Donald Trump Jr.’s Skittles Comparison Used to Be a Feminist Meme

The internet never forgets. It just remembers differently.

Donald Trump Jr. gestures to the crowd after delivering a speech on the second day of the Republican National Convention on July 19, 2016, at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.

Photographer: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When Donald Trump Jr. compared refugees to a bowl of potentially poisonous Skittles, internet outrage ensued. Ben Grelle's anger was a little more personal.

The 35-year-old comedian from St. Louis, Missouri, coined an eerily similar slogan two years ago, and has seen versions of it rattle around the internet ever since.

"You say not all men are monsters?" he wrote on his blog, in reaction to defenders of a man who went on a killing spree after being rejected by women. "Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% of them are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful." His words were quickly taken from his blog post and made into a graphic that was associated with a movement called #YesAllWomen, which tracked misogyny against women.

The actual text of the graphics in Trump Jr.'s tweet, with his father's campaign logo and slogan stripped across the bottom, appears to have originally been tweeted by former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh. The idea has sprouted up in several forms over the last few years, showing how an idea can evolve once the internet grabs hold.

The picture used in the image tweeted by Trump Jr. was originally taken by a former refugee, who also said he didn't support the message, the BBC reported.

Trump Jr.'s tweet reminded some of Grelle's work, even if they didn't remember the exact source.

Tracking down the origin of things tweeted and retweeted by the social media accounts of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and his inner circle has become something of a sport. In July, Trump himself tweeted a picture, criticized as antisemitic, that was linked to white supremacists.

The same analogy—using a bowl of snacks to demonstrate the danger of a few bad apples—was used in November 2015 by Mike Huckabee in 2015 after the terror attacks in Paris. "If you bought a 5 pound bag of peanuts," he said in an interview with MSNBC, "and you knew that in the 5 pound bag of peanuts there were about 10 peanuts that were deadly poisonous, would you feed them to your kids?"

Each time the idea popped up, Grelle said he was attacked online. "I have a few anonymous messengers who tell me I am responsible for the spread of fear and hate," he said. "That they hope I'm 'proud of myself.'" Ironically, Grelle said he actually disapproved of his words being used in the M&M graphic.

"My quote was meant to do two things," he said. "It was meant to empower a marginalized group who is victimized by misogyny. The second intent of my quote was to demonstrate how women already felt."

He said: "I run a small comedy blog on Tumblr. How could I even predict something I said would be so far reaching?"

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