One grocery store's attempt to create a limited-edition Easter treat has backfired spectacularly, as it prompted a Twitter argument over political correctness and race.
Waitrose, a U.K.-based gourmet groceries chain, released several spring-themed items for Easter this year. One of them included a trio of chocolate ducks, one milk, one white and one dark.
However, in March, one shopper observed that the ducks had been each given little names. The milk chocolate one was named "Crispy," the white chocolate one named "Fluffy" and the dark chocolate one was named... "Ugly."
Crispy, Fluffy and Ugly - trio of Easter ducklings at #waitrose . Ugly is the dark one on the right. Overheard women saying “this is not right” , I agree, doesn’t look good at all. Thousands of other options... why #ugly????? pic.twitter.com/bw5iFCcPuz— livia a. aliberti (@livia_aliberti) March 7, 2019
The observation was apparently shared among other shoppers, prompting Waitrose to make modifications to the packaging. Now, the ducks no longer have names. Aliberti later made a new tweet thanking Waitrose for listening to her and others' complaints.
Thank you #waitrose for changing the packaging . Ref to the 50s tale was a tad outdated. Thank you to those who contributed w comments : change happens when something is brought out into the open and discussed.— livia a. aliberti (@livia_aliberti) April 9, 2019
The references she refers to is the Hans Christian Anderson tale "The Ugly Duckling." Apparently, she wasn't the only one who saw the connection.
Waitrose should of done its homework right! The ugly duckling is NOT dark brown it’s GREY! Again advertisers / companies need to be more politically correct otherwise they will have a negative backlash! pic.twitter.com/LFrz8Vz0gr— Anna (@BartolomeuAnna) April 9, 2019
However, many others found the racism accusations to be a stretch.
Has the entire planet gone completely insane. All I see is 3 chocolate ducks.— H3 (@H3_Immortality) April 10, 2019
Others said it was just an excuse to cry racism.
Why the HECK are you so offended by candy? Do you have NOTHING BETTER to do with your time then FIND something to scream racism about? This is sad how people like you scream racism daily that when something really does happen no one will think twice to be concerned.— Renae Dunlap (@twaliarenae) April 9, 2019
Others still said that these claims of racism over chocolate ducks trivializes the real-life experiences of persecuted people.
It should never have been changed the bloody world had gone mad. Making something out of nothing. It makes a mockery of real people with real issues!!— Claire Mizler (@cmizler) April 9, 2019
This is not the first time Waitrose has landed itself in hot water, having been accused of sexist packaging for poultry items. The company issued a public apology in a prepared statement.
"We are very sorry for any upset caused by the name of this product," it read, "it was absolutely not our intention to cause any offence [sic]. We removed the product from sale several weeks ago while we changed the labelling and our ducklings are now back on sale."