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Mike And Ike Gay Divorce Sexualizing Candy For Kids Warns Tony Perkins

by David Badash on April 23, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,Discrimination,Marriage,News,Politics,Religion

Post image for Mike And Ike Gay Divorce Sexualizing Candy For Kids Warns Tony Perkins

Mike And Ike, a 72-year old candy brand, are splitting up, and anti-gay Christian conservative Tony Perkins is hopping mad, claiming the 99-year old company is “sexualizing candy,” and “chipping away at the value of marriage,” despite the fact no one every claimed Mike And Ike were ever married — or civil unioned, or domestic partnershipped. Mike And Ike’s manufacturer, Just Born, Inc., of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, launched the inventive marketing campaign three weeks ago, announcing the “couple” was splitting up for “creative differences,” and some pundits — like Perkins, who sees a gay threat behind every turn — automatically assuming the pair were lovers and not business partners. In fact, Just Born told The Morning Call, “These guys are best friends, candy-making partners,” he said. “Others have chosen to see it another way, and that’s fine.”

READ: Chris Matthews: There’s ‘A Good Argument’ To Ban Tony Perkins From Hardball

Tony Perkins is the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center certified anti-gay hate group, Family Research Council, and a premiere entrant in GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project (CAP).

Brian Tashman at Right Wing Watch, which has the audio, published this transcript of Perkins’ attack on the candy manufacturer:

These days, you can’t get a sugar high without experiencing a cultural low. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. There’s trouble in candy land. After more than 70 years together, Mike & Ike are calling it quits. The duo is staging a gay divorce as part of a new ad campaign to draw in younger customers. In this society, even candy has an agenda! From Facebook to Tumblr, the fruity pair says, “The rumors are true. We just couldn’t agree on stuff anymore.” Starting this summer, the company will spend $15 million on billboards and TV commercials that poke fun at the breakup. It’s just another subtle example of society chipping away at the value of marriage. And I don’t know what’s more disturbing–that advertisers think divorce appeals to kids or that sexualizing candy will make people buy more. After a year-long build-up, the company will reveal if the couple reconciles. Until then, look for Mike & Ike to have a distinctly liberal flavor.

Zack Ford at Think Progress offers some wise insight:

Perkins’ overreaction is humorous, but also telling. This silly anecdote speaks to two important tactics that conservatives employ. First, they promote the idea that any portrayal of characters that are gay is negative and “sexual.” Plenty of fictional opposite-sex couples have clearly been in romantic relationships for decades (Mickey and Minnie, Kermit and Miss Piggy, etc.), but no one is concerned that they are somehow “sexualizing” children. Secondly, Perkins insinuates that anything gay is “liberal,” which is far from the truth. Sexual diversity cuts across all races, religions, and political ideologies, regardless of how hate group leaders like Perkins try to relegate the LGBT community into some uniform “cultural low” category.

Sam Kennedy, at The Morning Call noted earlier this month that “as ad campaigns go, this one seems to be off to a good start,” and added:

So far, the New York Times has published a story on the matter. And a headline on the Huffington Post website reads: “Mike And Ike Head For Gay Divorce In New Ad Campaign.”

Of course, whatever the nature of Mike and Ike’s relationship, it couldn’t possibly have had the force of law in Pennsylvania, a state that has yet to legalize same-sex unions.

Mike and Ike, whose packaging bills the candy as “the original fruits,” was introduced in 1940. In their early years together, both Mike and Ike brandished mustaches. Mike later switched to the clean-shaven look (even though it accentuated his chubby cheeks).

According to the Mike and Ike Facebook page:

“Yes it’s true. We should have seen it coming. Mike and Ike have split up over creative differences about Mike and Ike candy, and they have left the building. We never thought it would come to this. … Mike has decided to pursue a music career. Ike wants to be an artist.”

Fanciful story lines aside, Just Born marketing manager Donald Houston said Facebook is an ideal outlet for reaching the candy maker’s target audience: teenagers.

“That’s where they are,” he explained. “It allows us to have that two-way communication. They can comment.”

In its campaign, scheduled to run for a year, Just Born is making use of other electronic media as well. The Facebook site links to a blog that features video commentary from celebrities such as Greyson Chance, a teen pop singer, and Eden Sher, a star on the ABC sitcom “The Middle.” In one video, NBA player Lamar Odom emotes, “When I heard the news, I was devastated.”

Meanwhile, hitting store shelves is Mike and Ike packaging with one or the other name seemingly blacked out by felt-tip marker. A similar billboard campaign is planned for the summer.

The company’s Facebook followers increased ten-fold, and there’s even a Mike And Ike Tumblr blog.

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{ 4 comments }

Scott_Rose April 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Don't forget that Perkins's FRC spent $25K lobbying against a congressional resolution against the Uganda "Kill the Gays" bill on grounds it was "Pro-Homosexual promotion."

ottomarcos April 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Tony Perkins may as well be writing material for Bill Maher…

CastleRockBear April 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Only an idiot like Tony Perkins would say something like this, unless it's Peter Sprigg or Brian Brown @ NOM

angelbaby83 January 30, 2013 at 11:09 am

There are points I seriously wonder if he is an extremely repressed homosexual and because of an unwillingness or incapability of handling it he uses bigotry and self hate to shield himself from himself. At this point that seems more and more likely of a possibility with as frantic as he has become about the topic.

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