Keke Palmer Imagines a World Where EBT Cards Only Work 'on Healthy Items'

Keke Palmer has never been one to shy away from a controversial stance, but the entertainer's tendency to be outspoken found her receiving backlash online from fans this morning. Her turbulent Monday began when the singer/actress/TV personality posted a tweet about users of EBT Cards and their eating habits.

Keke Palmer
Keke Palmer at the IFP's 29th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards in December, 2019. Getty/Theo Wargo/Getty Images for IFP

Her post read, "Imagine if you EBT card could only work on healthy items."

Imagine if your EBT card could only work on healthy items .... 👀👀👀👀

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) is an electronic system that allows a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participant to pay for food using SNAP benefits (also commonly known as Food Stamps). It's a service provided for people who require assistance buying food for their households.

Palmer's post seems to imply that people using such assistance aren't making the best choices when filling up their grocery carts. After fans criticized her inflammatory comment, the Hustlers and Joyful Noise actress followed up with more tweets to clarify her original message.

At first, she offered healthy suggestions for people who asked what she expected them to eat.

Hahahahaha Brussels sprouts chicken fish eggs cauliflower crust for a homemade pizza mushrooms spinach kiwi pineapple protein shakes peas. So much! https://t.co/GNkNBniOGC

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

She then hinted, jokingly, while tagging Kamala Harris, that healthy foods should be free for those with EBT benefits.

Hey @KamalaHarris I know you just started but me and my friends were talking about it and we think EBT cards should swipe free on all items considered HEALTHY. Xoxo

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

When many of her followers accused her of being privileged, Palmer went on the offensive.

Damn! I thought it was a nice suggestion considering I know so many people consoling they can’t afford the healthy food with they EBT cards. My bad! Everybody don’t feel the same that’s okay lol https://t.co/zhL4CJjm1E

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

She went further in explaining clearly that she doesn't come from a place of privilege and mentioned members of her own family have needed EBT before.

Yea but some people DO need EBT. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. My family has used it! They should make it better. https://t.co/QG8L0G3q43

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

While coming across as kidding when she tagged Harris earlier in the exchanges, Palmer nonetheless continued replying that she believes healthy foods should in fact be free for those who need it.

Yea maybe you shouldn’t focus on thinking I’m “rich.” I think that creates a defensive nature.

I’m saying healthy food should be free to those that can’t afford them often. They shouldn’t have a limit they should be free if you make a certain amount. https://t.co/V2cRZMkvDW

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

Palmer stated part of the problem is that people from poorer areas don't have access or information about healthy food options.

Yes but that’s why we have to find ways to settle the score when it comes to access. Some people don’t have access to options, to even decide how to choose the best one! Like if you only got one choice how can you even entertain another way of thinking ya know. https://t.co/AzCxmVdGUx

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

Even while defending her position, Palmer pointed out that she felt like she was being attacked with various posts like this:

And they at me like this https://t.co/zGDywVIW8m pic.twitter.com/jJxvMygZpO

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

The theme was a common one as her posts continued...

Keke: Healthy foo-
Everybody: pic.twitter.com/OliH6ttwSU

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

She tried to end things on a conciliatory note, apologizing if anyone was offended by her comment, though still holding firm in what she says was her original intent.

Apologize for thinking people should get free food... ? I’m confused with that one lol. How is it offense to suggest people deserve free food on EBT? Because that’s all I’m suggesting. https://t.co/aAoy1lwkBV

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

She still felt like her main point was being lost, so she tried to spell it out more than once.

To clarify my tweet was pertaining to issues w/ healthy foods being 2 expensive & thinking it should be free for those w/ EBT cards.

This was not a suggestion for solving all low income issues. Solely a hopeful solution 4 those with EBT that want to run it up w/ meat & produce.

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

She wanted her astrological sign left out of the conversation, though. (She released Virgo Tendencies, Pt. 1, the first part of two planned EPs, at the end of August.)

Don’t bring being a Virgo into this sis haha it’s not wrong to want ppl to have free food sis that’s all I’m saying https://t.co/OX2lKui26K

— Keke Palmer (@KekePalmer) November 9, 2020

Throughout the barrage of tweets and replies, Keke directed fans and critics to her Instagram page for more context about her original Twitter post. She maintains she meant people should be more aware of what they put into their bodies, saying many shoppers are unaware of how much sugar is really in their food.

Palmer is next set to start filming the thriller Alice, which co-stars Sinqua Walls, Jonny Lee Miller, and Common.