Although Taco Bell wasn’t promoting the hashtags, its ads—including a QVC-style video encouraging customers to order its National Taco Day $5 Gift Set online—popped up when people clicked on, tapped or searched for #EattheChildren and #EattheBabies.
Those hashtags originated Thursday when a protester at a town hall held by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York called for people to “eat the babies” to address the climate crisis—a solution borrowed from Jonathan Swift’s 1729 “A Modest Proposal,” which satirically proposed that England’s poor escape poverty by selling their children to the rich as food. President Trump retweeted a video of the episode, calling Ocasio-Cortez a “wack job.” LaRouche PAC, a far-right group that supports Donald Trump, later said they were behind the protestor’s appearance.
Not fully understanding why the #EattheChildren and #EattheBabies hashtags were trending, many people were drawn into the conversation—some drawing a political connection between Taco Bell’s ads and the hashtags.
“Sorry Taco Bell, your support of the criminal in the White House earns you a pass from me,” wrote one Twitter user.