What in the World—Week of January 31

Is it a new pantsuit, or a threat to the fabric of society? (It’s a pantsuit)
Last week it was M&Ms, and this week it’s Minnie Mouse getting a makeover with a modern new blue pantsuit instead of her familiar polka dot dress. The new look—by designer Stella McCartney—was revealed on Twitter by Disneyland Paris, created for its 30th anniversary and Women’s History Month in March. While it may seem benign, coming just days after the changes to M&M were announced, the new outfit was not well-received in some circles of the internet or by more reactionary media outlets. “Outrage as Disney debuts woke new look for Minnie Mouse,” reported the Daily Mail. And Fox’s regular on-air talking head, Candace Owens, suggested the “more masculine” Minnie Mouse is part of a plan to “destroy fabrics of our society.”

Grindr disappears in China
The popular gay dating app Grindr has been removed from Apple’s app store in China, days after the government announced it was cracking down on online rumours, pornography and illegal content ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics (see more on the Olympics below). Competitive Chinese apps like Blued are still accessible on iPhone and Android devices, reported Bloomberg. “Although the world’s most populous nation decriminalized homosexuality in 1997, same-sex marriage is illegal and LGBTQ issues remain taboo,” said CBS. “The LGBTQ community is under pressure as censorship of web content combines with a ban on depictions of gay romance in films.” From 2018 to 2020 Chinese tech firm Kunlun Group owned Grindr, but was forced to sell to San Vicente Acquisition in 2020, after the U.S. government expressed national security concerns about access to the app’s data.

Walmart expands home services offering
Walmart has partnered with home services provider Angi to provide a range of services in its nearly 4,000 stores across the U.S. In a release, Angi said that Walmart customers will now be able to get help with more than 150 “common home projects,” ranging from TV mounting and installation, to furniture assembly, flooring, painting and plumbing. Prices range from $49 for furniture assembly, to $75 for TV mounting, with more complex tasks requiring custom quotes. “This exciting new launch illustrates how Walmart, one of the world’s top retailers, continues to innovate on behalf of its customers,” said the release. Angi—which last year rebranded from Angie’s List—boasts a network of more than 250,000 professionals with expertise across 500 tasks.

Beijing Games causing a ‘headache’ for sponsors
The BBC says the upcoming Beijing Games are causing a “huge headache” for the IOC’s 13 global corporate partners—which include Airbnb, Bridgestone, Coca Cola, P&G and Toyota—as they navigate diplomatic boycotts over China’s dismal record on human rights. BBC analysis shows a “dramatic reduction” in tweets from the brands’ official accounts leading up to the Games when compared to their activity in the run-up to last year’s Tokyo Olympics. “Visa, Coca-Cola and others have kept an unusually low marketing profile,” Diana Choyleva, chief economist at Enodo Economics, told the BBC. Marketers who spoke with the BBC stressed that they are not sponsoring the Beijing Games. “We firstly wish to highlight that Omega is not a sponsor of Beijing 2022,” said a spokesperson for the watchmaker, clarifying that it is the “official timekeeper and data handler of the Olympic Games.”

Tab fans petition Coca-Cola to bring back a beloved brand
Will Coca-Cola pick up the Tab again? Diehard fans of the diet soda brand hope so. They have formed an online group called The SaveTabSoda Committee to convince the cola giant to resurrect the 57-year-old brand it killed in October 2020 as part of sweeping cuts to its beverage portfolio. According to CNN, the 200 brands cut by Coca-Cola accounted for just 2% of its total revenue. Committee members contend that Tab died because Coca-Cola “neglected the brand, letting it linger without advertising for decades.” An online petition has garnered more than 2,200 signatures, and CEO James Quincey told CNN last year that he has received “a lot of emails” about bringing back the brand.

David Brown