Oreo, the century-old creme-filled cookie brand, courted controversy Monday by posting a much-blogged-about image of a rainbow-themed cookie.
The image, which is being universally interpreted as an endorsement of gay rights, has prompted a firestorm of emotionally charged discussion on social media sites and forums all over the Internet. Opponents of gay rights are now calling for a boycott of Oreos manufacturer Nabisco/Kraft Foods while supporters are petitioning them to actually produce and sell the cookie.
On Monday evening, Oreo posted to its Facebook page an image of an Oreo cookie stacked with six layers of colored creme filling, arranged to look like the iconic gay pride rainbow flag. The photo had the subtitle “June 25 Pride” and the caption, “Proudly support love!”
The image was posted on June 25, one day after the one-year anniversary of the legalization of same-sex marriage in New York.
As of this writing, the image has gathered over 165,000 “likes” and nearly 22,0000 comments on Facebook.
But while some commenters have declared their staunch support for Oreo — and even launched a Change.org petition urging Kraft to produce and sell the six-layer rainbow cookies — others have been more critical. Many commenters have denounced the company for supporting gay rights and for taking on political positions unrelated to its cookie-production mission.
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Oreo does not have plans to produce the rainbow cookie depicted in the image, which was part of a campaign to celebrate the cookie’s centennial. The “current events” ad campaign has also included an ad parodying the pop song “Call Me Maybe.”
Kraft Foods representative Basil Maglaris told ABCNews.com that the ‘Pride’ ad is the first in a series of advertisements that will use images of Oreo cookies to observe current events and explained that the ad had been made “in recognition of Pride Month.”
“Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness,” the Oreo representative explained, calling the “Pride” ad “a fun reflection of our values.”
Oreo has been produced in a number of different variations over the years, from green tea to blueberry ice cream to the infamous triple double. If Kraft Foods ever does produce the 6-layer rainbow Oreo, it wouldn’t be the first major brand to market an explicitly pro-gay rights product in recent years.
The Vermont-based ice cream chain Ben & Jerry’s renamed its “Chubby Hubby” ice cream flavor “Hubby Hubby” in support of Vermont’s legalization of same-sex marriages in 2009, and the retail chain Target released a line of ‘Pride’ merchandise this June, according to ABCNews.com.