DirecTV's new commercials featuring Rob Lowe alongside bizarre alternate versions of himself are being attacked by an organization that claims one of the ads is mocking a serious health problem.
The spot above centers around "Painfully Awkward Rob Lowe," a fanny-pack wearing version of the actor who says he can't "go" with other people around. But the International Paruresis Association says shy bladder is a real phobia, not something to mock.
"We don't mind if people have a little fun with it," Steve Soifer, the organization's CEO, told The Associated Press. "It's a situation that a lot of people don't understand. In this particular case, the portrayal is making it look ridiculous, that this guy is a loser for having a problem."
The organization says 21 million Americans suffer from the condition, which is more formally known as avoidant paruresis.
"Often referred to as Pee-Shy, Shy-Bladder, Bashful Bladder, etc., avoidant paruresis is nothing to be ashamed of," the group says on its website.
Soifer is calling on DirecTV to pull the plug on the commercials, but the provider was pretty direct with its response.
“The ads will continue to run for the vast majority of viewers who have told us they enjoy the spots and understand that, like all of our commercials, they take place in a fantasy world and are not based in reality,” DirecTV spokesman Darris Gringeri told AP.
Lowe himself weighed in on Twitter:
In each case, the real Rob Lowe enjoys DirecTV, while the bizarre versions of him suffer with cable TV.