Actor Ben Stein is at the center of a social media firestorm after he claimed in a viral video he misses Aunt Jemima.
The 78-year-old seen holding a bottle of syrup is experiencing fierce backlash from all directions, including from outspoken comedian D.L. Hughley.
The video, first posted to Truth Social, the social media platform launched by former President Donald Trump after he was banned from Twitter, begins with Stein talking about having breakfast for dinner.
“Aunt Jemima, yummy, pancake syrup,” Stein says.
He goes on to address what prompted Quaker Oats, the parent corporation of the brand, to remove the image of Aunt Jemima.
“This use to show a large African-American woman chef, but because of the inherent racism of America’s corporate culture, they decided to make it a white person or maybe no person at all,” Stein continued.
“I prefer it as a Black person showing their incredible skill at making pancakes,” Stein continued as the video clip ended.
D.L., whose real name is Darryl Hughley, pounced on Stein’s comments.
“If you called #Kanye or #Kyrie anti semites but are silent about #BenStein saying he misses #AuntJemimah on the syrup bottle you’re a f—–g hypocrite,” Hughley wrote on Twitter.
Aunt Jemima was rebranded to “The Pearl Milling Company” in 2021. The rebrand was a byproduct of the racial reckoning corporate brands were faced with following the murder of George Floyd.
According to Pepsi Co., the Quaker Oats parent company, Pearl Milling bought the Aunt Jemima brand in 1925.
Morgan Ross shared a photo of minstrel-like characters featuring a Black woman with a red and white patterned bandana mirroring the Aunt Jemima character.
“It’s not racist I swear!” Ross wrote.
Stein’s career on-screen dates back to the 1980s, having acted on a variety and television shows and movies, including “The Wonder Years,” “Ghostbusters,” “Seinfeld,” and “Family Guy.” He also had a recurring role in “The Hughleys,” a show Hughley starred in and was a writer.
Despite his lengthy career, those accolades did not stop other social media users from excoriating Stein.
“Why did black people have to go and get all this pride and dignity and ruin everything?!! Now I can’t shout to my wife, ‘Just grab the syrup with the fat black woman on it!!!’ when we’re in the store. Woke!!!!!” Lamont Thompson said on Twitter.
“A prime example of “When you don’t know the context and history behind a conversation you should just STFU and listen,” Nnedi Okorafor said.
Quaker Foods North America apologized for featuring Aunt Jemima for years amid the rebrand.
“We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype,” Kristin Kroepfl of Quaker Foods North America said in a statement.
The video, viewed more than six million times in less than 24 hours, has some criticizing Stein in more blunt terms based on his comments.
“Is anyone surprised that Ben Stein is a racist. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?” Bob Hille wrote on Twitter.