Passing out food at award shows has now become something of a "thing," starting when Ellen DeGeneres handed out pizza at the Academy Awards two years ago. After all, famous people get hungry, too—especially those who have been subsisting on "kale and dust" for weeks to fit into their unforgiving $5,000 Prada gowns.
For last night's Emmys, host Jimmy Kimmel tasked the kid actors from the absurdly popular Netflix series Stranger Things with handing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which—according to the gag, anyway—were being prepared backstage in the thousands by Kimmel's own mother. The pre-teen squad—Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, and Gaten Matarazzo—cruised down the aisles of the ceremony on their signature cruiser bikes, distributing the sandwiches, along with juice boxes and motherly handwritten notes, to attendees. It was all fun and fanfare (damn, Eleven in that blonde wig is just the cutest thing!)… until it wasn't. This is why we can't have nice things.
First of all, Los Angeles Times writer Gerrick D. Kennedy had some rather unkind words about the composition and quality of the sandwich, and was less-than-impressed that they were being carted around in those blue IKEA bags.
Actress Emily Ratajkowski was similarly unimpressed, telling TMZ that they "weren't that good."
How badly can one fuck up a PB&J? Did they use bottom-of-the-barrel raspberry jam and crunchy all-natural peanut butter on stale multigrain bread, or something? Even that sounds halfway decent, on second thought.
Tom Colicchio was more forgiving, however.
Although Kimmel made jokes about the gluten and peanut content of the incoming meals to warn those with food allergies—"We can only afford one EpiPen," he joked, also commenting that those with gluten allergies were "annoying"—there was apparently still chatter about whether it was irresponsible to pass out snacks containing nuts at all. ("You never just hand out peanut butter. That's such a liability," one Emmy guest reportedly complained within earshot of the LA Times reporters who were on-site.)
Regarding the incident, Adam Bailine, VP of Marketing and Communications at the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, told MUNCHIES: "We received complaints and concerns regarding the broadcast. This is very much on our radar… It is extremely risky to pull a stunt like this without considering the danger."
Bailine also included a statement that the organization issued to ABC today regarding the dangers of handing out peanut products and making light of food allergies.
"While we understand the joke presented by Jimmy Kimmel was aimed at the recent pricing events of epinephrine auto-injectors that has been broadcast in the media over the last several weeks, it wasn't well-received by the larger food allergy community," read one portion of the statement.
Then, to complicate this attempted act of adorableness even further, McLaughlin and Matarazzo mentioned at an after-party that they didn't receive any sandwiches for their own enjoyment. Unpaid labor? Justice for the Stranger Things kids!
What did we just witness? We thought we were at the Microsoft Theater, but maybe it was the Upside Down.