No stranger to drama, Kendall Jenner is once again on the receiving end of some internet backlash, after appearing in a commercial for Pepsi that has caused quite the Twitter storm.
The 21-year-old model is facing criticism for her part in the beverage company’s latest ad which, to many, is an apparent exploitation of the resistance movement in order to sell the product.
The ad, released Monday, begins with Kendall modeling in a photoshoot, while a protest carries on in the streets outside. Suddenly inspired, Kendall leaves the shoot to join the crowd, ripping off her blonde wig and wiping away her makeup. With a can of Pepsi in tow, she marches to the front line to face a police barricade and offers the drink to a cop. The officer accepts and cheers of applause ring out.
In the few hours since the commercial premiered, many took to social media to call out both Pepsi and Jenner. Users were quick to remark on the ad’s seemingly tone-deaf depiction of social justice advocacy, saying it implies that the uniting link between activists and law enforcement is a privileged, white supermodel and a mass-produced beverage.
With peaceful protests such as the Black Lives Matter movement and #NoDAPL being met with excessive police force, some observers say the commercial does not reflect the true reality activists face while fighting for their cause. Critics are also pointing out that the ad discredits the ongoing social and political conflicts happening around the world.
If I had carried Pepsi I guess I never would’ve gotten arrested. Who knew?
— deray mckesson (@deray) April 5, 2017
EXT. GAZA STRIP. A MASSIVE RIOT is erupting. Suddenly, a Pepsi truck approaches — Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) April 5, 2017
Pepsi has since responded to the backlash in a short statement to CNN, 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 import message to convey.”
Kendall has yet to address the controversy herself, but the reality star does have some people in her corner. Supporters are noting that it was the execs at Pepsi, not Kendall, who came up with the concept for the ad in the first place.
Why is everyone acting like Kendall Jenner pitched the idea for the Pepsi ad — Irks (@OrlaOC97) April 5, 2017
UPDATE: Pepsi has now pulled the commercial from Youtube, and it will no longer be shared on other platforms. TMZ reports that the company has released statement apologizing for the ad. Kendall has also taken down all references to the ad from her social media.
What do you think of Kendall’s controversial Pepsi commercial? Let us know in the comments below. ~Ashleen Grange