A number of conservative pundits have called for boycotting Oreo after the cookie brand released a short film about coming out earlier this week.
Directed by Alice Wu (Saving Time and The Half of It), the short film, titled The Note, opens with a young Chinese-American man rehearsing a coming-out speech in front of his mother, father, and younger sister. Before the young man shares his truth with his grandmother, his mom slips him a note that reads, “She might be my mother, but you are my son.” The video wraps up with an important message to viewers: Coming out doesn’t happen just once. Be a lifelong ally.”
How did conservatives react to The Note?
Instead of engaging with the short film’s message of allyship, popular conservative personalities like Greg Kelly and Ben Shapiro responded by vowing to boycott Oreos.
In a tweet, Kelly called Oreos “gay cookies,” noting that cookies are “asexual” and should be for all.
COOKIE! I love COOKIES. C is for COOKIE. COOKIE IS FOR ME. I do NOT like GAY COOKIES. "Sexuality" has NOTHING TO DO with the Cookie experience. Cookies are for ALL! Basically Cookies are "asexual"—why is the WOKE LEFT messing around with OREOS?!?! STOP THE INSANITY pic.twitter.com/TS3k5M4LQv
— Greg Kelly (@gregkellyusa) April 4, 2022
In a follow-up tweet, Kelly outrightly criticized the taste, texture, and appearance of Oreos, and encouraged his followers to buy Fig Newtons instead of Oreos.
Since @oreo is "coming out" I'm going to remind everyone that OREOS SUCK. Taste like Driveway Gravel. Not MOIST. Even Nabisco knows the truth–the cookies are too DRY. Milk Reliant, not a stand alone cookie. Go with the FIG NEWTON. We don't care about Mr Fig's orientation! pic.twitter.com/1FtiQscnbU
— Greg Kelly (@gregkellyusa) April 4, 2022
Shapiro, meanwhile, shared the short film on Twitter with the comment: “Your cookie must affirm your sexual lifestyle.”
Lila Rose, founder of Live Action, a movement dedicated to ending abortion, also reacted to the short film, telling Oreo in a tweet to “stop sexualizing children.”
Oreo as an ally of the LGBTQ+ community
The recent call for boycotting Oreos isn’t the first backlash the cookie brand has received since it openly outed itself as an ally of the community. In fact, Oreo’s first high-profile Pride campaign back in 2012 ― a Facebook post featuring a cookie stacked high with rainbow-colored icing alongside the comment “Proudly support love!” ― drew criticisms from conservative fans, as it came amid the gay-marriage debate at the time.
But despite those negative feedback, Oreo has continued to be an LGBTQ+ ally, as engaging people from all communities is basically what Oreo is all about. “Oreo is a family brand,” Oreo senior brand manager Olympia Portale told Fast Company. “When you ask people their first memory about Oreos, they’ll usually talk about their family. So our goal is to provide moments for people to come together. When we think about how we can extend that into more meaningful topics or territories, we want to focus on the places when these connections between family members might be at risk. If we’re going to fight for a world where all families belong, this was a natural place for us to go.”
Oreo and PFLAG’s partnership
Portale said that Oreo’s strategy in creating content for the LGBTQ+ people has gotten stronger since it partnered with PFLAG, the first and largest organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people, their parents and families, and allies.
The Note is actually the latest project from the multiyear collaboration between Oreo and PFLAG, which started in 2020. The short film is the launching point for Oreo’s new #LifelongAlly campaign and comes with a $500,000 donation to the advocacy organization, which was refreshingly not released as part of a Pride campaign.
The first-ever project between Oreo and PFLAG is the 2020 short film Proud Parent, which shows a woman bringing her girlfriend home to meet her family. The dad is initially indifferent towards the same-sex couple, but everything changes after he witnesses a neighbor look disparagingly at them. The video ends with the dad painting his white picket fence the colors of the rainbow. You can watch the short film below: