Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new Colonel Sanders is black.
David Alan Grier announced on Twitter that he has been cast as the iconic Kentucky Fried Chicken colonel: “Breaking news: David Alan Grier has been cast as the first African American Colonel Sanders in the new KFC ad campaign.”
Breaking News: David Alan Grier has been cast as the first African American Colonel Sanders in the new KFC ad campaign. #KFC
— David Alan Grier (@davidalangrier) March 3, 2016
KFC responded via Twitter to the news, supporting Grier as their new frontman.
.@davidalangrier I saw your tweet. I've always been a huge fan of yours, but I never knew you were such a fan of mine! Excited! DM me!
— KFC (@kfc) March 3, 2016
The role is a controversial one, as racist Alabama Gov. George Wallace is rumored to have once considered Sanders as a running mate for a segregationist third-party presidential bid in 1968. In more recent news, the #OscarsSoWhite controversy has also drawn attention to the lack of diversity in casting roles, and putting a black man as the face of KFC seems to fly in the face of the all-white showing at the recent awards ceremony.
Whether or not Grier’s casting as Colonel Sanders is part of a larger trend toward more diversity remains to be seen.
Take a look what folks are saying on Twitter about Grier as the new Colonel Sanders.
— Daniel Offner (@DanielOffner) March 3, 2016
— Aaron Blazevic (@ItsBlaz) March 3, 2016
— Keith Arsenault (@KeithArsenault) March 3, 2016
David alan grier better NOT!!!! WE DONT NEED A BLACK SANDERS!! Sanders was a real white person im sure. Stop it hollywood!!
— Saint Michael (@LeftHandGlove) March 3, 2016
Making David Alan Grier – Col. Sanders is not going to make us forget Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone #NinaSimone
— Black Women Speak (@BlackWomen_) March 3, 2016
UPDATE: In a statement provided to The Huffington Post, Kevin Hochman, KFC’s chief media officer, said that comedian David Alan Grier’s tweet on Thursday that he had been cast as Colonel Sanders was a joke.
“There is no new Colonel Sanders,” Hochman said. “We are very excited to learn that Mr. Grier is such a big fan of KFC and The Colonel. We’re a big fan of him as well. We hope to continue the conversation with him over a $5 Fill Up.”