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Video: Actor Ben Stein says he misses ‘large African American woman’ on Aunt Jemima syrup bottles

Col. Catherine Barrington, 90th Missile Wing Commander, grills pancakes as the annual Chuckwagon Pancake Breakfast, July 28, 2022, Cheyenne, Wyoming. The annual pancake breakfast occurs during Cheyenne Frontier Days and serves over 100,000 pancakes. (U. S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sarah Post)
February 23, 2023

Actor Ben Stein recently caused controversy on social media after posting a video on Truth Social proclaiming he misses when Aunt Jemima syrup bottles featured “a large African American woman chef.”

“Aunt Jemima, yummy, pancake syrup,” Stein, 78, explained in the video. “Now, this used to show a large African American woman chef, but because of the inherent racism of Americans’ corporate culture, they decided to make it a white person, or maybe no person at all.”

“But, I prefer when it was a black person, showing their incredible skill at making pancakes. So, God bless you all and have a good evening,” he added.

Aunt Jemima syrup was renamed Pearl Milling Company and rebranded in 2020. In June of that year, Quaker Oats described the character’s origins as “based on a racial stereotype.”

“While the name on the box has changed, the great tasting products — the ‘pearl’ inside the familiar red box — remains the same, with a mission to create joyful breakfast moments for everyone,” the company said, according to the New York Post.

Kristin Kroepfl, vice president and chief marketing officer of Quaker Foods North America, stated, “We recognize Aunt Jemima’s origins are based on a racial stereotype.”

Kroepfl added that it was part of an effort by the company “to make progress toward racial equality.”