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Pepsi pulls Kendall Jenner ad after backlash

The+Pepsi+ad+featuring+Kendall+Jenner+was+pulled+for+trivializing+the+Black+Matters+Movement%2C+according+to+activist+DeRay+Mckesson.+
The Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner was pulled for trivializing the Black Matters Movement, according to activist DeRay Mckesson.

The Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner was pulled for trivializing the Black Matters Movement, according to activist DeRay Mckesson.

New York Magazine

New York Magazine

The Pepsi ad featuring Kendall Jenner was pulled for trivializing the Black Matters Movement, according to activist DeRay Mckesson.

Jerrica Thomas, staff writer

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PepsiCo Inc. released a commercial April 11 on YouTube featuring model Kendall Jenner. It was pulled less than a day later for criticism and backlash.

The advertisement features Jenner as a blonde model in a photoshoot, while people protest with generic signs such as “Join the Conversation.” She later removes her wig and makeup to join the protest.

The climactic scene of the ad shows a small stand-off between the protesters and a line of police officers. Jenner steps forward and hands one officer a Pepsi, which he drinks bringing “raucous approval from the protesters and an appreciative grin from the officer,” according to Daniel Victor of The New York Times.

This scene of the commercial echoes a famous photograph of Ieshia Evans, a woman who protested in Baton Rouge after the death of Alton Sterling. The commercial trivializes the Black Lives Matter movement by making the protesters appear happy to protest and Jenner using a soda to end brief tension between protesters and a line of officers.

Bernice King, daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. commented on the commercial on her account.  “If only Daddy would have known about the power of #Pepsi,” as reported by Victor.

“If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would have been arrested. Who knew?” DeRay Mckesson, Black Lives Matter activist, said on Twitter, as reported by Tracy Jan of The Washington Post. Other posts satirized Jenner in memes and expressed confusion.

PepsiCo Inc. issued an apology statement April 12. “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” according to Zlati Meyer of USA Today . “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position,” as reported by Meyer.

The New York Times
Many who criticized the Pepsi ad noted the similarities to the famous photo taken of Ieshia Evans at a Baton Rouge protest.

Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Seth Meyers parodied the commercial. SNL’s parody shows the director and writer of the Pepsi ad moments before shooting, having second thoughts about the commercial. He calls his sister and a black neighbor and understands that his idea is “tone deaf” and to “not even touch” the Black Lives Matter angle.

The Late Night with Seth Meyers’ parody, a black woman hands a cop a Pepsi on the streets of New York . The two of them exchange smiles and appear to be on friendly terms until the officer abruptly frowns and calls for back-up on the woman, who holds her hands up.

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Pepsi pulls Kendall Jenner ad after backlash