Keke Palmer faces criticism over tweet about food stamps only working on ‘healthy items’

Keke Palmer faces backlash over food stamp tweet (Getty Images for Gabrielle's Ang)
Keke Palmer faces backlash over food stamp tweet (Getty Images for Gabrielle’s Ang)

Keke Palmer is facing criticism over a tweet in which she suggested food stamps or EBT cards only work on healthy food items.

On Monday, the Hustlers star wrote in a since-deleted tweet: “Imagine if your EBT card could only work on healthy items…”

EBT cards, otherwise known as food stamps, allow low-income individuals a small budget to buy groceries each month.

The tweet prompted near-instantaneous backlash from Palmer’s followers, who accused her of trying to regulate what people can eat. Others attempted to explain to the actress why food deserts and higher prices for healthy items make it difficult for low-income individuals to afford the same groceries as wealthier individuals such as Palmer.

“Imagine if poor people could just buy and eat whatever they wanted and not what rich people deemed appropriate,” one person tweeted.

Another said: “I generally rock with you queen but this is a bad take. Healthier options are almost always more expensive. Most people that use EBT also live in what is called food deserts, where there aren’t good options for them in the beginning. Policing what poor people buy is not it.”

“People can use Snap/EBT at farmer’s markets in a lot of locations to get fresh fruits/veggies for reasonable prices. Problem is most farmers markets don’t set up stands in low income neighbourhoods,” someone else wrote.

Following the backlash, Palmer attempted to clarify her comments on both Twitter and Instagram, where she said that she thinks healthy foods should be free with EBT cards and seemingly tried to walk back her original statement suggesting regulations be placed on what foods can be purchased with EBT cards.

On Instagram, where she shared a screenshot of her original tweet, the 27-year-old wrote: “Added for context: I have been eating extremely healthy lately and I have been sad about my debit card balance because of it.

“Healthy food is more expensive for a reason. It’s fresh, good for you and gives you energy. Bad foods are bad for a reason. They last long, they taste good because of tons of sodium and they aren’t expensive because they’re honestly not food. Mostly likely they are food-LIKE products.

“In any event imagine if you could get whatever healthy foods you wanted on your EBT card. Like all the healthy foods could swipe for free. Pretty much a reward for being healthy but even more so giving homes a break that want to eat healthy but can’t afford it!”

On Twitter, the actress also attempted to reach out to vice president-elect Kamala Harris about her suggestion, tweeting: “Hey @KamalaHarris I know you just started but me and my friends were talking about it and we think EBT cards should swipe free on all items considered HEALTHY. Xoxo.”

In replies to tweets criticising her statement, Palmer reiterated her belief that “all these things should be switched and made easier for people within that income”.

“They shouldn’t have to worry, they should have health food stores in their neighbourhoods and their EBT should afford them those foods for free as well,” she said.

In another tweet, she said her comments were “not a suggestion for solving all low-income issues,” but rather a “hopeful solution”.

In response to Palmer’s multiple attempts to double-down on or clarify her comments regarding EBT cards, many of her followers suggested she stop tweeting.

“I wish Keke Palmer would stop tweeting,” one person wrote, while another said: “Keke Palmer I love you but please stop. Log out for the day.”

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