New Zealand chocolate brand Whittaker's has slammed a number of rude Kiwis who took to the Whittaker's Facebook page to body shame of one its own ambassadors in Japan.
In a promotional video just days before the Rugby World Cup, a Kiwi Whittaker's model in Japan is seen donning an All Blacks jersey while promoting the sale of their new home (Flat White Coffee Chocolate) and away (Japanese Matcha and Caramelised Pistachios in White Chocolate) products.
But instead of Kiwis commenting on the release of the two new chocolate flavours, their attention turned to the physical appearance of the model, taking aim at both Whittaker's and the ambassador.
A number of people accused the chocolate company of using the model's appearance as a marketing ploy.
"Sorry Whittaker's but I find it hard to believe you thought this an appropriate choice of ambassador for your brand," one person said.
"It's a marketing ploy to tap into a market in a country where rates of eating disorders are continuing to grow."
Others took aim at the model herself.
The comments have since come to the attention of Whittaker's, which has come out backing the ambassador and shooting down body shamers.
In a statement on social media, the company said Jess was the "perfect" ambassador and said a number of the comments aren't in the "Whittaker's spirit".
"Hello Chocolate Lovers, we're seeing some comments come through that aren't in the spirit of sharing our love of delicious chocolate.
"Chocolate Lovers come in all shapes and sizes. We've been thrilled to work with Jess, a true Kiwi living in Tokyo. She's a mum of 3, a kimono model, an All Blacks supporter – and a long-standing Whittaker's Chocolate Lover.
"Jess was the perfect person to take Whittaker's and our delicious Home or Away blocks to the streets of Japan."
Following Whittaker's response, a large number of people have come to the model's defence, praising Jess for her hard work and involvement in Japan.
Some called the model a "great ambassador for New Zealand" and a "strong woman" while others said she's proof "you can have chocolate in your life and still be in great shape!"
"So I came here to read conversation about Whittaker's chocolate being in Japan and all I see is comments on Jess' body. This is a kiwi woman doing amazing things in Japan, it is exciting! I feel so sad that people couldn't see past their own views on what a body looks like," one wrote.
Another said: "Great ambassador for New Zealand, a strong woman busy and involved in so many different individual and family pursuits with such enthusiasm. I'd need a lot of chocolate to find that kind of energy."
Others reminded those who made nasty comments that body shaming is bullying.
"Wow I'm disgusted by how many people feel they have the right to judge this woman's appearance and make comments like 'eat a burger'. Body shaming is bullying."