Food giant KFC its owner Yum
Brands and mega conglomerate Kraft Brands Monday denounced a newsletter
by an Inland Empire GOP women’s club depicting Sen. Barack Obama on
a phony food stamp with a bucket of KFC chicken, a slab of ribs, a pitcher
of Kool-Aid and a slice of watermelon.
In exclusive written statements
to the Black Voice News, KFC and Kraft Foods which owns Kool-Aid demanded
that the Chaffey Community Republican Women Federation responsible for
distributing the degrading material immediately cease and desist from
further use or distribution of materials containing KFC and Kool-Aid
“We have also requested a public statement from the group acknowledging that KFC had no part in the creation or distribution of this material” said KFC spokesman
“The actions by this group
are a disparagement of KFC and the company reserves all rights to protect
its trademarks and brand image against uses such as this.”
Kraft Foods has requested immediate
removal of the Kool-Aid pitchman image from the organization’s newsletter.
“We do not condone their use of our trademark to promote their agenda and we have requested any public apology the organization makes acknowledges Kraft was unaware of and is strongly opposed to this use,” Kraft spokesman Bridget A. MacConnell
said in a written statement.
The swift action by KFC and
Kraft comes in the wake of international fall-out over the disparaging
The GOP newsletter Trumpeter,
which was sent to about 200 members and associates of the group, has
drawn worldwide condemnation from the Republican Party, members of the
Inland political group, elected officials, Democrats and others as racist.
Under intense pressure the
group’s president Diane Fedele has agreed to resign and says she plans
to send a letter of apology to her members and to make a public apology
at the club’s meeting this week. Fedele did not respond to an interview
request Monday morning seeking reaction to the latest developments.
She accepted responsibility
for the October publication, which she created. The illustration was
something she said she downloaded from a chain of e-mails and decided
to re-print it. She said she wanted to deride a comment Obama made over
the summer about how as an African American he “doesn’t look like
all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”
Fedele told The Press Enterprise
which first aired the story on its website she does not associate the
those food items with stereotypes about African-Americans.
“It was just food. It didn’t
mean anything else. It was strictly an attempt to point out the outrageousness
of his statement.”
She said she also wasn’t
trying to make a statement linking Obama and food stamps, although her
introductory text to the illustration makes a clear association between
Obama and food stamps.
Shelia Raines, an African American
member of the club, was the first person to complain to Fedele several
days after no one in the organization took offense to the illustration.
“I was appalled. I had to
take a stand,” explained Raines. “I had an hour long phone conversation
with Fedele (whom I don’t believe is a racist). She didn’t get it.
She has yet to apologize to me. She failed to see the implication of
her actions, the unbelievable hurt she has caused, Sen. Obama, African-Americans
Raines of San Bernardino, said she is disappointed that for several days no one in the club raised objection to the depiction. In a BVN interview Friday Raines said she cried after reading the newsletter and feels an incredible sense of betrayal and sadness.
“I haven’t slept for days
and will probably seek medical attention.”
She acknowledged that this
is not the first incident involving Fedele that raised a question of
objectionable behavior. “Usually I’d let it run off my shoulder.
This time she went too far.”
She said while many Republican
Party officials have taken swift action to condemn the material, still
others have admonished her for ‘going to the media’.
“Some members felt that the
matter should have been handled internally.” She said she has worked
tirelessly to bring other minorities under the Republican tent and now
Political and news Web sites around the world last week linked to The Press Enterprise’s online story about the controversy, which sparked widespread debate, blog comments,
phone calls and thousands of
The depiction prompted condemnation
from Acquanetta Warren, a Fontana council member and another African-American
member of the organization, which is known in the Inland community for
its philanthropy and voter registration efforts.
“This is wrong. This does
not reflect our principles and values,” said Warren who has received
more than 1200 e-mails causing her computer account to crash. Warren
who is regional vice chairwomen for the California Republican Party
and served as a Republican delegate to the national convention in September
said the illustration tarnishes the good work of the organization.
“Most of these ladies are
volunteers who put country first. They really care and are not racist.”
California Republican Party
chairman Ron Nehring denounced the newsletter in a written statement
Thursday and again during an address to Federation members Saturday.
“Any material that invokes issues, related to race is absolutely unacceptable.”
Sen. Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga
and Assemblyman Bill Emmerson, R-Redlands both up for reelection, condemned
the newsletter after the controversial illustration was circulated around
Nehring also denounced material
posted on the Sacramento County Republican Party website. The Sacramento
Bee printed an image it said was captured from the site that depicted
Obama in a turban next to Osama bin Laden. It said: “The difference
between Osama and Obama is just a little B.S.” The site also encouraged
members to “Waterboard Barack Obama,” a reference to a torture technique.
The Sacramento County party removed the material Tuesday and fired its
web administrator responsible for site content.