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Gillette has a new ad out condemning ‘toxic masculinity’ — and it’s sparking a backlash

Gillette headquarters in Boston.
Gillette headquarters in Boston.(Jodi Hilton/Getty Images/file)

Razor-maker Gillette has put out a powerful new ad urging men to be an example for compassion and respect in the age of #MeToo — and it’s sparking a backlash.

The ad from the company, which is owned by Procter & Gamble and headquartered in Boston, uses its decades-old tagline, “The Best a Man Can Get,” to question “toxic masculinity” and urge today’s generation of men to demonstrate values of respect, accountability, and role-modeling, according to a press release.

“Is this the best a man can get, is it?” a narrator asks as images depicting sexual harassment and bullying are shown.

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“We can’t hide from it, it’s been going on far too long. We can’t laugh it off,” the narrator continues, with one scene highlighting a familiar refrain that has been used to explain away hurtful behavior: “Boys will be boys.”

The ad urges men to call out other men when they witness bad behavior, and closes with some examples of accountability and role-modeling: A man stops his friend from making objectifying comments toward women, a father intervenes when two boys get into a fight, and a man mediates an argument between two other men, resulting in the two shaking hands.

In the press release announcing the new campaign, a P&G executive said the ad was aimed at influencing the next generation.

“Gillette believes in the best in men,” said Gary Coombe, president of P&G Global Grooming. “By holding each other accountable, eliminating excuses for bad behavior, and supporting a new generation working toward their personal ‘best,’ we can help create positive change that will matter for years to come.”

But the campaign is sparking a backlash on Twitter and elsewhere from those who said it paints all men with the same broad brush.

Many used the hashtag #boycottgillette and said they would purchase shaving products from the company’s competitors. Though it had racked up more than 3 million views on YouTube since its publication Sunday, the ad had more than 250,000 “dislikes” by YouTube users.

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Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.