The Kellogg's cereal company is experiencing a backlash from Christian consumers who claim they'll no longer buy the company's products after it helped sponsor the Atlanta gay pride march in mid-October by using the beloved Frosted Flakes mascot, Tony the Tiger, in a pro-LGBT advertisement in the event's pride guide.
"Wear your stripes with pride," the Kellogg's ad states, highlighting the word "pride" in large-font rainbow-colored letters, while Tony the Tiger stands to the right with his arms crossed and a familiar smile on his face.
The American Family Association, a traditional Christian values activist group, posted a picture of the Tony the Tiger advertisement to its Facebook page last Friday and since then, the post has received over 800 comments. Many of the comments were highly critical of the company for using a cartoon character to promote homosexuality, while a number of other commenters stated that Kellogg's has no place, as a food manufacturer, to weigh in on sexual preference.
"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," Ed Vitagliano, research director for AFA, told The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"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," he continued. "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."
The pro-LGBT ad also included a seal in the bottom right-hand corner of the advertisement that indicates Kellogg's was listed by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay activist group, as "one of the best places to work for LGBT equality."
"At Kellogg's, we're an evolving culture that respects and accepts employees' sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression so that all employees can be authentic and fully engaged," The ad's message states.
Kellogg's is not alone in supporting homosexuality. As Gay Star News points out, "Today, 85 percent of Fortune 500 companies have policies that protect employees from anti-gay discrimination, which is up from 51 percent in 2000."
Vitagliano also noted that since Kellogg's produces cereal and most cereals have cartoon characters associated with them, "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."
"This is an argument that our culture is having over the nature of homosexuality and we don't think cereals and cartoons should be bypassing parents to speak about moral issues to children without permission from parents. If that was Kellogg's intent then shame on them, and I hope parents take note of that," he asserted.
As Christian News Network points out, General Mills, a fellow cereal company, voiced support for same-sex marriage in 2012. As the company is headquartered in Minneapolis, its executives voiced opposition to a proposed amendment to Minnesota's constitution in 2012 that would have labeled marriage as only between a man and a woman.
General Mills' vice president of diversity, Ken Charles, issued a letter throughout the whole company saying that if gay marriage was banned in the state it would have made it more difficult to retain skilled workers.
"We do not believe that the proposed constitutional amendment is [in] the best interests of our employees or our state economy," Charles' letter stated.
General Mills has also used LGBT-themed advertisements to promote Lucky Charms and Cheerios in the past.