Maya Rudolph Replacing M&M’s Spokescandies After Fierce Backlash
Comedy legend Maya Rudolph is taking over from the oddly controversial M&M's spokescandies to promote the chocolate snack.
Former Saturday Night Live star and music industry royalty Maya Rudolph is officially going to be the new spokesperson for M&M’s, replacing the fan-favorite yet controversial CGI spokescandies characters. According to the Mars, Incorporated’s chocolate button candy’s official Twitter, the company has paid attention to the fact that it has somehow become a hot topic in America’s culture wars. With that in mind, the company says “we have decided to take an indefinite pause from the spokescandies,” de facto bringing in Maya Rudolph and likely permanently retiring the anthropomorphic M&M’s characters.
The M&M’s Twitter post began with the fairly innocuous statement “America, let’s talk. In the last year, we’ve made some changes to our beloved spokescandies” and leading to what should be a strange statement, “candy’s shoes can be polarizing.” This is in reference to an odd focus by Fox News talk show host Tucker Carlson on changes in the shoes worn by several of the spokescandies, who were coded as female. The “Green” M&M shifted from thigh-high boots to sneakers, while the “Brown” M&M had its heels slightly lowered, causing Carlson to declare (per Forbes) on his popular show that:
M&M’s will not be satisfied until every last cartoon character is deeply unappealing and totally androgynous. Until the moment you wouldn’t want to have a drink with any one of them. That’s the goal.
Given that Tucker Carlson is one of the most popular talk show hosts currently on television (as well as frequently the target of criticism for his promotion of far-right rhetoric and conspiracy theories), it is not surprising that his disapproval of the de-sexualization of a marketing campaign for candy quickly became a hot button topic. After months of criticism from various conservative pundits and mocking rebuttals from progressives, it appears that Mars, Incorporated no longer wants to bear the focus on this particular topic.
Therefore, the widely-beloved Maya Rudolph replacing the seven current M&M’s spokescandies: the sarcastic and snide Red (currently voiced by Futurama’s Billy West), the cheerful Yellow (currently voiced by J.K. Simmons), the more chill Blue (voiced by Robb Pruitt), the formerly-seductive Green (voiced by Cree Summer and Larissa Murray), and the nervous Orange (Eric Kirchberger).
Since 2017, Maya Rudolph has voiced characters on the animated Netflix sitcom Big Mouth, for which she has been awarded two Primetime Emmy Awards. She also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for portraying sitting U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday Night Live, and appeared in three seasons of the critically acclaimed NBC sitcom The Good Place, which garnered her another three nominations for a Primetime Emmy.
In short, Mars, Incorporated is bringing in a pretty big heavy hitter with Maya Rudolph to replace the bizarrely controversial M&M’s spokescandies. There is very little in American pop culture that cannot generate controversy in some unexpected way, but hopefully, things go a little smoother with Maya Rudolph and M&M’s.