Criticism over Whittaker's pink and blue chocolate fundraiser chocolate has been labelled "pathetic" and "a silly thing to get upset about," by TVNZ1 Breakfast hosts Jack Tame and Daniel Faitaua.
The new Coconut Ice Surprise raises money for Plunket and is a take on baby gender reveals but critics said the options reinforce gender binary stereotypes, "ignores a load of gender identities" and even "contribute to issues such as toxic masculinity".
Breakfast host Hayley Holt, today recounted her initial reaction to the criticism.
"When I first heard this, I threw my phone in disgust because I was kind of thinking this that this was the end of the world, we’d be fighting in the streets with sticks and stones over this sort of stuff."
"When I had someone explain it to me I could kind of understand how people would be excluded, people who already feel excluded, are no excluded from this fun game."
Faitaua was scathing in his response, saying critics needed to get over themselves.
"I could be offended because I’m a person of colour and it has the word 'coconut' on it but I’m not, this is where it’s getting to, and then the colour of chocolate, brown, oh my Gosh, not brown 'cause I’m brown, I can’t relate, it’s horrible, it’s racist, give me a break," Faitaua said.
"This is absolutely pathetic, people need to get over themselves, it’s Whittaker's at its best, helping a charity, helping Plunket and doing well for it."
Criticism of the fundraiser took the focus away from legitimate issues around gender, Tame said.
"I think it’s a silly thing to get upset about, I do think there are issues around gender that we all need to be sensitive to," he said.
"However, I think making a fuss about stuff like this actually does the cause more harm than good in that it enrages so many people that go 'for goodness sake, are we really getting upset about chocolate?' And that means they might disregard the real issues."