A chocolate treat for children emblazoned with the letters ‘KKK’ has sparked outrage among parents, with one mother saying she felt sickened after her son got the surprise gift.
Kinder Surprise, with its iconic hidden toy, has been a popular candy for children for decades but Ferrero, the Italian company behind the sweet, seem to have made a massive gaffe in a batch of limited edition toys released to celebrate 50 years of Kinder.
Kimberley, an Australian mother, bought the candy for her 15-month-old son and was shocked to discover that it contained a white Kinder Egg figure holding three balloons, bearing the letters ‘KKK’ – the same initials as the Ku Klux Klan white supremacist group.
Kimberly said she felt sick at the thought of her young son playing with the toy and wondered if it was “subliminal marketing.”
“This is a massive oversight that anyone could have seen,” she told parenting website Kidspot. “It’s also hard to find something to say as the initials of Kinder Surprise aren’t KKK… It raises questions as to what the company supports and if this is subliminal marketing.”
A picture of the toy was shared on Facebook by another woman along with the comment: “Look what my niece (of mixed race) just found in her Kinder Surprise – KKK… what on Earth Kinder?”
However, not everyone was convinced that the three Ks were problematic. Another woman wrote: “[It’s] nothing to do with the KKK. It isn’t the KKK; it is the KKKK – Knights of the Klu Klux Klan. FOUR ‘K’s! Get a life and quit trying to find something RACIST in EVERYTHING PEOPLE TRY TO DO.”
A Ferrero spokesperson apologized for any offence caused by the toy and sought to explain how it came to feature three Ks.
“Initially it was designed with one balloon with a ‘K’ on it. However, two more were added to provide a more robust structure, as the safety and quality of our toys is of the utmost importance,” the spokesperson said. “We had absolutely no intention to make any other associations and we truly apologize to our consumers for any unintentional offence caused.
“We do not support this organization in any way. The ‘K’ on the balloons was solely meant to represent Kinder. We are revisiting our internal processes to ensure something like this cannot happen again,” the spokesperson added.
Ferrero said that the remaining stock of the toys is being destroyed and it was withheld from other markets.