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Alimentation Couche-Tard has come under fire for its proprietary Sloche strawberry-flavored gummy spider candy from community groups that find the packaging racist, according to The (Montreal) Gazette.
The candy's packaging features a cartoon of a young black man with a gold tooth, earrings and a snarl. On his head is a huge spider whose legs resemble dreadlocks.
In May, the Centre for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) in Montreal wrote to Couche-Tard, asking the company to pull the product. The company responded with a letter, made public by the CRARR.
"Since teens are often unaffected by 'traditional' advertising, we have given Sloche products a personality based on an approach that is off the wall and somewhat tongue in cheek and, therefore, more likely to grab their attention," the letter, from Couche-Tard vice-president of operations Jean-Luc Meunier, said.
"We may be a bit irreverent, but there is really no reason for us to be spiteful or racist."
Couche-Tard has agreed not to restock the candy in its current packaging once its inventory is depleted. The company made no further comment.