Jeep said in a statement Wednesday that it pulled a controversial Super Bowl ad featuring Bruce Springsteen from the brand’s social channels, following news that the rocker was charged with drunken driving in his native state of New Jersey several months ago.
Springsteen, 71, was arrested in Gateway National Recreation Area and charged with driving while intoxicated, reckless driving and consuming alcohol in a closed area, according to a statement from Daphne Yun, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service. The New York Times reported that the singer — whom Yun noted was “cooperative throughout the process” — will face federal charges because the arrest took place in Gateway National Recreation Area, a national park.
“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on the details of a matter we have only read about and we cannot substantiate,” a spokesperson for Jeep said in the brand’s statement. “But it’s also right that we pause our Big Game commercial until the actual facts can be established. Its message of community and unity is as relevant as ever. As is the message that drinking and driving can never be condoned.”
According to documents related to Springsteen’s arrest, an officer approached the rock star on Nov. 14 after observing him “consume a shot of Patron tequila and then get on his motorcycle and start the engine.” The report states that “Springsteen claimed that he had two shots” within a 20-minute time span and that the musician “smelt strongly of alcohol coming off his person and had glassy eyes.”
The musician, who refused a preliminary breath test according to the document, was asked to complete several field sobriety tests. The officer statement recalls Springsteen “visibly swaying back and forth” when the officer observed his eyes, and taking “45 total steps instead of the instructed 18” during what’s known as a walk and turn test.
Jeep’s Super Bowl commercial, which has been removed from YouTube and Twitter, was widely panned after it aired Sunday, featuring Springsteen behind the wheel of an iconic Jeep model. “There’s a chapel in Kansas standing on the exact center of the Lower 48. It never closes,” the musician says in the commercial. “All are more than welcome to come meet here: in the middle.”
The ad came as a surprise to many as Springsteen has not been known to promote commercial brands during his multidecade career; he reportedly turned down a lucrative offer from Chrysler in the ’80s. Variety reported that Springsteen only agreed to do his first ad — following years of pitches by executives at Stellantis, Jeep’s parent company — this year. In addition to appearing in the commercial, Springsteen scored the ad with collaborator Ron Aniello.
Washington Post pop music critic Chris Richards was among those lambasting the Boss’s decision. “Despite the healing sound of his voice, Springsteen is ultimately preaching reconciliation without reckoning — which after January’s Capitol siege is no longer an acceptable path toward progress,” Richards wrote.
This post has been updated.
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