Skittles and Arizona iced tea, the products that some say have become a symbol in the Trayvon Martin case, have broken their silence about the shooting of the teenager in Florida that touched off a national outcry.
“We are deeply saddened by the news of Trayvon Martin's death and express our sincere condolences to his family and friends,” Jennifer Jackson-Luth, spokeswoman for Wrigley, the company that makes Skittles, said in an exclusive statement to HLN. Wrigley is a division of Virginia-based Mars, Inc. “We also respect their privacy and feel it inappropriate to get involved or comment further as we would never wish for our actions to be perceived as an attempt of commercial gain following this tragedy."
Skittles, the hard candy known for its "taste the rainbow" theme in advertisements, has been thrust into the spotlight after Sanford, Florida, resident George Zimmerman claimed self-defense in the shooting of Trayvon, who was found to have a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea on him.
A spokeswoman for Arizona Iced Tea told HLN that the company would like to "express our sincere sympathies to Trayvon’s family and friends."
"At this time, we will make no further comment as we wish to respect the family’s privacy and grieving time and feel it is inappropriate to become involved in a private family matter," Arizona iced tea global communications director Jackie Harrington said in an emailed statement.
Skittles and Arizona iced tea have been used by grass-roots movements to call attention to the case: A web page promoting Wednesday’s Million Hoodie March told supporters to, “Send bags of Skittles to the Sanford Chief of Police, demanding that George Zimmerman be brought to justice.”
On social networking sites such as Facebook, people have posted pictures of themselves holding Skittles and iced tea as well.
On Twitter, celebrities like filmmaker Spike Lee sent tweets asking people to send Skittles to the Sanford Police Department.
HLN’s Jane Velez-Mitchell has taped segments of her show clasping a bag of Skittles and a can of tea and wearing a hoodie.