A comedic product placement for Sabra hummus near the start of Stephen Colbert’s first episode as host of “The Late Show” on Tuesday night earned him praise from marketing experts, but catcalls from supporters of a movement to boycott Israeli-owned companies.
In a segment that simultaneously mocked paid endorsements and was one, Mr. Colbert explained to viewers that he had made a deal with a demonic amulet, which gave him the chance to host the show but required “certain regrettable compromises,” like endorsing Sabra-brand hummus.
While most of Mr. Colbert’s viewers were quite likely unaware of any political implications of the tongue-in-cheek endorsement, fans who support a Palestinian-led campaign to pressure Israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions, or B.D.S., were dismayed by the gag. The hummus, which is produced in the United States, has been subject to calls for a boycott because it is made in a joint venture between PepsiCo and the Strauss Group, an Israeli food company that has provided financial support to the Israel Defense Forces’ elite Golani Brigade.
While the brand responded to the plug by playing along on Twitter...
.@colbertlateshow Well done Stephen! Your shameless plug of our hummus is pleasing unto his Reptilian Majesty. #LSSC pic.twitter.com/ngbljSztRG— Sabra (@Sabra) September 9, 2015
...advocates of the boycott campaign expressed their disappointment on the social network during the broadcast.
.@colbertlateshow you know Sabra supports Israeli occupation and destruction of Palestinian culture, right? #corporatesocialresponsibility— Adham Sahloul (@adhamsahloul) September 9, 2015
Very disappointed in the Sabra plugs on the first night of Colbert's show. Booooo.— Lila Yomtoob (@lilabird) September 9, 2015
So, what's up with the endorsing a company that supports a brutal and racist occupation on your first night, @StephenAtHome? #sabra #bds— Syjil Ashraf (@thedailysyjil) September 9, 2015
So sad that these brave fighters for justice had to endure a comedy skit. This was clearly a microaggression and CBS must be sued for making these poor people have to live through the trauma of watching Stephen Colbert eat hummus that they don't approve of.