List: Companies that changed or dropped brands amid the social justice movement

Companies have swiftly decided to retire brands, some of which has been the subject of public scrutiny for years, while others have tried to project themselves as proactively responding to calls for diversity.

Last Updated:
June 17, 2020 - 8:33pm

Some of America’s largest companies are taking a closer look at their logos, mascots, business practices and whole brands amid widespread protests over racism in the U.S. after the death of George Floyd.

Companies have swiftly decided to retire brands, some of which has been the subject of public scrutiny for years, while others have tried to project themselves as proactively responding to calls for diversity.

PepsiCo’s Aunt Jemima brand announced plans to do away with the image of a Black woman on its packaging and plans to change the pancake and syrup brand’s name.

"We recognize Aunt Jemima's origins are based on a racial stereotype," said Kristin Kroepfl, vice-president and chief marketing officer, Quaker Foods North America, in a statement after people on social media called out the brand for continuing to use the image.

Hours after the Aunt Jemima announcement on Wednesday, Mars, Incorporated, which owns Uncle Ben's — a par-boiled rice product that features a black man on its packaging and has been similarly critiqued as racist — announced "now is the right time to evolve the Uncle Ben’s brand."

Big name stores like Walmart are also planning on adjusting their business practices when it comes to the beauty aisle. Hair care products, makeup, and other grooming products that mostly cater to black women and people of color can sometimes be found locked behind plastic cabinets, while products that cater to the general population aren’t locked up at all. Last week, Walmart said the company will discontinue the practice.”

Television shows aren’t safe from criticism either. "Cops", one of the longest running reality TV shows, was canceled by Paramount after it was criticized for how it shows law enforcement practices and treatment of suspects by the police. A Paramount spokesperson told the New York Post, “'Cops' is not on the Paramount Network and we don’t have any current or future plans for it to return.”

Another popular cop show called "Live PD" on A&E was canceled permanently on June 10 after temporarily being pulled in the wake of the nationwide protests.

And the popular country band formerly known as Lady Antebellum has also decided to change its name, since antebellum is a word that could be associated with the racism of the pre-civil war South. The band’s new name, Lady A, distances the group from any slavery undertones.

However, the new name is not without controversy of its own. A black blues singer with the stage name Lady A had already been using the name. The Band Formerly Known As Lady Antebellum apologized to the already existing Lady A, and both will continue using the same stage name.

Watch the video above to other brands have responded.

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