Two well-known companies are under fire for efforts to get pro-LBGTQ+ books into the hands of children.
On Thursday, Pizza Hut’s “BOOK IT!” reading program sent out an email promoting three children’s books “celebrating Pride Month and the diversity of the LBGTQ+ community.”
One book, Big Wig, features a child who dresses in drag. Another, Be Amazing, tells the “history of the LGBTQ community.” The third, Perfectly Pegasus, contains a more subtle message about loneliness and friendship.
BOOK IT! bills itself as a “free reading incentive program for PreK-6th grade classrooms, parents and homeschool families.”
Popular in the ’80s and ’90s, the reading program was rebooted by Pizza Hut last year in an effort to woo parents who remember participating in the program when they were in school.
According to a company press release, the program is offered through a “partnership with the nonprofit organization First Book.” First Book describes itself as “rooted in diversity, inclusion, and togetherness,” declaring its “aim to apply our expertise to join the fight for racial equity.”
The controversial email went viral after being shared by the popular social media account Libs of TikTok.
This comes just two weeks after an internal email was leaked from insurance giant State Farm in which agents in Florida were encouraged to consider donating pro-LGBTQ books to their local school libraries.
The email was exposed through a website and video using the slogan “Like a creepy neighbor,” playing on State Farm’s slogan, “Like a good neighbor.” Consumers’ Research, the nonprofit organization behind the “creepy neighbor” exposé, has recently launched other public awareness campaigns about corporate “wokeism.”
In response to backlash from the campaign, State Farm dropped its support of the controversial program.
“Conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents,” State Farm spokesperson Roszell Gadson told the Washington Post. “We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic.”
These book programs came to light at the end of a school year full of conflicts over what many parents deemed inappropriate, sexually-themed books and curriculum in their children’s schools.
This led some states, most prominently Florida, to enact legislation banning sexual teaching and other content for early elementary students, even as some corporate giants such as Disney continued to aggressively support LGBTQ+ causes.