercial should consider it as a major red flag and not take it lightly. Even if it hadn’t been a commercial, no one should have to fear for their life for something as simple as changing a channel as a harmless joke or accidentally pressing a button on a remote. Let’s stop excusing this behavior and start raising awareness for domestic abuse. That a 15-second commercial could spark so many disturbing incidents shows clearly that domestic abuse is a very real and very scary problem in society. It’s time start to holding abusers accountable.

(featured image: Fox)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.