Trans woman who starred in Hershey’s advert left ‘traumatised’ by ‘tsunami’ of transphobic hate

Fae Johnstone as featured in the Hershey International Women's Day advert.

Trans activist Fae Johnstone says she feels “violated and traumatised” after becoming the subject of a transphobic hate campaign over her starring in a Hershey’s advert.

Johnstone, the executive director of Wisdom2Action, was one of five women featured in Hershey’s International Women’s Day campaign in Canada, appearing in a commercial and on a specially-designed bar.

Her inclusion as a trans woman prompted a right-wing backlash, which included the hashtag #BoycottHersheys trending on Twitter.

As well as being deadnamed and misgendered by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh and Fox’s Tucker Carlson, Johnstone has also had to deal with hateful emails and DMs.

Speaking to PinkNews, Johnstone said: “In the [past] 10 days, I’ve received a tsunami of hate in my mentions, DMs and inbox. 

“I’ve had my deadname outed by Matt Walsh on his show. I’ve been called a pedophile, groomer, t****y and f*g too many times to count. I feel violated and traumatised by this experience.”

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Among the hate, Johnstone said she’s also received a huge wave of solidarity.

“From feminist and queer organisations, to parents of queer and trans kids, and trans folks themselves, I’ve received an incredible outpouring of support,” she added.

Johnstone said the hate campaign she’s been subjected to “is just the latest example of the far-right dehumanising trans people, mobbing us with hate in the hopes of pushing us out of public life”.

“It’s past time we take this seriously – in Canada, America and around the world,” she added.

It comes as Republican lawmakers across the US push bills targeting access to gender-affirming care and other trans rights.

Tennessee recently passed a law criminalising doctors who offer care to trans youth, as well as a ban on drag performers which many say could also be used to target trans performers. The state is also considering a bill which would define sex as immutable.

The Human Rights Campaign is tracking approximately 180 anti-trans bills that have been introduced already this year.

It’s past time we take this seriously – in Canada, America and around the world”.

Johnstone was one of five “young female change-makers” platformed by Hershey’s to “to celebrate women and give young girls positive possibility models”, she previously explained in a Twitter thread.

After the backlash that ensued, she said: “My life will never be the same. …

“To my trans sisters, brothers and siblings: please take care of yourselves. Hate is rising but we aren’t alone in this fight. We have allies and accomplices on our side. 

“It is hard right now, but we will get through this.” 

In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for Hershey’s said that the company recognises the “strength created by diversity”.

“Over the past three years, our Women’s History Month programming has been an inclusive celebration of women. We appreciate the countless people and meaningful partnerships behind these efforts,” it added.

It’s not the first time right-wing groups have voiced their disapproval of brands trying to be trans-inclusive.

Last year, M&S, Tampax, and even Peppa Pig were the subject of brief boycotts.

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