Mercedes Allen

MARS Canada Chooses Not to Affiliate With Transphobia

Filed By Mercedes Allen | January 10, 2012 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Canada, Charles McVety, SunTV Sun News Network, transphobia

Uncle-Bens-Logo.jpegNot long ago, Charles McVety's transphobic "Don't Confuse Me" ads about a proposed LGBT-positive curriculum in Ontario made the rounds - first in the National Post (which apologized for running them) and then by Sun Media, which claimed they were free speech champions for doing so. The Toronto Sun and FoxNewsNorth SunTV, of course, ran the ads without questioning them, challenging them or giving any voice to a contrary opinion, even though they found multiple opportunities to mention the controversy and their heroic role in it. They believe in free speech... as long as Sun Media gets to monopolize what's said.

Blogger BigCityLib noticed that one of the advertisers whose ads was linked with McVety's during break time was Uncle Ben's rice.

When I first emailed, I was told that it was difficult to predict where and when Uncle Ben's ads would turn up on Sun TV, but if you compare the video below to the earlier link I sent it is fairly clear they are running the gay bashing ad, plus a commercial from Alarm Force, plus your commercial, as a package.

Now, it isn't as though I would ever stop eating Uncle Ben's products over something like this. My wife and I had a package of your brown rice with braised ribs and asparagus tonight, and it was quite wonderful. I would only suggest that Sun TV is not an appropriate venue for your rice products. In addition to inappropriately postioning your brand, they have interviewed any number of convicted racists and Neo-Nazis, and have attracted a number of product petitions as a result (see link below). I hope you will reconsider advertising with these people.

I don't know which convicted racists and Neo-Nazis BigCityLib is referring to, but I do know that SunTV has been increasingly giving time to people like Marc Lemire, Kathy ("gay men don't build bombs") Shaidle and Pam Gellar. I'm still waiting for Ezra Levant to invite Orly Taitz on to talk about birth certificates.

Well, as it turns out, Uncle Ben's parent company MARS Canada - which makes several high-profile brands of foods besides Uncle Ben's, plus chocolate products and pet food - has decided that they aren't interested in being associated with McVety's brand of homophobia and transphobia:

Based on feedback from consumers such as yourself, UNCLE BEN'S will not be advertising on Sun TV in 2012.

We thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns and for your loyalty towards the UNCLE BEN'S brand.

Which is probably just as well, given SunTV's dismal ratings.

This isn't sitting well with Canadian speechies, who claim that MARS Canada's right to say what they want their money supporting or not supporting is "censorship" (and also evidently don't understand that there's such a thing as age-appropriate LGBT-positive education):

Rather than simply removing its advertising from Sun TV without comment, by taking this action in concert with the public statement, Mars Canada has effectively taken a position against the free exchange of ideas and links itself with advocates for a sexualized classroom agenda.

Of course, they're welcome to boycott MARS products if they'd rather ally with the wingnuttery of Charles McVety. On the other hand, if you're a consumer like me who shops with her feet, it probably won't hurt to thank the company for taking a principled stand, and maybe do the same for their subsidiary too. And if buying M&Ms just became a little more guilt-free, well, that's an added bonus.


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