Parents' fury as chocolate company apologises for leaving advent calendar window EMPTY

PARENTS have blasted a woke advent calendar that deliberately left one of its windows empty to highlight inequality.

The Toney's Chocolonely Countdown Calendar was missing a morsel of chocolate for December 8, leaving some kids "in flood of tears".

The company insisted the stunt, on day eight of the £12.99 advent calendar, was "to increase issue awareness" about the evils of the chocolate industry.

However, parents were left unimpressed by the action, saying their kids were 'in tears'.

Laura Tylor wrote: "Tears before school is not ideal" and added that political statements should only be aimed at adults and older kids.

The company writes on their website: "Things aren't being shared evenly in the chocolate supply chain.

"As a result, farmers are forced to live in poverty. And that leads to illegal child labour and modern slavery."

But furious mums and dads hit back that they don't "need to be taught a lesson by my advent calendar".

One mum, Rebecca Winward, said: "My eight-year-old daughter was in floods of tears at the disappointment.

"She has ADHD and is awaiting a possible autism diagnosis, so what seems like small upsets to others are a big deal to her."

Another furious parent blasted on Facebook: "I get the reason, but I think wrong not to pre-warn."

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Following the criticism, the company said its "unequally divided calendar" was "inappropriate and caused confusion and disappointment".

The company said: "Unfortunately, we failed to consider the difficulties empty windows can cause for neurodivergent children and adults.

"We have more to learn in considering how we can make our products as inclusive as possible.

"At Tony's we use our products to tell the story of an industry unequally divided and choc-full of inequality."

In a Facebook post about the missing choc, the company earlier wrote: "Noticed something different in your calendar today?

"Yep, it's empty.. And why? 'Cos at Tony’s we use our products to tell the story of the choco industry – an industry unequally divided and choc-full of inequality.

"In Ghana and the Ivory Coast, at least 1.56 million children work under illegal conditions because the price being paid for cocoa is too low.

"Worst still, at least 30,000 adults & children are forced to work. We don’t think that’s okay."

The post adds: "We hope this creates a great conversation starter for change."

But not all parents were annoyed – with some saying it's a great idea.

Rachel Street wrote: "Totally got it straight away, I think it’s a perfect session for anyone.

"Great way to teach a child about fairness and equality – no giving in and opening another door in this house – the point would be lost and you learn nothing."

A spokesperson for the company told The Times: "Our intention was to increase issue awareness because only when people are aware that there is a bitter side to the chocolate industry, can they choose more consciously and demand change from the big chocolate companies perpetuating the problem.

"We 've had several hundred calls, emails and social media messages over the past few days.

"The reaction overall has been a positive one."

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