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Homophobic: Coke Is It!

by Winnie McCroy
EDGE Editor
Monday Jan 27, 2014

It's another epic fail for Coca-Cola this week, as a new social media campaign to customize your Coke can has been criticized for preventing users from typing in any words associated with homosexuality.

According to Ameriblog, Coke fans can go online to the "Share a Coke" campaign and enter their name or a message on a virtual can of coke. They can write "straight," but they can't write gay, or anything associated with gay.

"Oops, let's pretend you didn't just try that," reads an awkward error message that users encounter on Coke's South African website when trying to enter the word "gay."

Gay Star News notes that the website bans profanity but that it also bans words like "sex, homo and dyke," but not the word "straight."

Coke, the sponsor of the controversial 2014 Olympics in Sochi, was in the headlines last week when they tacitly approved of the detention and arrest of a gay rights advocate in Russia. The Olympic security personnel who arrested the non-violent protestor were wearing the Coke logo, and Coke officials publicly defended the man's arrest for simply waving a rainbow flag during the Olympic flame relay. Russian President Vladimir Putin's anti-gay propaganda law makes it illegal to exhibit any public pro-gay images or statements that may "corrupt a minor."

This is the second time in as many months that Coca-Cola has come under fire for alleged homophobic activities. In December it was reported that the soda company was lambasted for removing images of a same-sex couple getting married in their "Reasons to Believe" campaign ads in Ireland, France and Denmark. A company spokesperson said that they just wanted the ads to be "relevant and valid for its own market."

Coca-Cola now joins Visa, McDonald's and other Olympic sponsors who have failed to speak out against Russia's anti-gay laws.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.


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