Ram’s Super Bowl commercial using Martin Luther King speech prompts backlash

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WATCH ABOVE: Ram truck ad using Martin Luther King Jr. speech draws backlash – Feb 5, 2018

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story mistakenly referred to Ram trucks, which are no longer affiliated with the Dodge brand.

The Super Bowl was bound to rustle up some type of controversy and this year didn’t disappoint.

During a commercial for Ram trucks, the company used a quote and the voice of Martin Luther King.

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But according to the King Center, “neither @TheKingCenter nor @BerniceKing is the entity that approves the use of #MLK’s words or imagery for use in merchandise, entertainment (movies, music, artwork, etc) or advertisement, including tonight’s @Dodge #SuperBowl commercial.”

Many people slammed the company on Twitter for capitalizing on a black icon – especially after President Donald Trump slammed NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem in protest for racial inequality.

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“NFL players blacklisted for kneeling during the national anthem resisting police brutality, but Dodge can use MLK’s voice in an ad to sell trucks during the Super Bowl. JT may not have used a hologram of #PRINCE tonight, but Dodge sure capitalized on a Black icon,” one person wrote on Twitter.

Others said they liked the advertisement – calling it “service orientated” alluding to the fact it was calling people to be better.

Other advertisements were under fire for similar reasons – including T-Mobile.

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Even the halftime show with Justin Timberlake was under fire for using Prince’s image – even though he had said he wasn’t using a hologram of the late legend.

And although they did not necessarily use a hologram, the Super Bowl did project a giant image of Prince performing live behind Timberlake. The headliner played Prince’s “I Will Die 4 U” on the piano, while a moving recreation of Prince performed with him.

Super Bowl LII half time show, featuring a projected image of Prince during Justin Timberlake’s performance. Getty

While some praised the tribute, others said it was inappropriate, since Prince had said he didn’t want a hologram of him, according to a close friend.

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— With a file from the Associated Press

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