- Hershey says it stands by its International Women’s Day campaign featuring a trans woman.
- The campaign featured Fae Johnstone, a trans woman, on chocolate-bar wrappers.
- The campaign triggered conservatives on social media who are calling for a boycott of the company.
Chocolate company Hershey said it stands by its International Women’s Day campaign featuring a trans woman following social media calls to boycott the company over the move.
“We value togetherness and recognize the strength created by diversity,” a Hershey spokesperson told Bloomberg. “Over the past three years, our Women’s History Month programming has been an inclusive celebration of women and their impact. We appreciate the countless people and meaningful partnerships behind these efforts.”
As part of its He for She campaign, Hershey is featuring Fae Johnstone, a trans-rights activist, on limited-edition chocolate bar wrappers 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 they can dream big and change the world too.”
Her 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 just 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.
The controversy over Hershey’s campaign followed another fracas at M&Ms. In 2022, M&Ms rebranded the appearance of its “spokescandies” mascots by replacing the shoes of both the brown and green female M&M’s. In particular, the high-heeled boots on the green M&Ms were replaced with sneakers.
The changes irked conservatives like Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who said the female M&Ms were now “less sexy” with their new footwear.
M&Ms said in January 2023 that the company was taking “an indefinite pause from the spokescandies” as it didn’t want to polarize people.