A Super Bowl ad promoting the independent presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has sparked controversy within the Kennedy family, drawing criticism from members who felt the ad exploited the legacy of their uncle, President John F. Kennedy.
The ad, which aired during the Super Bowl, invoked the image of President Kennedy and other family members to promote Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s political aspirations. However, this move was met with strong disapproval from some members of the Kennedy family, who felt that it misrepresented their family’s values.
Bobby Shriver, the son of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, took to social media to express his dismay. He criticized the ad for using the faces of his uncle and mother, Eunice Kennedy, suggesting that they would have been appalled by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s views on healthcare, particularly his stance on vaccines and health equity. Shriver emphasized that his mother strongly supported initiatives promoting healthcare equity, which stands in contrast to Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
Maria Shriver, former California First Lady and Bobby Shriver’s sister, also reposted the message, indicating her agreement with her brother’s sentiments. Similarly, their brother Mark Shriver expressed his support for the message, asserting that he agreed with it unequivocally.
In response to the criticism, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. issued an apology, expressing regret if the ad had caused pain to his family members. However, he continued to promote the ad on his social media channels, despite the family’s objections.
The ad, a modified version of a campaign video from John F. Kennedy’s 1960 presidential campaign, featured Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in place of his late uncle. While the ad aimed to invoke nostalgia for the Kennedy era, its use of President Kennedy’s image without the family’s approval raised concerns about exploitation and misrepresentation.
The controversy surrounding the ad highlights the tensions within the Kennedy family over Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s political ambitions and his divergence from the family’s political legacy. As Robert F. Kennedy Jr. continues his independent presidential campaign, the rift within the family may deepen, with some members distancing themselves from his candidacy.