Rev. Bernice King, whose withering tweet about a tone-deaf Pepsi ad powerfully encapsulated much of the public response to it, now encourages the soft drink company to connect with the King Center, where she is CEO.
“I invite Pepsi and other companies to join in Courageous Conversations facilitated by The King Center on the topics of social symbolism, race and responsibility, and presentations of privilege,” she wrote in a piece for the Huffington Post. “In addition, I also invite corporations to engage with the Center for the purpose of planning sustainable and community-organized corporate responsibility initiatives.”
Pepsi’s commercial featured reality star personality Kendall Jenner, known for her lipgloss kits, easing tension between police and protesters by handing an officer a can of Pepsi.
Reaction was swift and overwhelmingly negative, but King’s tweet – which has now been liked and retweeted more than 300,000 times combined, was essentially the final word.
Within an hour Pepsi had pulled the ad and issued an apology, although Jenner still features the ad on her own YouTube channel (watch it fast if you are interested; it’ll likely get yanked from here, too).
Pepsi also apologized directly to King, saying the corporation holds her father’s legacy in the highest esteem and meant no offense.
“I commend Pepsi for listening to the collective concerned voices and responding by pulling the ad,” King wrote. “Now is the time to channel our energy into positive discourse and actions to address the emotions the ad evoked and the issues that were central in the ad.”