During the Emmys, host Jimmy Kimmel surprised the audience when he brought out the cast of the Netflix Original Series "Stranger Things" to hand out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The gag didn't play too well with audience members, who were less than impressed with the sandwiches and the fact they contained peanuts and gluten.
Kimmel played on the Netflix show's appeal to 1980s nostalgia and had the show's stars riding cruiser bikes through the aisles, passing out lunch bags with PB&J sandwiches, apples, cookies and juice boxes, according to the Los Angeles Times. The bags also had handwritten notes, supposedly from Kimmel's mother, which said "don't get drunk" and to have fun.
But the celebrities in attendance seemed more annoyed than anything with Kimmel's gag, according to Vice. Los Angeles Times writer Gerrick D. Kennedy took to Twitter, saying "I can confidently say it's the grossest PB&J I've ever had."
Others seemed to agree, and actress Emily Ratajkowski told TMZ "I had one too many bites. I regret it," adding, "they weren't that good."
But the controversy on the sandwiches didn't end there. Many seemed to think it was reckless to pass out food items that contained peanuts and gluten, given the prevalence of food allergies.
Kimmel tried to combat possible backlash preemptively, with jokes like "we can only afford one EpiPen," and that people with gluten allergies are "annoying," according to Vice.
Still, guests were upset, with one attendee reportedly saying, "You never just hand out peanut butter. That’s such a liability."
The controversy spread beyond the walls of the Microsoft Theater. Kimmel's remarks seemed to anger the food allergy community at large, prompting the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to release a statement condemning the stunt.
"While we understand the joke presented by Jimmy Kimmel was aimed at the recent pricing events of epinephrine auto-injectors that has been broadcast in the media over the last several weeks, it wasn’t well-received by the larger food allergy community," the statement read, in part, according to Vice.
Vice President of Marketing and Communications of the AAFA Adam Bailine additionally told Vice, "We received complaints and concerns regarding the broadcast," adding that "this is very much on our radar" and that "it is extremely risky to pull a stunt like this without considering the danger.”