Cereal maker Kellogg is facing a backlash on social media after the company placed an ad, featuring its mascot Tony The Tiger, in the Atlanta Gay Pride March official guide.
Although the Pride March took place in October, the controversial ad and Kellogg’s sponsorship of the March are just now beginning to draw backlash after the conservative Christian organization The American Family Association brought attention to it on their Facebook page, the Christian Post reports.
Ed Vitagliano of the American Family Association says that his organization has two complaints against the Kellogg ad. First, he says that he doesn’t believe that it’s the place of corporate America to weigh in on gay rights issues in the first place.
“Our policy toward corporate America and companies that serve the public is that we ask them to remain neutral in this battle over same-sex marriage. We don’t expect them to take our side but we don’t expect them to support groups that want to legalize same-sex marriage. So we let our followers and supporters know because these companies rely on the patronage of their customers; and there are a lot of people who, in their own states, voted to keep marriage between one man and one woman. I don’t think they appreciate knowing that the companies they buy products from are working against that.”
Secondly, he takes issue with the fact that Tony The Tiger, who he claims is a cartoon character aimed at children, appears in the ad as the face of the company.
“They really have no choice but to put Tony the Tiger forward as the representative of Kellogg’s making this statement ‘wear your stripes with pride.’ But we do not approve of charging children with this messages that their parents might not approve.”
The Kellogg company is standing behind the ad. Kellogg spokesperson Mark King states, via the Battle Creek Enquirer, that the Kellogg company — which employs about 30,000 people — is honored to have been recognized by a gay rights organization as one of the more gay-friendly places to work in the U.S.
“Kellogg is firmly committed to diversity and inclusion and puts a tremendous amount of effort toward ensuring equality through our policies, benefits and culture. We are honored to have been named a Top 50 company for Diversity by DiversityInc, and for achieving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index.”
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[Image courtesy of: Cleveland Plain Dealer]