A new Pepsi Cola ad featuring Kendall Jenner has sparked backlash online and has led to the company pulling the ad altogether.
In the controversial commercial a musician, photographer and Kendall Jenner join a protest taking place in the city streets. A police blockade is seen in front of the protesters and Jenner walks up to one of the cops and hands him a Pepsi. And then everyone smiles, everyone’s happy – except the Entire Internet.
Twitter users quickly fired shots at both Jenner and Pepsi for a number of reasons ranging from insensitivity to exploitation and more. Many critics have labelled the commercial, released on YouTube, as “tone deaf.”
Digital Music News reports:
Specifically, the controversy centers around a popular Black Lives Matter protest. On July 9, 2016, photographers snapped an image of police arresting Black Lives Matter protester Ieshia Evans. A licensed New York City nurse, Evans stood in the center of a pillar of police officers who advanced on her for “obstructing traffic.” The BBC described the image almost poetically.
It’s difficult to ignore the comparison of Evans to Jenner. In the ad, Jenner, without any protesters by her side, calmly approaches the office to hand him a Pepsi. In the infamous July 9 image, Evans calmly sticks out her hand as police handcuff her.
At first Pepsi defended the ad, but has since pulled the commercial. The company backtracked on their original comments, stating “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout.”