- Hershey said it stood by the International Women’s Day campaign with a trans woman.
- The campaign features Fae Johnstone, a trans woman, on chocolate-bar wrappers.
- The campaign prompted conservatives on social media to call for a boycott of the company.
Chocolate company Hershey says it stands by its International Women’s Day campaign with a trans woman following calls on social media to boycott the company.
“We value partnership and recognize the strength that diversity creates,” a Hershey spokesperson told Bloomberg. “For the past three years, our Women’s History Month program has been an inclusive celebration of women and their impact. We thank the countless people and meaningful partnerships behind these efforts.”
As part of its He for She campaign, Hershey featured Fae Johnstone, a trans-rights activist, on a limited edition chocolate bar wrapper in Canada. Johnstone is featured alongside four other Canadian women who are activists in their respective fields.
On Wednesday, Johnstone tweeted about the partnership, writing that she grew up with few trans role models and hopes the campaign “shows trans girls that they can dream and change the world too.”
His tweets were met with praise and support from some, but also with criticism from conservatives and calls to boycott Hershey.
—Fae Johnstone, MSW (@FaeJohnstone) March 1, 2023
Johnstone responded to the backlash, saying the negative reaction “shows how far we still have to go in the fight for feminist liberation and trans rights.”
—Fae Johnstone, MSW (@FaeJohnstone) March 2, 2023
Hershey did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment sent outside regular business hours. The company’s share price closed 0.7% higher at $238.40 on Thursday.
Hershey’s campaign controversy follows another M&Ms fracas. In 2022, M&Ms changed the look of the “spokescandies” mascots by replacing the shoes with both brown and green female M&Ms. In particular, the high-heeled boots of the green M&Ms have been replaced by sneakers.
The changes angered conservatives like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said the M&Ms girl is now “less sexy” in their new footwear.
M&Ms said in January 2023 that the company was taking “an indefinite hiatus from spokescandies” because it didn’t want to polarize people.