Saturday, February 2, 2013

Mercedes-Benz Super Bowl Commercial Links Freemasonry to Satan

Tomorrow, during the fourth quarter of the television broadcast of the Super Bowl, Mercedes-Benz will officially unveil its commercial for the all-new CLA-class automobile. It’s a terrific commercial. Unfortunately, it also is a monumental libel upon Freemasonry.

You can see the commercial for yourself here. The commercial features the talented Willem Dafoe (shown above) in a great turn as Satan.

No, Dafoe’s character is never actually named Satan, but the soundtrack features the Rolling Stones’ “Sympathy for the Devil” (available here with lyrics in the notes). More to the point, Dafoe’s character presents the protagonist with a contract to sign, a contract which has already been executed under the seal of “the Master of Devils and Demons” (translating the Latin, seen below). No reasonable person could see the commercial and think that Dafoe’s character is anyone other than Satan or one of his minions.

Here’s the thing: Satan is depicted as wearing a Masonic ring—on his left ring finger, yet!—easily visible at several points in the commercial, some of which feature close-up shots of Satan’s hands (two shown below).


(The pointy fingernails, à la the Devil in the film Rosemary’s Baby, are an especially nice touch, don’t you think?)

The implication is clear: Mercedes-Benz links Freemasonry to Satan. (Yes, I know, this particular ring shows that the Devil hasn’t gotten very far in Masonry, but that’s not the point.)

There are, of course, those who would say we should just ignore this in the spirit of good fun. Except that it’s not good fun to have to answer to people who think that Freemasons are devil-worshipping Satanists.

Last Wednesday night, I attended the Special Communication of the American Lodge of Research, at Masonic Hall, in New York City. (Facebook page here.) Those in attendance heard a paper on the topic, “Freemasonry and the Holocaust,” by Brother C. Moran (which will appear later this year in the published Proceedings). During the presentation, I was struck by the parallels between the situation of the German Masons in the 1930’s, and our Masonic situation today.

To a surprisingly large extent, these Masons faced the same outrageous accusations that Masons today are faced with: that Masonry is an international conspiracy, and so forth. The Taxil hoax occurred only about forty years or so before the Nazis came to power, and many people throughout Europe believed that Masons worshipped Lucifer. Sound familiar? All of this helped to create a climate where thousands of thousands of German and other European Masons would be imprisoned in concentration camps—and many murdered—by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
There are three things you can do to make your displeasure known:

1. Tell Mercedes-Benz Your Thoughts

The Mercedes-Benz people, knowingly or not, are perpetuating a dangerous myth by linking Freemasonry with Satan. I think we should complain about this—in great numbers. The following is the text of the e-mail that I am sending to Mercedes-Benz through their online comment form and the Facebook pages for Mercedes-Benz and Mercedes-Benz USA. (The latter page, incidentally, allows you to comment specifically about the commercial.) Feel free to adapt it for your own comment, if you wish:

For the 2013 Super Bowl, Mercedes-Benz sponsored a television commercial, titled “Soul,” about the new CLA. It features a character portraying Satan, who clearly wears a Masonic ring in plain sight on his left ring finger.

This linking of Freemasonry to Satan is no joke. It was rumors like this that set the stage for the imprisonment and murders of thousands of Freemasons in Europe by Nazis during the Holocaust. The false rumor that Freemasons worship Satan is alive and well among millions of Americans today. Mercedes-Benz is adding fuel to the fire of that defamation with this television commercial.

Surely, to sell cars, Mercedes-Benz would not jokingly link Jews to Satanism (another popular rumor during the Nazi era). It would be good to not jokingly link Freemasons to Satanism either.

There are over a million Masons in the United States. Every single one of them is old enough to purchase and drive a car. None of them is pleased about this.


Mark Koltko-Rivera
Master Mason
Winter Park Lodge #239 Free and Accepted Masons (Florida)
The American Lodge of Research (New York)

Incidentally, the Mercedes-Benz Twitter handle is @MercedesBenz . I just tweeted them this: "@MercedesBenz: Why did you go out of your way to defame the #Freemasons in your #SuperBowl ad?" Why not drop Mercedes-Benz a tweet yourself?

2. Tell the Advertising Agency Your Thoughts

The people who produced the ad (and made the decisions about what rings Willem Dafoe would be wearing) and who placed the ad in the Super Bowl, and who rung up big billings doing all of this, are the advertising agency, Omnicom Groups' Merkley + Partners.
As of late Saturday night, Merkley+Partners is not sounding especially contrite. This is how they responded to one person (Ms. Jacquie Carson) who took issue with the ad on their Facebook page:
"We always strive to create advertising that’s consistent with both our agency and client values, and we believe the 2013 Mercedes Superbowl commercial delivers on that promise. It is our position that this commercial is simply a fun, exciting and innovative piece of advertising with the core objective of promoting a vehicle, and has no intention of insulting or offending anyone."

So, Merkley+Partners implies (however unintentionally) that misrepresenting Freemasonry as Satanic is consistent with their agency's and their client's values. Beyond that, it doesn't matter to them in the slightest that many Masons, their friends, and their families are insulted and offended by their ad: everything's fine, because they had "no intention of insulting or offending anyone."
What baloney. These guys deserve our greatest disdain, and they deserve to have that disdain made crystallinely clear. So let's do just that.
The advertising agency's Facebook page is here, and this is one way to reach them directly. Other ways include their postal address and telephone number: 
200 Varick Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10014
Tel. 212-805-7500

You can also contact specific individuals by e-mail:

Mr. Rob Moorman
Chief Marketing Officer

Julia Zak
Assistant Media Planner

3. Tell the Advertising Industry Media Your Thoughts

The advertising business loves to hear about how the public perceives advertising. No ads get more attention, of course, than those on the Super Bowl.

As it happens, the industry paper Adweek has proclaimed the Mercedes-Benz ad one of the top ten ads of the Super Bowl. Adweek's website for this ad has a comment space, too. Why don't you tell them how you feel about the Mercedes-Benz ad?

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(12:20 a.m. ET, Superbowl Sunday) There is now a petition on, asking Mercedes-Benz to remove the Masonic ring from the ad. You may sign that petition here.

(11:49 p.m. ET Sat. 1/2) This topic has surely struck a nerve--1600+ pageviews of this post in eight hours!--but the real news worth sharing is that, as I had feared, the wild and wooly sector of the conspiracy community has latched on to the Mercedes-Benz ad as a legitimate communication from the Dark-Powers-That-Be, revealing their evil ways. Here is one good example, at "The Vigilant Citizen" blog--quite looney, but apparently somewhat popular.

Brethren, we need to step up to the plate for our Fraternity. Let's each take these three steps to do so.

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I invite you to become a “follower” of this blog through the box in the upper-right-hand corner of this page, to be informed of future posts.

I discuss the basics of Freemasonry in my book, Freemasonry: An Introduction, published by Tarcher/Penguin. (Described here, available here.)

(Copyright 2013 Mark E. Koltko-Rivera. All Rights Reserved.)