Dodge's Super Bowl Commercial Featuring Speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Draws Backlash

Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Ala.

A Dodge commercial aired during Sunday night’s (Feb. 4) Super Bowl LII that featured the voice of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. and many viewers are not happy.

Using King’s “Drum Major Instinct” speech that was originally delivered in 1968, the ad for Chrysler’s Dodge Ram Trucks showed various scenes of individuals utilizing the famed vehicle in what was meant to be an inspirational spot about service and working together, while King’s speech played in the background.

Promoting the vehicle’s “built to serve” tagline, many viewers, including family members of King’s, found the use of his speech to help sell cars was crossing a line.

The move was immediately condemned by King’s youngest daughter Bernice and his family on Twitter through The King Center, which was founded by his widow Coretta Scott King to educate on nonviolence.

“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,” they tweeted.

Many other viewers on Twitter slammed the commercial as well, calling it insensitive and dishonorable to King’s legacy.

To see the ad in full, watch below.

Super Bowl 52