Purple Peanut M&M - © 2023 M&Ms

Right-Wing ‘Critics’ Souring Spring Candy Scene

M&Ms is fighting a PR war on two fronts: one alleges it used child slave labour on cocoa farms in Côté d’Ivoire, the other that it’s now bogusly plugging ‘woke’ causes using its ‘gay’ spokescandies in International Woman’s Day promos…

Flipping the Status Quo - © 2023 M&MsM&M Mars is being accused by right wingers of using gay candy
spokeswomen in International Women’s Day promos while
ducking allegations it used slave labour in Africa…

What’s going on

A symbolic group of 8 former child farm workers are acting as the faces of a massive lawsuit against Nestlé, Cargill, Barry Callebaut, Mars, Olam, Hershey and Mondelēz. The kids – now young adults – were minors when (they claim) they worked for no wages, were forced to live in lamentable conditions and abused by their native-farmer ‘captors’ at plantations in Côté d’Ivoire.

The 8 former child labourers (and potentially, thousands more) are being represented by the human rights firm International Rights Advocates (IRA). The case may take years to settle, and is already a really big deal. And you thought the price of chocolate was already prohibitively high! The cost of defending against the suit(s) will likely pile up into the (US)$ billions before it’s all over. Someone will have to pay. And, ultimately, that will be the world’s chocolate lovers.

And this is happening as M&M’s celebrating International Women’s Day and the ‘woke’ movement by promoting spokescandies who represent, “women across the country who are flipping the status quo!”‘

So, the right-wingers are accusing M&Ms as posing a ‘woke’ do-gooders while they are, in reality, slave labour condoners.

Who’s making all the noise on the Right?

And at the forefront of the right-wing media crap disturbers is – no extra points for getting it right – Fox News extremist extraordinary Tucker Carlson.

“We’re celebrating women across the country who are flipping the status quo!” an official M&M’s Twitter account announced on Jan. 5. Customers are asked to nominate a non-M&M woman, “who is breaking barriers and paving a new path,” for a chance to win $10,000.

Carlson immediately pounced on the announcement, pointing to a similar promo in 2015 in which the female brown and green M&Ms were shown in an official company tweet holding hands. Predictably, the affair went viral. Recently, the hand-holding M&Ms have come back and brought with them what Carlson calls, “…”a plus-sized, obese purple M&M,” he said. “So, we’re gonna cover that, of course.”

Arguments over whether the new Purple female spokescandy is really overweight or not aside, that will just amplify Carlson’s yowling. And the more he yowls, the more attention the M&M brand will receive.

The reaction…

M&Ms has reacted by sending it’s entire cast of M&M mascots on ‘leave’, pending resolution of the ‘situation’.

“”We have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies,” a January 5, 2023, M&M’s Twitter statement reads. “In their place, we are proud to introduce a spokesperson America can agree on: the beloved Maya Rudolph. We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong.”

What was that you said? Yes, speech tends to slur a bit when one tries to talk with one’s tongue in one’s cheek.

That, of course, has just poured gasoline on both sides of the controversy. ‘Woke’ folks are accusing M&Ms of caving on the issue. And the right-wingers are gleeful over what they consider a major victory.

My take

Smells to me like M&Ms cast a baited hook at the Right, and the gullible Tuckerfish swallowed it hook, line and sinker. There’s a twist coming, but I don’t know what it is, yet. But I know that this whole transparent, clearly manufactured ‘standoff” can still blow back in M&M’s face if they make even one false step. Kind of like killing off Mr. Peanut for the Super Bowl a couple of years back, and risking fans might not accept his return as his own seed-grown clone…

~ Maggie J.