TORONTO (Reuters) - Kiefer Sutherland, star of the hit television series "24," should be cut from Canadian TV ads promoting Ford vehicles after his second drunk driving conviction, an advocacy group said on Friday
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Canada is demanding Ford Motor Co of Canada pull ads in which Sutherland does the voice-over.
"Ford Motor Company has a wonderful opportunity to send Mr. Sutherland a fairly strong message," Andrew Murie, chief executive of MADD Canada, told Reuters in an interview.
"There should never be an excuse, when you can afford your own driver or your own limousine, to ever get into this situation. It astounds me that Mr. Sutherland would ever put himself in this position."
Sutherland, a Canadian and the son of actor Donald Sutherland, has been in a California prison since Wednesday, sentenced to 48 days in jail for drunk driving.
He was arrested in September, when he was still on probation for a 2004 drunk driving offense. He pleaded no contest in October.
Ford of Canada has not pulled the Sutherland ads. In a statement e-mailed to Reuters on Friday, it called drunk driving a "very serious offense."
"While Ford of Canada currently has a contract with Kiefer Sutherland as the voice for some TV commercials, we are evaluating that position," Ford said in the statement.
"Kiefer Sutherland is serving the sentence for his crime and we are glad it appears that he will attend education programs and receive therapy," the company said.
Sutherland is serving two sentences consecutively to prevent a conflict with production of the Fox Network show, which is on hold because of the screenwriters' strike.
He won an Emmy Award last year for his role as terrorist-fighting agent Jack Bauer on "24," which averaged 13.5 million viewers an episode in the United States last season. Fox is a unit of News Corp.
Reporting by Natalie Armstrong; Editing by Peter Galloway