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M&M's replaces its spokescandies with Maya Rudolph after Tucker Carlson's rants

M&M's pause of its spokescandies comes after a right-wing backlash to changes in the Green and Brown M&Ms and the addition of the Purple M&M.
Twitter/Screenshot by NPR
M&M's pause of its spokescandies comes after a right-wing backlash to changes in the Green and Brown M&Ms and the addition of the Purple M&M.

M&M's spokescandies — the cartoon versions of the candies that appear in advertisements — will be paused indefinitely. The move comes after Fox News' Tucker Carlson spent months attacking minor brand changes to some of the characters as "woke." Maya Rudolph, a comedian and actor, will step in in their place.

Carlson, who spends much of his time telling viewers he's a champion of victims of cancel culture, waged a culture war campaign against the candies until they were, literally, canceled — at least for now.

After the Brown M&M swapped her stilettos for lower block heels and the Green M&M traded in go-go boots for sneakers, Carlson declared that "M&M's will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous," and that when "you're totally turned off, we've achieved equity."

In announcing the move away from the colorful characters, M&M's tweeted Monday: "We weren't sure if anyone would even notice" the earlier change in spokescandies. "But now we get it — even a candy's shoes can be polarizing."

In response to the tweet announcing the pause, Skittles tweeted, "Our thoughts go out to the spokescandies." Skittles and M&M's are owned by the same parent company, Mars Wrigley.

Last fall, M&M's introduced a new Purple character, which Carlson derided as "obese" on his show. The Purple M&M is roughly the same size and shape as her Yellow and Blue male counterparts.

Rudolph will debut as M&M's new spokeswoman during the Super Bowl, a move Mars Wrigley says was already in progress. Rudolph is a biracial woman who has fundraised for Kamala Harris (not to mention portraying the vice president on Saturday Night Live) and other Democrats who are routinely the subject of Carlson's ire.

"We are confident Ms. Rudolph will champion the power of fun to create a world where everyone feels they belong," M&M's said.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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Kaitlyn Radde
David Folkenflik
David Folkenflik was described by Geraldo Rivera of Fox News as "a really weak-kneed, backstabbing, sweaty-palmed reporter." Others have been kinder. The Columbia Journalism Review, for example, once gave him a "laurel" for reporting that immediately led the U.S. military to institute safety measures for journalists in Baghdad.