Johnstone FairyPhoto: Screenshot
Hershey’s Canada is upright a new trans-inclusive ad campaign after right-wing backlash.
At the end of last month, the chocolate factory announced the “HER for SHE” campaigncelebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. The campaign includes special, limited-edition chocolate bars in wrappers featuring images of young Canadian women who are “changing the way we see the future.”
Among the five women featured in the campaign is Fae Johnstone, executive director of Wisdom2Action, a Canadian social enterprise and consultancy focused on LGBTQ+ issues, gender-based violence and mental health. Johnstone also happens to be transgender.
After Johnstone tweeted about the collaboration earlier this week, conservatives criticized the inclusion of a trans woman campaign and called for a boycott of Hershey’s. The anti-trans response has focused on Johnstone’s wrong sex.
The FederalistMollie Hemingway’s editor accused the company of “featuring a man dressed as a woman for its International Women’s Day advertising campaign”.
Former filmmaker and failed Republican congressional candidate from Tennessee, Robby Starbuck, echoed the transphobic accusation. “If you’re fed up too, refuse to give your money to Hershey’s,” he tweeted.
On Thursday, Hershey’s Canada responded to the backlash with a statement posted to Instagram. “We value unity and recognize the strength created by diversity. For the past three years, our Women’s History Month programming has been an inclusive celebration of women and their impact. We appreciate the countless people and meaningful partnerships behind these efforts.
Johnstone also addressed anti-trans comments on Twitter.
“The reaction to my inclusion as a trans woman in Hershey Canada’s International Women’s Day campaign shows how far we still have to go in the fight for feminist liberation and trans rights,” he said. she writes. “I’m not going anywhere. I’m not silent. I will always stand up for women and girls, cis and trans.
“It also shows how much the far right is focused on trans people and trans women in particular,” she continued. “They are coming for us. We need our allies now more than ever.
Johnstone thanked his supporters for reaching out and coming to his online defense.
“I’m just a small business owner who sometimes gets media attention for my queer and trans advocacy,” she tweeted. “Stimulating an international campaign to boycott a chocolate company was definitely not on my list of predictions for 2023.”
Conservatives regularly attack brands for including trans women in their ads.
In October 2022, transphobes threatened to boycott beauty brand Ulta and accused him of “erasing women” after posting a 15-second video of trans TikTok influencer Dylan Mulvaney discussing his ambitions. Conservatives also recently raged against M&Ms sweets after the launch of an ad featuring an animated purple candy that, conservatives believed, was transgender.