Reese Witherspoon found herself the center of controversy this week after posting a video on TikTok showing her making and consuming a snow-based drink. The video has gone viral, garnering both outrage and support from fans.
On January 20th, 2024, Witherspoon posted a TikTok video showing her making what she dubbed a “Chococcino”, featuring fresh snow collected from her car. In the video, Witherspoon is seen gathering clean snow in a cup and mixing it with milk, chocolate syrup, and coffee to create a sweet frozen drink. She takes a sip, declaring “That’s delicious!”
Witherspoon indicated in the post that eating snow was a nostalgic childhood memory for her, often making snow cones and snow ice cream growing up. The actress, who has 29 million TikTok followers, frequently posts lifestyle content featuring her children and glimpses into her daily routine.
Initial Fan Reaction
However, the snow-eating video quickly went viral for the wrong reasons. While some fans joined in Witherspoon’s delight over her wintery concoction, many others reacted with horror and concern. Critics focused on the potential health hazards of consuming non-sterile snow laden with dirt, bird feces, car exhaust, and other contaminants.
Within hours, the video amassed over 12 million views and tens of thousands of comments admonishing Witherspoon for creating and ingesting what many deemed a dangerous and “gross” snack. Several doctors and health experts also weighed in, warning that eating unsterilized snow carries risks of ingesting dangerous bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxic chemicals.
Timeline of Key Events in Reese Witherspoon's Snowstorm Video Controversy
- Witherspoon posts TikTok video showing her making
and drinking "Chococcino" drink made with fresh snow
Later January 20th:
- Video goes viral, amassing millions of views
- Many fans react with concern over health hazards
- Doctors warn of risks associated with consuming non-sterile snow
- Witherspoon responds to backlash, defending her actions
- Debate continues amongst fans and experts over video
Witherspoon Responds to Backlash
On January 21st, Witherspoon posted a follow up video addressing the widespread criticism over her snow consumption. Witherspoon defended her actions, saying she didn’t understand the “controversy” as she grew up freely eating and drinking snow without health consequences.
“I don’t really get why everyone is freaking out because I ate snow!” Witherspoon said in her response video. “As a kid, we would eat snow all the time. We would suck on ice cubes, or eat crushed ice at Sonic.”
Witherspoon went on to push back against what she felt was an overreaction over an innocent childhood indulgence. “I think this is a generational thing!” she proclaimed. “I grew up in Tennessee, we didn’t have snow cones, we had snow.”
Experts Double Down on Warnings
However, health and safety experts did not seem assuaged by Witherspoon’s follow-up video and defense of her actions. They maintained that consuming snow, especially that gathered alongside roadways, poses real risks that should not be brushed off or encouraged.
Environmental epidemiologist Dr. Rebecca Katz provided context around why Witherspoon’s video was seen as so alarming. “Eating snow exposes people to whatever may be in the immediate environment,” Katz said. That can include bird feces, car exhaust, road salt, chemicals, pathogenic bacteria and viruses.
Katz acknowledged that while a one-time ingestion likely won’t lead to illness, promoting the activity as fun and safe is irresponsible according to health standards. Other experts echoed her statements. “You want to try to avoid eating snow close to the roadways,” warned Diane Calello, executive director of the New Jersey Poison Center.
Even assuming pristine snow conditions, some felt Witherspoon underestimated potential hazards. “There are certain bacteria that exist in the top level of snow exposed to the air that wouldn’t necessarily make you sick from casual contact, but consumption could be more problematic,” said food scientist Dr. Robyn Miranda.
Ongoing Debate as Video Continues to Gain Traction
In the wake of Witherspoon’s follow-up video, debate has continued between those taking the health warnings seriously, and fans defending Witherspoon’s nostalgia-fueled actions.
“I totally ate snow as a kid too,” wrote one supporter on Twitter. Others called out the “dramatic overreacting”, instead suggesting the video evoked fond childhood memories of playing in the snow.
Conversely, detractors continue to emphasize the precautions necessary with snow ingestion, especially for children.
“No matter how fond the memories, we shouldn’t overlook safety guidelines,” pediatric nurse practitioner Danielle Groody commented on Instagram. Other medical professionals echoed Groody’s measured perspective.
As of January 21st, Witherspoon’s original snow video has surpassed 32 million views, showing little sign of slowing down.
What Happens Next?
It remains to be seen whether the debate around Witherspoon’s video will continue or fizzle out in the coming days.
On the one hand, supporters may rally around Witherspoon to defend and celebrate the childlike nostalgia they felt she captured. If health concerns take a back seat, some fans may join in posting their own videos making and tasting snowy treats. Witherspoon has significant influence, so if she maintains her position, many followers may continue cheering her on.
However, if medical consensus coalesces around strict guidelines against eating snow due to health risks, the video may become more cautionary tale than viral hit. Parents may point to the dangers highlighted by doctors to educate their kids against ingesting snow. In a worst-case scenario, a wave of snow-eating hospitalizations could validate expert warnings.
For her part, Witherspoon seems unlikely to back down or take down the original video. Doubling down on her stance makes strategic sense for the social media savvy star. However, if enough followers are scared off, she may opt to create educational counter-content on snow safety.
One thing’s for certain – Reese has once again demonstrated her masterful ability to consume attention, for better or worse! The next snowstorm may bring a flurry of copycat videos and renewed debate. For now, Witherspoon continues basking in the Instagrammable viral spotlight while health officials furrow their brows.
To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.