Here at Kitchn we don't normally cover politics unless it's related in part to food policy. But last week when #DumpKelloggs was trending on Twitter, we took notice. A little confused about why social media ostensibly has it out for cornflakes? Here's an explanation.
It all started when food company and pantry staple Kellogg's announced last Tuesday that it would remove its ads from right-wing political website Breitbart.
"We regularly work with our media-buying partners to ensure our ads do not appear on sites that aren't aligned with our values as a company," Kris Charles, a Kellogg spokeswoman, told Bloomberg. "We recently reviewed the list of sites where our ads can be placed and decided to discontinue advertising on Breitbart.com. We are working to remove our ads from that site."
In response, Breitbart started the hashtag #DumpKelloggs, which became the top-trending term on Twitter last Wednesday night. Breitbart also launched a petition along with the hashtag, which calls for its "highly loyal readers" to boycott Kellogg's products, which include brands such as Cheez-It, Pop-Tarts, and Corn Flakes. According to the Breitbart website, the petition has since received over 330,000 signatures.
Kellogg's is one of a growing number of advertisers to withdraw its ads from Breitbart. Other companies, reports the Guardian, include Allstate, Nest, EarthLink, Warby Parker, SoFi, and Vanguard. AppNexus, the tech company that operates one of the largest digital advertising services, blacklisted Breitbart from its platform following a "human audit" of Breitbart's content, according to an AppNexus spokesman. AppNexus's audit found that Breitbart's articles and headlines violate the AppNexus's policy against hate speech and content that incites violence.
The implications of Kellogg's and Breitbart's actions extend much further than the breakfast table. Until his recent appointment as chief executive of President-Elect Donald Trump's presidential campaign, Steve Bannon served as Breitbart's executive chairman. Trump recently selected Bannon to serve as White House chief strategist.
Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable.— Tic Tac USA (@TicTacUSA) October 8, 2016
Kellogg's joins Tic Tac and Skittles as the latest food company to express an opinion in this year's heated political climate. On October 8, Tic Tac responded to video footage from 2005 of Donald Trump, in which he describes consuming Tic Tacs before kissing women and grabbing at their genitals. Tic Tacs tweeted, "Tic Tac respects all women. We find the recent statements and behavior completely inappropriate and unacceptable."
In September, Donald Trump Jr. tweeted an image comparing Syrian refugees to a bowl of Skittles that contained three Skittles that "would kill you." Wrigley, which owns Skittles, released a statement rebuking the comparison: "Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don't feel it's an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing."