With division over major issues in the United States, who thought that something as seemingly apolitical as M&M’s would become embroiled in controversy? The candy company announced that they were going to put an “indefinite pause” on their classic candy mascots following backlash from changes in their looks and new packaging, the company announced that Maya Rudolph, 50, would replace the “spokescandies” for the time being in an announcement on Monday, January 23.
A message from M&M’S. pic.twitter.com/EMucEBTd9o
— M&M’S (@mmschocolate) January 23, 2023
The company acknowledged a change in the appearance of some of its well-known mascots back in 2022, which was first met with some backlash, after they adjusted some of the looks to be more inclusive. “In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies. We weren’t sure if anyone would even notice. And we definitely didn’t think it would break the internet. But now we get it — even a candy’s shoes can be polarizing. Which was the last thing M&M’s wanted since we’re all about bringing people together,” the company wrote.
While the company didn’t name anyone specific in its statement, it appeared to be referencing a monologue by conservative commentator Tucker Carlson on his Fox News show, where the 53-year-old anchor complained about the new looks, particularly how it made the anthropomorphized candies less attractive. “The Green M&M you will notice is no longer wearing sexy boots. Now, she’s wearing sensible sneakers,” he said during a January 2022 broadcast. “The Brown M&M has ‘transitioned from high stilettos to lower block heels.’ Also less sexy. That’s progress. M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous, until the moment you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them. That’s the goal.”
While it’s been a year since Tucker’s now-infamous monologue, M&M’s announced a new promotional packaging with the Green and Brown M&Ms, as well as new Purple mascot, where $1 from each sale will be donated to a non profit helping women in the workplace, per the candy’s website. In one of the promo photos, the Green and Brown candies appear to be holding hands, and the Fox personality couldn’t help but talk about it on his show. “Woke M&M’s have returned. The Green M&M got her boots back, but apparently is now a lesbian, maybe. And there’s now a plus-sized, obese Purple M&M. So, we’re going to cover that, of course, because that’s what we do,” he said in one clip, referencing his past speech about the mascots’ boots.
Following the new batch of backlash, the candy company shared that they’d recruited the Saturday Night Live alum to become the new face of M&M’s. “Therefore we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies. In their place, we are proud to introduce a spokesperson America can agree on: the beloved Maya Rudolph. We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong,” the company wrote in their statement.
Since the announcement, a few people have made jokes about how the backlash has affected the company, and a few people have suggested that they may be gearing up for a Super Bowl ad. Fans of the candy and their mascots will probably just have to wait to see when the “indefinite pause” comes to an end. As for Maya, she hasn’t posted about her new job as the spokesperson on her Instagram or Twitter.