Honda is apparently guilty of not knowing how to Google something.
If someone representing the brand had bothered to Google, “Are people with narcolepsy allowed to drive?” they would have found out pretty easily that the disorder does not automatically preclude someone from driving.
Instead, the company went ahead and shot an ad for the Honda Fit, which implied that if you suffer from narcolepsy, the car is “not fit for you.”
Julie Flygare, author of “Wide Awake and Dreaming: A Memoir of Narcolepsy,” started a Change.org petition
, calling for the company to remove the ad.
Due to inaccurate unoriginal portrayals of narcolepsy like this, people with narcolepsy are subject to bullying, ridicule and discrimination in the classroom and the workplace. Honda's press release states that the advertisement "taps into the resourcefulness of Gen Y, showcasing a unique cast of characters and the ability of the Fit to handle whatever life throws at them." Apparently, except narcolepsy. In truth, people with narcolepsy are the ones overcoming adversity daily and handling whatever life throws at them - including undue ridicule.
Honda has since taken down the ad and said it will not air on TV. The company issued the following statement:
In a series of ads for the 2015 Honda Fit, the company attempted to demonstrate how the Fit answers the needs of the customer in a very direct, yet humorous way. One ad in particular addressed narcolepsy in a manner that is insensitive. We have heard from those with the disorder and understand their concerns with our positioning of narcolepsy within the ad.
To that end, Honda has pulled the ad from its YouTube channel and will not air the ‘Synth in Seattleites’ ad with any reference to narcolepsy on television. We apologize to those who are living with and managing this disorder each day. Please know that Honda did not intend to hurt those affected by the condition.