This morning, after tweeting about her own recent pivot to healthy eating, Keke posted this on her page:
EBT, also known as food stamps or SNAP, is a government-run program that gives individuals with low incomes a small budget every month to buy groceries. And the idea that the government should control what EBT recipients are allowed to buy is a talking point often made by conservatives who would like to see the program either reduced or cut entirely. (Trump, for example, has proposed getting rid of EBT and replacing it with preset boxes of food, in which the recipient has no choice in what they get.)
Suffice to say, Keke was ratioed pretty hard on Twitter for her suggestion — generating a lot more comments than likes.
Many folks were upset that Keke — a very wealthy person — was trying to control what poor people eat.
One Twitter user called the concept "disturbing" and questioned, "Why should poor people be denied that small pleasure that impacts you in no way?"
Others suggested that instead of trying to limit what people living in poverty can eat, we work to actually fix the poverty itself:
Several people in Keke's replies pointed out the existence of food deserts. Food deserts are areas — often low-income neighborhoods — where residents do not have access to fresh, healthy food, because grocery chains and farmers markets aren't doing business there:
A few commenters reminded Keke that healthy foods often come with a higher price tag. If you're living on a tight monthly food budget, the costs of fresh meat and produce could be prohibitive, and they're hard to stretch out over a few weeks:
And this Twitter user reminded Keke that people living in poverty have just as much of a right to enjoy junk food as anyone else — whether it's for indulgence, convenience, or any other reason they want. How they eat is their business!
Keke has engaged with a lot of the backlash she's receiving on Twitter. She deleted the initial tweet, and in subsequent tweets, she amended her stance to say that she believes healthy foods should be free to those with EBT cards:
She then tweeted at Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to see if she could make that happen:
Keke added that her own family has used EBT in the past, and said it's "nothing to be ashamed of," and that "they should make it better."
The TV host further addressed the controversy on Instagram, writing in part: "...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!"
You can read Keke's full Instagram response below: