Listerine faces boycott calls over LGBTQ+ packaging

Calls to boycott dental care brand Listerine are mounting online after images circulated of the brand’s “Care with Pride” packaging, an initiative that supports nonprofit LGBTQ groups.

Calls for boycotts have plagued several companies in recent months, including Bud Light, which was first criticized in April for its partnership with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney. This month, Coca-Cola came under fire after the company reportedly donated $4 million to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. A local chapter of the nonprofit sparked controversy after spreading pro-Palestinian messages on social media.

TikTok right-wing account Libs posted a photo of Listerine packaging on X, formerly Twitter, on Sunday afternoon, garnering over 1.5 million views within the first 24 hours it was online. The bottle design includes images of Pride flags and a description of the company’s Care with Pride campaign.

“Listerine supports organizations that promote gender reassignment surgery for minors. They also make their stance clear with the packaging,” reads the Libs of TikTok caption alongside the photo. “Stop giving money to companies that hate you and what you stand for!”

Healthcare company Johnson & Johnson, which owns Listerine, launched the Care with Pride initiative in 2011 and has since donated over $1.5 million to nonprofit LGBTQ groups, according to the company’s website. In June, several Johnson & Johnson products featured Care with Pride packaging, CNET reported, and in 2023 the initiative focused on the nonprofit advocacy group Family Equality.

Libs of TikTok has targeted Listerine in the past for its Care with Pride packaging, including a post to X on August 15 that showed an image of the mouthwash bottle’s design and a screenshot from Johnson & Johnson’s website about the initiative . This post has been viewed over 629,000 times.

Several users on One user who re-shared the Libs of TikTok image claimed that they had used the mouthwash “daily for almost 35 years” but stated that they “spent my last penny on your brand.”

“Advocating the sexualization of children is not the moral gain you were hoping for,” the user added.

Others mocked the design, such as Christian online personality Taylor Marshall, who posted a photo of the Listerine bottle with the caption, “Listerine is ‘so stunning and bold’.”

Newsweek emailed Johnson & Johnson’s press team for comment on Monday.

Conservative groups have also repeatedly targeted Burger King, which initially came under fire online for removing advertising from Rumble, an online video platform, in response to the website hosting Russell Brand’s podcast. The British comedian was accused of rape and sexual assault.

Listerine faces boycott calls over LGBTQ+ packaging
This photo was taken on February 5, 2013 at the launch of the Listerine 21 Day Challenge at the Gabarron Museum in New York City. Mouthwash brand Listerine is facing boycott calls over its packaging design in support of LGBTQ+ groups.
Jerritt Clark/Getty Images