I feel sympathy for Ramona Hazan. The London-based entrepreneur launched her company, MeToo! Foods, more than a decade ago, drawing on her family’s Mediterranean heritage for a line of hummus, falafel, dips, and sauces. But in the wake of the global #MeToo movement—in which women are using that hashtag to share stories of sexual abuse and harassment—Hazan tells The Guardian she has seen retailers shy away from buying her products. She’s decided it’s time to finally ditch the name.
The name for MeToo! Foods, according to its website, came from a family story: “The creation of Me Too! came about by my family saying ‘let’s all sit down and catch up’ and me as a little girl shouting ‘me too!’ ‘me too!’ so I wouldn’t be left out (I never was left out—believe me!)” But the phrase has become synonymous with sexual harassment and the downfall of once powerful men including Harvey Weinstein and Mario Batali. Hazan thought perhaps the phrase would eventually become less charged, but that hasn’t happened. She also considered trying to embrace the hashtag and the movement it signifies, but—wisely, I’d say—decided against it.
“I thought, what happens if we really jump into this and use it as a marketing tool. We’re a female-owned business: ‘MeToo! For #MeToo’,” Hazan told The Guardian. “But we didn’t want to benefit our business on the back of other people’s suffering.”
She says she plans to rebrand her company with a name that’s more “straight-forward,” but hasn’t yet announced what it will be. Here’s hoping that retailers pick up her products again, because she sounds like a nice, considerate lady who’s just trying to sell some tasty, non-controversial hummus.