By: Kelsey Maggott @kelseymaggott
On the fourth of April Pepsi released an advert starring reality television star- turned model, Kendall Jenner. Less than twenty-four hours later, they pulled the ad from the internet after receiving criticism on social media by those who felt it trivialised police brutality.
In the ad, Jenner is occupied with a photo shoot but manages to see a protest in the street. She joins the group of protesters and brings everyone together by handing a can of Pepsi to one of the police officers standing in front of the marchers. He takes a sip and the protesters cheer in approval.
The moment Jenner hands over the Pepsi has been compared to the award-winning photo of Leshia Evans offering her hands for arrest to a group of armed police in a Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest nearly a year ago.
The advert has been accused of stealing from a movement which actively fights racial discrimination, to sell its product, while minimising the threats protesters encounter.
The fact that Jenner is a white, cis-gendered supermodel and saves the day with a soda mocks the BLM movement and depicts protests for equality as a sort of trendy activity.
The backlash on social media was strong, and rightfully so, eventually prompting the company to release a statement saying, “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize.” Jenner however, has remained silent, proving that she has little regard for the people who actively take a stand against social injustice and often put their lives on the line in doing so.
Seeing so many people from all walks of life come together to criticise the advert, resulting in Pepsi pulling the content and halting any further rollout…now that’s refreshing.