Bias Watch

Conservatives are outraged by Skittles’ “Pride” collab with LGBTQ+ artists

Skittles, Pride, GLAAD, LGBTQ, designers, boycott, right-wing, rainbow, Mars Launches SKITTLES® Pride Packs To Support The LGBTQ+ Community
Skittles' 2023 Pride Packs Photo: Mars, Incorporated

Right-wingers are now threatening to boycott the fruit-flavored candy brand Skittles because of its 2023 “Pride pack” promotion. The promotion featured colorful limited-edition packaging from five queer designers and donated $1 of every sale (up to $100,000) towards the LGBTQ+ media advocacy organization GLAAD.

Skittle’s promotion — with the 2023 theme “There’s a story in every rainbow” — was unveiled in early May. Its packaging featured designs by five LGBTQ+ artists — Shanée Benjamin, Mady G, Symone Salib, Bianca Xunise, and Zipeng Zhu. Xunise’s packaging includes Black characters and the words “Black trans lives matter.”

The Pride packages also have gray Skittles candies inside, instead of their usual bright colored ones, because “only one rainbow matters” during Pride, Skittles has written in past years. The Pride promotion has also partnered with the audiobook-streaming service Audible to highlight books from LGBTQ+ authors.

Because right-wingers want to make Pride sponsorships “toxic” to corporate brands, they’ve begun criticizing Skittles for being “woke” and have falsely claimed that GLAAD advocates “pushing medical transitions on children.” The organization primarily works with media outlets to “ensure fair, accurate, and inclusive representation” of LGBTQ+ people and also helps to create national and local programs that advance LGBTQ+ acceptance, GLAAD’s website says.

Oli London, a British anti-trans advocate who once had surgeries because he identified as a “Korean,” wrote via Twitter: “Skittles is raising money with each sale of their new ‘Pride it Forward’ kids candies for notorious LGBTQI+ lobby group GLAAD…. one of the leading and most powerful LGBT groups pushing for medical transitions on children.”

GLAAD supports gender-affirming care and equal rights for trans and nonbinary youth, but the group is not working to “push” such care on children.

The rabidly anti-LGBTQ+ activist Chaya Raichik, who goes by LibsofTikTok on social media, wrote, “Skittles is trying to turn your kids into BLM (Black Lives Matter) & LGBTQ+ activists. Their packaging also features a drag queen. Skittles have gone completely woke.”

It is unclear why Raichik believes that any of Skittles’ Pride packaging features a drag queen.

Raichick wrote on her personal Twitter account, “Can skittles just like sell candy? Why do they have to inject this garbage? You’re a CANDY company [for f**k’s sake].”

The right-wing account End Wokeness wrote, “Skittles has partnered with GLAAD, a group that supports sex procedures for kids. ‘Black Trans Lives Matter’ is now on their packaging too, for some reason. You know what to do…”

Raichik, End Wokeness, and other right-wingers have supported boycotts and harassment campaigns against Target, Bud Light, and other businesses for their Pride marketing.

The candy brand began its Pride packaging in 2007, making them available only in Canada and other European countries until introducing them in the U.S. in 2020.

In a June 2023 statement, Skittle’s parent company Mars Incorporated wrote, “We are committed to supporting the LGBTQ+ community and creating an environment where all our Associates can thrive and be their authentic selves.”

In a promotional video, queer artist Bianca Xunise, told Skittles that, as a kid, she didn’t see herself represented in stories. This made her feel like, “I didn’t deserve to be here,” she said. “I felt like I didn’t belong and… I had a lot of pains.”

Comics saved Xunise’s life, she continued, because they allowed her to explore her pains and trauma through illustration. By drawing cartoons of herself confronting her fears, she has felt braver in real life.

“Pride is this opportunity for me to stand up and be like, ‘Hey I see you,'” she said. She advised others not to let any person, pain, self-doubt, or oppression make them feel like they don’t belong in their communities.

Mars Incorporated owns numerous candy, pet food, and pet care brands. Numerous other food brands and corporations have donated to queer organizations and have LGBTQ+-inclusive workplace policies, including the right-wing media outlet Fox News.

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