Coca-Cola is facing backlash after its make-your-own-label “Share A Coke” promotion blocked the phrase “Black Lives Matter” while failing to disallow other phrases.
The beverage giant is inviting fans to customize eight-ounce glass bottles with words or phrases of their choice, which can then be purchased for $6 apiece. However, the online tool was inconsistent in the terms that it rejected.
As confirmed by The Daily Wire, phrases such as “White Lives Matter,” “Asian Lives Matter,” and “Baby Lives Matter” were not blocked. However, “Black Lives Matter” produced an error message: “Oops! Looks like the name you requested is not an approved one. Names may not be approved if they’re potentially offensive to other people, trademarked, or celebrity names. We’ve worked hard to get this list right, but sometimes we mess up. If you think this is an error, please contact our Customer Care team. Otherwise, please try again, keep it fun and in the spirit of sharing!”
Customers took to social media and expressed their frustration.
Coke won’t let people put Black Lives Matter on a bottle but this is fineeeee https://t.co/M4SH6xRhIK
— Cortana: German Mullet Expert (@CortanaV) June 22, 2021
— Becky (@LfcBecky) June 22, 2021
Twitter users also discovered that terms such as “Lesbian,” “Mexican,” and “Gay Pride” were disallowed, triggering a further backlash in the comments of a Coca-Cola tweet supporting “Pride Month.”
But I can’t share a drink with multiple LGBTQ+ groups in your Coke Customizer? Happy Pride, Coke.
— 𝕻𝖑𝖆𝖌𝖚𝖎 𝕭𝖔𝖎 🇳🇬 blm/tlm (@Plaguiboi) June 23, 2021
Poor donations, slurs allowed on design bottles but not queer phrases, and you can’t even donate to your local queer organizations in Atlanta?
— 🏳️🌈Still Poor, But Gayer🏳️🌈 (@EffectiveCone29) June 23, 2021
— Greg Hagen (@gregory_hagen) June 22, 2021
— Amy Hudson is very tired (@unicorn__sauce) June 22, 2021
Meanwhile, terms such as “Nazis” and “White Supremacy” were permitted.
— no more billionaires (@michael_chips) June 22, 2021
A Coca-Cola spokesperson told CNN Business that the tool is undergoing review.
“We’re continuously refining and improving our Share A Coke personalization tool to ensure it is used only for its intended purpose,” said the spokesperson. “Words or phrases that have appeared in the preview mode of the tool may not necessarily be approved, but rather are words we have not previously assessed. Actual bottles are not made with words that are inconsistent with the program’s intent.”
Although Coca-Cola supports social justice causes in the United States, it recently lobbied against a bill that would have prevented American companies from importing products made in Chinese labor camps.
Last month, Coca-Cola also raised eyebrows after it implemented a diversity training that encouraged employees to “be less white.”
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