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Kendall Jenner’s Protest-Themed Pepsi Ad Falls Flat, Viewers Mock Marginalizing Tone

UPDATE: Sorry, you can’t watch the commercial anymore — Pepsi’s pulled it after the flood of responses. “Pepsi was trying to project a global a message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout,” the company said in a statement. “We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”

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The joy of Pepsi was tough to unearth yesterday (April 4), when Kendall Jenner’s debut as the soda company’s new model emblem was met with political hostility from viewers.

Jenner, who announced just a few hours before the commercial’s unveiling that she was teaming up with Pepsi for branding projects, appears at the beginning of the ad as a model who’s in the thick of a photo shoot. Soon, she notices a protest is building up nearby and, rather than watch idly from the sidelines, she decides to ditch her blond wig and designer clothes, toss on some streetwear and join. All well and good, right?

Welp, things take an unfortunate turn when Jenner becomes the heroine of the protest, and manages to somehow quell hostility between demonstrators and looming, armed police by simply handing an officer a can of Pepsi. This one act alone, many viewers noted, completely marginalized the experience of real protestors, particularly those of color. Stories from Ferguson and Black Lives Matter rallies are clear proof that — in reality — even peaceful protests are often met by much more damaging and violent opposition from authorities, they said.

In short: giving someone a Pepsi does not remedy police brutality.

Do you think the backlash to Jenner and Pepsi is warranted, or is the reaction overblown? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Celebs Who Were Raised By LGBT Parents:

Next: Kendall Jenner Takes Over as Iconic Pepsi Emblem

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