Fox Rejects Mickey Rooney’s Butt for Super Bowl Ad

Canned: Fox rejects Rooney Super Bowl ad (ESPN)

Nicollette Sheridan’s back before Monday Night Football: yes, though even that pregame spot sparked apologies galore. Mickey Rooney’s backside in a Super Bowl ad: no. Especially not after Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at last year’s Super Bowl .

Fox has rejected a proposed ad for Airborne, a natural cold remedy, that reveals the 84-year-old’s rear end, USA Today reported Friday. In the spot, the veteran movie star freaks out when someone coughs behind him in a sauna — jumping up, screaming and heading for the door, with his towel slipping in the confusion and baring his backside for about two seconds, according to the newspaper. “Our standards department reviewed the ad and it was deemed inappropriate for broadcast,” Lou d’Ermilio, spokesman for Fox Sports, told USA Today.

Although there’s nudity involved, Airborne co-owner Rider McDowell categorized the commercial as harmless. “It’s tantamount to showing a baby’s bottom,” he told the newspaper, expanding on his statement that there’s “nothing sexual about the ad.” Rooney concurred, releasing a statement that included the following: “There’s nothing sensual about the brief exposure of my backside, and it’s not gratuitous. … It’s a fun spot, and the public deserves to see it.”

No, it doesn’t.

Update: Butt out: Fox nixes Super Bowl backside ad (USA Today)

Fox has rejected a Super Bowl ad featuring a Mickey Rooney wardrobe malfunction.A year after Janet Jackson’s breast brought a crackdown on indecency, Fox has rejected an ad for the Super Bowl offering a rare view of another celeb: Mickey Rooney’s backside.

In the spot for Airborne, a natural cold remedy, the 84-year-old star of such 1940s staples as National Velvet and the Andy Hardy films is in a sauna when someone behind him coughs. He overreacts, jumps up, screams and heads for the door. In his rush, his towel drops, baring his buns for about two seconds.
Rooney, who was planning a Super Bowl party, says in a statement he’s angry. He wanted to be the butt of this joke: “What we’re selling here is something I really believe in, which is an awareness of the germs we’re all exposed to. There’s nothing sensual about the brief exposure of my backside, and it’s not gratuitous. … It’s a fun spot, and the public deserves to see it.”


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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Eric says:

    You have much too high an opinion of the public.

  2. LJD says:

    I really don’t want to see any old man’s ass while I’m eating my nachos.

    Just the same, it’s funny how we assign different values to an old man’s ass, versus a baby’s, versus a supermodel’s. (Alhtough i have great preference for the former)

    I don’t know which is worse, that some see it as a big deal, or that some use it to promote a product totally unrelated- for the shock effect.

    So many hangups…

  3. McGehee says:

    Just the same, it’s funny how we assign different values to an old man’s ass, versus a baby’s, versus a supermodel’s. (Alhtough i have great preference for the former)

    I’d kind of prefer the supermodel’s, but that’s just me. And I wouldn’t want any of them on broadcast television.

  4. Myopist says:

    Please, gentlemen. Why should I look at a supermodel’s backside when God has given us women’s volleyball? (scroll down)


    PS: I will grant you, they can be much thinner; but they’re healthy.

  5. McGehee says:

    I stand corrected. Or at least, I will. In a minute or two…

  6. dood says:

    haha, Thank You FOX for sparing the public the display of such “filth”

    Look on the bright side Airborn, you’ll get alot more than your 15 seconds of publicity now.

  7. Cathy Kille says:

    If you or I exposed our bare backsides in public, we would be arrested for indecent exposure, and if we did it where we know children would see it, we would also be charged with a form of child molestation. What gives Rooney the right to do what we can’t do? Celeb status? Big ad revenues? Freedom of speech does not equal freedom of cheeks. What a shame that Rooney, whose entire career was based on wholesomeness, would whore himself for some attention and a few bucks. Pathetic pervo. The cold remedy Airborne is trying to hawk a remedy for a malady that is primarily one of the nose. Who thought it would be a great idea to associate their customers’ nose with an 84-year-old man’s butt? Hmm. The only things I would be motivated to spend money on after witnessing such a sight are a chuck bucket, psychological services, and pencils with which to gouge out my own eyes. Mickey says we deserve to see it. What horrible crime did we commit to deserve that? Mickey R., save it for Michael J.

  8. Clarence Dodds says:

    I think that it’s disgusting for owners or manafacturing companys to use sex,nudity and filthy langauge to try and promote thier products. I know that I’ll turn the chanel just as soon as your add comes on and for sure that I will not buy your products. I pray that if you are allowed to show that comercial on tv that the FCC slaps a multi millon dollar fine on you. There is to much smut & trash allowed already for young children to see; no wonder theres so many young kids in trouble nowdays.

  9. Clarence Dodds says:

    I wish to thank FOX Network for refusing to air this add on national TV. It’s good to see someone out there has moral values and not just out for the all mightly dollar.

  10. Michelle Hotchkiss-Krug says:

    A response to Clarence Dodds’ post. FOX is the same network that brought you shows like “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” and “Who’s Your Daddy?” Moral standards are the only thing NOT found at FOX.

  11. Super Bowl says:

    I think it’s rediculas not to accept a super bowl ad that shows Mickey Rooney’s backside now it’s geting out of hand. I support NFL football but TV and FCC are just not right i know i will be buying super bowl tickets and attending the game no matter what and where the super bowl game be played.