An author says he was "pleasantly shocked" after initiating social and corporate change via Twitter this week.
Marvel Comics writer Saladin Ahmed tagged the Kellogg Co. via tweet, citing artwork on cereal boxes he said teaches “kids racism.”
"Hey @KelloggsUS why is literally the only brown corn pop on the whole cereal box the janitor? this is teaching kids racism," he wrote, adding a photo of a Corn Pops box to the tweet.
In the photo, there are numerous bright yellow pops doing various things, while one is a darker shade of yellow or brown and appears to be waxing the floor or doing some kind of janitorial work.
The scribe continued, "Yes it’s a tiny thing, but when you see your kid staring at this over breakfast and realize millions of other kids are doing the same…"
yes its a tiny thing, but when you see your kid staring at this over breakfast and realize millions of other kids are doing the same…— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) October 24, 2017
Kellogg was quick to respond and jump into action.
"Kellogg is committed to diversity & inclusion. We did not intend to offend – we apologize. The artwork is updated & will be in stores soon," the company tweeted Tuesday.
Kellogg is committed to diversity & inclusion. We did not intend to offend – we apologize. The artwork is updated & will be in stores soon.— Kellogg's (@KelloggsUS) October 24, 2017
Kellogg also addressed the matter in a statement to ABC News, saying, "Kellogg Company has respect for all people, and our commitment to diversity and inclusion has long been a top priority. We take feedback very seriously, and it was never our intention to offend anyone. We apologize sincerely. The package artwork has been updated and will begin to appear on store shelves soon as it flows through distribution."
Ahmed, an esteemed writer for the "Black Bolt" series, told ABC News, "I was pleasantly shocked at how quickly and decisively they responded."
He was also amazed by how technology can be used to create positive change.
today I used the computer in my pocket to get a cereal company to make their boxes less racist what even is the 21st century— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) October 25, 2017
or, y’know, ‘cereal company changes box so the only brown character isn’t the janitor’ https://t.co/W2iSpL5fVZ— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) October 25, 2017
The downside for Ahmed is that social media can also be a place for hate, as he told his followers he'd been getting "more slurs and threats than usual in my mentions right now. I’d appreciate folks reporting tweets along these lines. I can’t read any more."
He added to ABC News: "I've been both amused and disturbed to see how upset certain people were. It was a relatively tepid tweet and Kellogg's is making a simple coloring change to future boxes, not recalling racist Corn Pops."
this single like makes up for the hundreds of racists in my mentions right now pic.twitter.com/iQG4rBVrE2— Saladin Ahmed (@saladinahmed) October 26, 2017
There's a lesson to be learned here, Ahmed adds, saying, "It's absurd to claim that the images and stories kids consume day after day after day have no impact on the way they think and look at the world. Pictures tell stories. 'The only brown character in this story is the one cleaning up after everyone else' is a bad story. Changing it isn't a big deal."
Marvel Comics and ABC News are owned by the Disney Co.