New LGBT-Themed Skittles Packaging Draws Backlash

The popular candy Skittles received consumer criticism after releasing a package with an LGBT message. The company’s marketing push bears some similarities with the decision of Bud Light to partner with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, which led to a widespread boycott.

The candy brand advertised a number of left-leaning political messages on its website. One at the center of the controversy reads “Joy is Resistance” and “Black Trans Lives Matter.” 

The package contains the message alongside a cartoon that appears to show a transgender person in boots and fishnet stockings.

Skittles’ parent company Mars partnered with the activist group GLAAD on the Pride Month-themed containers.

The unique packaging is also not the first time that Mars partnered with the organization. The company and GLAAD have worked together for four years, and Skittles announced that it would donate a dollar for every “Skittles Pride pack sold to GLAAD in support of their ongoing efforts to work through media to combat anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination.” 

Furthermore, in 2020 the company stopped printing its signature rainbow to “give the rainbow back” to LGBT individuals for that year’s Pride Month.

The candy’s website also featured a podcast named “Queery” on a number of LGBT topics.

“Stay tuned for a special Pride-themed miniseries of Queery where we dive deeper into queer storytelling and the artists that designed this year’s SKITTLES Pride Packs,” the site read.

Mars’ competitor Hershey’s saw a similar consumer backlash after it utilized a biological male to market its candy for International Women’s Day.

The partnership with transgender activist Fae Johnstone was part of a promotion to “shine a light on the women and girls who inspire us every day.” 

Johnstone separately hoped “this campaign helps give more young women and girls role models and possibility models. And shows them how we can change the world, together.”

The March push came just one month before Bud Light announced its deal with Mulvaney. 

Sales of the formerly popular beverage have declined so much that retail giant Costco is marking cases of Bud Light with the same asterisk that it uses to refer to soon-to-be-discontinued items.