After the media assault comes the inevitable counterspin: Kellogg flacks are saying it did not drop benighted Olympian merman Michael Phelps over a photo of his lips pressed to a bong. Even though it did.

Subway, which initially said it would drop Phelps, is now sticking by him. Kellogg is not planning to renew Phelps's contract, but as stoners attempt to organize a Kellogg boycott (that should be entertaining to watch), Kellogg is now claiming it never said anything bad about Phelps. Oh? On Friday, spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz said:

Michael's most recent behavior is not consistent with the image of Kellogg. His contract expires at the end of February and we have made a decision not to extend his contract.

That's what Kellogg said to the press. But to pot smokers avid consumers outraged over Kellogg's decision? The apologetic emails tell another story:

Thank you for contacting us regarding Olympic swimmer, Michael Phelps and our decision not to extend his contract.

We regret that the intent of our message was not clear. The contract was set to expire the end of February and with Michael's obligations to us met, our decision not to extend the contract was for business reasons and in no way diminishes Michael's status as an athlete. We believe Michael has set a tremendous example through his work ethic and his accomplishments and are proud to have been associated with him.

The timing of this unfortunate incident and the end of the contract is purely coincidental. Again, thank you for the opportunity to share the facts of this situation.


Kathi Eckler

Director, Consumer Affairs

Even the Associated Press isn't sure what to make of Phelps. Despite the photographic evidence of Phelps with a bong tightly pressed against its lips, the AP killed a story which mentioned Phelps as using marijuana. These notices are meant only to go to newsrooms, but Google News's AP-article posting algorithm has not been programmed to take that into account:

AP kills Phelps Kellogg story
1 day ago
The Portland, Ore., story Phelps-Kellogg has been killed. Phelps has not acknowledged smoking marijuana or inhaling from a marijuana pipe.
A kill is mandatory.
Make certain the story is not published.
A substitute story will be filed shortly.

(Actual Phelps merman photo via Dudeflesh)