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Pepsi responds to backlash over protest-themed ad featuring Kendall Jenner

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Pepsi have pulled an advert featuring Kendall Jenner, after viewers accused it of appropriating the Black Lives Matter movement.

The advert saw Jenner leave a photoshoot, throwing off her blonde wig in the process, in order to join a protest. The crowds carried placards which didn’t denote any specific cause, scrawled with words like “Love” and “Join the conversation”.


Read more: Solange has written a searing essay about being black in white spaces


At the end of the ad she handed a policeman a can of Pepsi, seemingly as a peace offering. It led to the crowds cheering and the policeman smiling.

Pepsi

Many commenters on Twitter criticised the scenes for seeming to co-opt the resistance movement and using the current fraught political climate for commercial gain.

“The very real struggle of the marginilised to survive under Trump is not an opportunity for @KendallJenner and @Pepsi to market themselves,” wrote one user

While others have pointed to the fact that it shows a “white, privileged” model acting as a peace maker between civil rights protesters and the police.

 

 


Read more: "Everyone should care about Black Lives Matter, regardless of race"


Specifically, it was suggested that the scene between Kendall and the officer references a photo of Leshia Evans who was charged by riot police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 2016.

Others said the global ad was offensive to those who live in countries where there is ongoing conflict.

In a statement, Pepsi initially said: "This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony. We think that's an important message to convey."

However, the brand have since pulled the advert and apologised to Jenner, who is yet to comment.

Images: Pepsi.

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