Guinness Ad Goes Viral: Inclusion or Tokenism?

Early in September, Guinness Beer released a commercial showcasing wheelchair basketball that caught the attention of news outlets throughout the world. If you’ve not seen the commercial, you can view it here (and let us know what you think).

Business Insider calls the commercial “poignant” and The Huffington Post says it will make your heart melt. Other commentaries insist you’ll need a bar napkin to wipe your eyes.

However, among people with disabilities, the reactions are, perhaps unsurprisingly, mixed. “By making the final point about ‘character’ the non-disabled guys take the spotlight and the wheelchair user is placed in a supporting role,” said longtime media and disability advocate Lawrence Carter-Long via Facebook.

But PhotoAbility.net’s founder Deborah Davis holds a different view. “I was moved to tears by the ad,” says Davis, a C6-7 quad. “While I can understand the critics, I do not agree that it was a ‘charity model.’ These guys went through a lot of trouble to do something outside of their realm of comfort … to accommodate a friend so he could continue to enjoy the camaraderie and team sport.”

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