A controversy has erupted recently over the advertising practices of the breakfast cereal company Kellogg’s. In November, Kellogg’s announced it would be pulling its advertising from conservative website Breitbart News because the firm felt that Breitbart’s readership (which numbers more than 45 million people monthly) is not “aligned with our values as a company,” according to a statement the company released.
It appears that for some time now, Kellogg’s has aligned with some firms such as Target and Allstate Insurance that have supported Democrat and progressive causes and trumpeted their narratives. Kellogg’s has given liberal causes and groups hundreds of millions of dollars over the years.
The company’s associated W.K. Kellogg Foundation publishes guides about such subjects as “racial equity,” “unfair justice and incarceration,” and “racial healing.” One such guide reads, “Since the birth of America, racial privilege and structural inequities have influenced the nation’s policies and social systems, from health care, education and child welfare to media, food consumption, justice and countless other facets of everyday life. In America, those who differ from the majority because of race, color, sexual orientation, religion, gender, weight and other characteristics face a deluge of outright discrimination and unconscious bias.”
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation stated it has a $75 million, five-year initiative to “combat structural racism in America” that includes national conferences, workshops and discussion groups.
The foundation also has donated money to schools and organizations that focus on “white privilege” and oppose Voter ID laws. The foundation has given millions of dollars to the Applied Research Center (ARC), now renamed RaceForward — a “racial justice think tank that uses media, research and activism to promote solutions.”
In the past, ARC produced propaganda aimed at Tea Party and conservative groups through its ColorLines.com website. It has also fought organizations such as True the Vote, which favor mandatory voter identification.
Some of the other liberal and globalist organizations Kellogg’s has given money to in the past include the National Council of La Raza, the American Civil Liberties Union, National Public Radio, the Tides Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, Urban Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the NAACP, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute.
As regards Breitbart, Kellogg’s offered no specific critiques of the website’s content, only the vague above-cited statement about “values.” For a company based in the middle of America that draws on food sources produced in the nation’s heartland, the denouncement of Breitbart is a slap in the face to conservative families who count on the website for their news and information.
Breitbart has responded to Kellogg’s move by calling for a boycott of its products and asking people to sign a petition, which is Google-searchable on the web by the hashtag “#DumpKellogg’s.”
Breitbart Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow declared, “Breitbart News is the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the Internet. We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less.’ For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice… If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”
Breitbart CEO and President Larry Solov said, “Kellogg’s has shown its contempt for Breitbart’s 45 million readers and for the main street American values that they hold dear. Pulling its advertising from Breitbart News is a decidedly cynical and un-American act. The only sensible response is to join together and boycott Kellogg’s products in protest.”
So far, nearly 400,000 people have signed the #DumpKellogg’s petition, and the company’s stock has fallen more than 17 percent in the second half of this year, including two percent since the petition was announced.
Kellogg’s makes many products, among them Rice Krispies, Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops, Raisin Bran, Special K, Corn Flakes and Apple Jacks. Kellogg’s also owns other food brands, including Kashi, Keebler, Famous Amos, Morningstar Farms, Pringles, Cheez-Its and Mother’s Cookies. It also offers specialty breakfast products such as Eggo Waffles, Low-Fat Granola, Pop Tarts, Nutri-Grain, Mueslix, Smart Start and Fruit Flavored Snacks.
Recently, the human rights organization Amnesty International released a report accusing Kellogg’s and other companies of taking advantage of forced labor, child labor and other unsavory work practices via its trading partners such as refining company Wilmar, specifically to produce many of its raw materials such as palm oil. The report said Wilmar permitted children in Indonesia as young as eight years old to work transporting heavy supplies in chemical-laden environments and often didn’t pay female workers if they didn’t meet daily production quotas.
Kellogg’s says that it’s never audited Wilmar or other supplier companies it does business with, despite regular stories in the media reporting abuses. Palm oil from Wilmar figures heavily in many of Kellogg’s products that the company sells in China, including Pringles, which has experienced double-digit growth rates there. Kellogg’s has also faced controversy in the past due to its use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in its foods.
For its part, Breitbart said that the lack of Kellogg’s advertising will have no material effect on the website and would barely register revenue-wise. But for conservatives, it’s important to send a message to the company that accusing 45 million Americans of having improper values is not good for business and will not be good for its trading positions.