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Trans woman who appeared in Hershey’s ad says she’s never experienced hate like this before

Trans woman who appeared in Hershey’s ad says she’s never experienced hate like this before
Fae Johnstone Photo: Screenshot

Trans activist Fae Johnstone is speaking out about the trauma she has experienced since appearing in a Hershey’s ad and becoming the target of right-wing vitriol.

Late last month, the chocolate company announced the “HER for SHE” campaign, celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. The campaign included special limited-edition chocolate bars in wrappers featuring images of young Canadian women who are “changing how we see the future.”

Johnstone, the executive director of the LGBTQ+ consulting firm Wisdom to Action, was among the women featured. Angry conservatives proceeded to make her the face of a vicious campaign to boycott Hershey’s.

“For the last week, I’ve had my twitter locked while I made sure I was safe and cared for myself,” Johnstone wrote on Twitter.

“But now, I want to tell you what it’s like to have the entire force of the anti-trans ecosystem pointed directly at you,” she wrote as part of a long Twitter thread.

“Since early March, I’ve been bombarded with thousands of hateful tweets, DMs & emails. I’ve been called a tr*nny, groomer, pedophile & f*g. Encouraged to suicide & more. All for being a trans woman in a Canadian ad campaign to uplift women & girls for #InternationalWomensDay2023”

Johnstone included screenshots of offensive messages and images she has received. One note calls her a “f**king freak” and “not a woman” and tells her to “kill yourself.”

“Far right media across North America tore into me with zeal,” Johnstone continued. “Hundreds of articles and clips. Millions of media impressions. Personal info going back years has been dug up and shared widely. I had my deadname outed by a figurehead of the far-right in a video with over 100k views.”

That figurehead was far-right Daily Wire journalist and anti-trans activist Matt Walsh, who has made a career out of anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric.

“I have had disgusting memes and caricatures made of me. I’ve had my privacy and that of my family violated. I’ve had conspiracies and blatant lies shared about me across social media platforms. My life will never be the same.”

Nevertheless, Johnstone vowed to continue fighting for trans equality, as well as for women and girls and issued a call to action to her followers.

“I’m calling on our friends, allies and families to speak up. I’m calling on every organization and individual committed to social justice to act now. I’m calling on our elected officials to speak up and act now to fight rising anti-queer snd [sic] anti-trans hate.”

Johnstone told Pink News she has also received a slew of support from LGBTQ+ people and allies.

“From feminist and queer organizations to parents of queer and trans kids, and trans folks themselves, I’ve received an incredible outpouring of support.”

Hershey Canada stood by Johnstone after the backlash began, with a statement posted to Instagram declaring, “We value togetherness and recognize the strength created by diversity. 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.”

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