Super Bowl News
Dallas bar's presence in Super Bowl ad about Jesus sparks controversy
The good news: A Dallas bar was featured in an ad on the Super Bowl. The bad news: Not everyone liked it.
Lee Harvey’s, the dive bar in Dallas' Cedar District, got national exposure when it was featured in a Super Bowl commercial on February 11 for He Gets Us, a religious advertising campaign that launched in 2022 with a goal to “rediscover and share the compelling story of Jesus’ life in a new way," according to their website.
The group seems to like sports; they advertised during the 2023 Super Bowl and their ads have run during major league baseball games, as well.
The 2024 game had two ads, created by Dallas ad agency Lerma: a 60-second spot in the first quarter and a 15-second spot in the second half.
Lee Harvey’s appeared in the second commercial. Titled “Who is my Neighbor?”, the ad spotlighted dramatic shots of an assortment of characters, including a biker-esque man smoking inside Lee Harvey’s, a gender non-conforming person, and a homeless person asking for money.
The bar crowed about its moment of fame in a Facebook post.
“In case you missed it, your friendly neighborhood bar, Lee Harvey’s, was featured in the HeGetsUs.com commercial during the Super Bowl,” they wrote.
Almost immediately, the post generated a slew of comments, some positive but many negative from members and allies of the LGBTQ community, who pointed out that the He Gets Us campaign is notoriously anti-LGBTQ.
“You do realize these commercials are sponsored by the Hobby Lobby family,” one person commented on the post. “The most intolerant wealthy family around. The same family that donates money to politicians that are taking our rights away. Unfortunate.”
(According to their website, one of the campaign's backers is David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby.)
Another said they wouldn’t be supporting the Dallas bar anymore: “Well I guess you won’t get any more of my business for helping to support a hate group!”
Others weren’t thrilled with a religious organization spending millions of dollars to purchase a Super Bowl commercial in the first place. “‘I was hungry and you spent $7 million on a Super Bowl commercial’ - Jesus,” one person quipped.
"Wow not something I'd let anyone know," said another, followed by a handful of comments asking “Why?” or simply saying “WTF” in all caps.
It wasn’t all bad news—some Facebook users appreciated the commercial, as well as the local bar’s place in it.
Regarding the anti-LGBTQ commentary, one person pulled from the He Gets Us website to defend the campaign, saying that they publicly support the queer community.
“These are probably the most common questions we receive. And we understand why. Many of those who represent Jesus have made people in the LGBTQ+ community feel judged and excluded. And others in the Jesus community have simply ignored their stories and lived experiences,” the campaign’s website states on its About Us page. “So let us be clear in our opinion. Jesus loves gay people and Jesus loves trans people."
The bar eventually turned off comments, but not before one summarized it most wisely: "The first rule of Public Relations is: ALL press is good press. Congratulations on being in an ad during the biggest event of the year!"