Kellogg's denied that its Coco Pops mascot has links to racism after a former member of Parliament questioned the company over its decision to use a monkey as a mascot, according to The London Economic.
In the United Kingdom, Kellogg's chocolate spinoff to its famous Rice Krispies cereal is called Coco Pops and features a monkey on the cover of the box.
The former member of Parliament Fiona Onasanya, who also spent 28 days in prison last year for lying about a speeding offense, took to Twitter to call into question Kellogg's motives behind its monkey mascot.
"@KelloggsUK, as you are yet to reply to my email - Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same compòsition (except for the fact CP's are brown and chocolate flavoured)... so I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?"
@KelloggsUK, as you are yet to reply to my email - Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same compòsition (except for the fact CP's are brown and chocolate flavoured)... so I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?— Fiona Onasanya (@Fiona_Onasanya) June 15, 2020
She highlighted how John Harvey Kellogg co-founded the Race Betterment Foundation, saying that the primary purpose of the group's research was to study the cause and cure for "race degeneracy."
The London Economic reported that Onasanya's comments were widely disregarded by users online, with some highlighting that Kellogg's also uses the monkey for its white chocolate variant of the cereal while others added that the "three white boys" are elves.
Kellogg's released a statement saying that it "stands in support of the black community."
"We do not tolerate discrimination and believe that people of all races, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientation, religions, capabilities and beliefs should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect," the company said.
The company said that the monkey mascot was created in the 1980s "to highlight the playful personality of the brand," adding that other Kellogg's cereal boxes feature giraffes, crocodiles and tigers.
Onasanya's questioning of the brand comes amid logo slashes from other popular commercial brands, such as the recent announcement that Quaker Foods's Aunt Jemima brand acknowledged the logo is based on racist minstrel stereotypes.
Since then, other companies have announced they are taking action to remove stereotypes from their logos and brands, such as Uncle Ben's and Mrs. Butterworth.