BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Pepsi recently pulled their latest commercial after people criticized it for making light of a serious issue.
The company posted the ad to Youtube Tuesday, but pulled it just one day later. And even after apologizing, it drew even more criticism.
Pepsi’s commercial features supermodel Kendall Jenner ditching a photo shoot to join a protest, then making her way to the front of the line to hand an officer a Pepsi, who then takes a sip, causing the crowd to cheer.
Baltimore’s DeRay McKesson, who is a member of the Black Lives Matter movement reacted on TMZ, offended that Pepsi exploited all the work for social justice, just to sell a product.
“I was arrested in Baton Rouge, I was arrested in St. Louis, been in the street tear gassed so many places and what is real a can of Pepsi would not change that,” he says.
This sentiment is also echoed by Baltimore City Council member, Brandon Scott.
“And they tried to simplify and turn that into something so small, trivial and basically whitewashed,” says Scott.
Critics in Baltimore found the ad insensitive during a time when the city continues to work on a fragile relationship between police and the community.
The ad is a painful reminder of the unrest that unfolded in Baltimore two years ago.
“Made protests seem like it was this fun thing that people did in the street as opposed to a fight against injustice and making sure our voices were heard,” says McKesson.
Pepsi pulled the ad after people blasted the company on social media and released a statement saying “This is a global ad that reflects people from different walks of life coming together in a spirit of harmony and we think that’s an important message to convey.”
And some critics hope Pepsi will do more than just apologize.
“My hope is that now Pepsi will, in turn, get so much flack they will have to invest in people that are trying to deal with these issues,” says Scott.
Pepsi issued an apology to both viewers and Kendall Jenner, saying “Clearly we missed the mark.”
Kendall Jenner has not yet released a comment.