Party City, one of the nation’s largest party supply stores, has pulled from the air and apologized for a television ad that mocks and shames individuals who eat gluten-free. The ad is clearly insensitive to the millions of Americans who must adhere to a gluten-free diet because they suffer from either celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity. In addition to the retraction and apology, the Celiac Disease Foundation has issued the statement below, and Party City has made a donation to the Foundation to support celiac disease research. Furthermore, Hill Holliday, the agency responsible for creating the commercial for Party City, has promised us their support, and will collaborate with the Foundation and other celiac disease organizations to help raise awareness of this serious, genetic autoimmune disease.

“For the millions of Americans who suffer from celiac disease or non-celiac gluten/wheat sensitivity, strict adherence to a gluten-free diet is not “gross” or funny – it can be a matter of life or death. Celiac disease is a serious, genetic, autoimmune disorder that, if left undiagnosed or untreated, can trigger serious health complications. Unfortunately, because in part of the widespread ignorance about celiac disease, millions remain undiagnosed. We applaud Party City’s immediate recognition of this error in judgement and the offense it caused to the celiac disease and food allergy communities. May Party City’s promise to improve its advertising vetting policies serve as an example for other companies who unintentionally or intentionally trivialize serious, chronic disease. We appreciate Party City’s donation to the Celiac Disease Foundation to advance research for a cure.”

Chief Executive Officer, Marilyn G. Geller, was also featured in a BakeryandSnacks article, as well as an article in SELF regarding the Party City commercial. The ad was pulled by Party City in response to an outcry by the celiac disease community. The Foundation thanks our community for their constant vigilance in the fight against ignorance of one of the world’s most common genetic, autoimmune diseases.

As you probably know, the gluten-free diet is not a cure for celiac disease. For as many as 30% of the celiac disease population, even strict adherence to the gluten-free diet does not eliminate debilitating disease symptoms. We need a cure for celiac disease. You can do your part now by joining the iCureCeliac® patient registry today.

Party City Pulls Offensive Ad and Promises to Support Celiac Disease Research