Tea brands Yorkshire Tea and PG Tips have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) following boycott threats from rightwing critics.
It began when Laura Towler, a right-wing vlogger based in Yorkshire, praised her local brand for not having voiced support for the movement.
Yorkshire Tea said it had not yet commented on the BLM protests as it had been “taking time to educate” itself.
It tweeted: “Please don’t buy our tea again.”
In recent days, brands across the world have shown their support for Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd – the black man who died while being restrained by a Minnesota police officer.
Yorkshire Tea, which is owned by Taylors of Harrogate, said: “We stand against racism.”
PG Tips, which is owned by consumer goods giant Unilever, soon lent its support to its rival as right-wing commentators urged a boycott on Twitter.
“If you are boycotting teas that stand against racism, you’re going to have to find two new brands now #blacklivesmatter #solidaritea,” the brand tweeted.
It prompted a flurry of support online, with some saying the brands had made them feel proud to be British.
There were also calls for other big tea brands, such as Twinings and Tetley, to show their support of BLM.
Some however accused Yorkshire Tea of “virtue signalling”, noting the tea industry’s historical associations with colonialism and slavery.
Others accused it of supporting riots, while Ms Towler changed her Twitter profile to read: “Disavowed by Yorkshire Tea.”
On Monday, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos shared an email exchange with a customer who had criticised his firm’s support of the movement.
In a statement on his Instagram page, Mr Bezos said: “This sort of hate shouldn’t be allowed to hide in the shadows. You’re the kind of customer I’m happy to lose.”