A short story from Julie Kelly and Amy Levy:
Gary Hirshberg is the founder and chairman of Stonyfield Yogurt, as well as the head of a group called Just Label It that promotes GMO labeling. If there was an award for the most arrogant self-promoter in the food movement, he would win hands down and that’s saying a lot because the competition is fierce.
Several years ago, Hirshberg sold most of his company to Dannon, which was great for him but bad for everyone else because it afforded him the time and money to lecture all of us about food. A man who has made a fortune off the American food system refers to it as an unjust system that is “food apartheid, food slavery and food prison.”
He is as smart and shrewd of a food company executive you will find. A few years ago, Hirshberg realized he could promote his organic yogurt – and himself – as the face of the GMO labeling crusade. He’s used this issue to achieve rock star status among foodies. He’s given a TED talk, appeared on Dr. Oz and even testified on Capitol Hill.
He also appears to be a frustrated actor because he loves to be in front of a camera, listening to himself talk or playing a funny character. His latest video is filmed in your typical American grocery store, er food prison, when none other than Gwyneth Paltrow emerges from her jail cell in the dairy aisle to interact with an actual human being.
We can only imagine the discussion that led to the production of this video
Very Important Meeting at Just Label It Headquarters
Yogurt Executive: I am not famous enough. Let’s make a commercial
Yogurt Lackey: I thought you wanted to label GMOs.
Yogurt Executive: That’s what I meant.
Yogurt Lackey: What is our commercial about?
Yogurt Executive: It is about how women are too stupid and frazzled to understand how a QR code works.
Yogurt Lackey: That is brilliant. Women like being stupid and frazzled. Who should be in our commercial?
Yogurt Executive: Me.
Yogurt Lackey: Of course. Who else?
Yogurt Executive: A really white woman.
Yogurt Lackey: Naturally. You must mean Gwyneth Paltrow.
Yogurt Executive: Yes. She is the whitest. Also, she will make me famous.
Yogurt Lackey: Who else?
Yogurt Executive: Another white woman, except tired and with spoiled, well-fed children.
Yogurt Lackey: Yes, all women who are afraid of GMOS and are too stupid and frazzled to use a QR code love Gwyneth.
Yogurt Executive: We should film the commercial in a scary American Food Prison.
Yogurt Lackey: Walmart?
Yogurt Executive: Gross, no. Stupid, frazzled women and Gwyneth Paltrow do not shop at Walmart. It has to be an upscale American Food Prison.
Yogurt Lackey: What should the stupid, frazzled white woman with nasty children be doing?
Yogurt Executive: She will walk through the American Food Prison aisles with her ungrateful children and be overwhelmed by the literally thousands of food choices all around her.
Yogurt Lackey: Having so many food choices in American Food Prisons can be very stressful. Is this where she should show how she is too stupid and frazzled to understand a QR code?
Yogurt Executive: Exactly. She will pull out her $600 smart phone to demonstrate how stupid and frazzled she is and then her psychotic children will deliberately smash food in the aisles of the food prison.
Yogurt Lackey: This is so relatable. All women understand the struggle of being stupid, frazzled, and having awful children who throw watermelons when they are bored.
Yogurt Executive: That’s when Gwyneth Paltrow will appear from the giant dairy section and pretend to know what a can of food is so that she can borrow the $600 phone since she left hers in her Range Rover.
Yogurt Lackey: All women will love this commercial because they are stupid and frazzled and want Gwyneth to borrow their $600 smart phone in the aisles of an upscale American Food Prison.
Yogurt Executive: I just am doing my part to change an unjust food system for stupid, frazzled women with too many choices at upscale grocery stores, I mean, food prisons. Oh, and getting famous.