Pepsi pulled its politically-charged, protest-themed soda commercial Wednesday following massive online backlash and also apologized to model Kendall Jenner, who starred in the two-and-a-half minute spot.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding,” the soda giant said in a statement Wednesday. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue. We are removing the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
The ad, titled, “Live for Now Moments Anthem,” depicted Jenner ditching a modeling shoot to join demonstrators at a nondescript protest in the streets of New York City. The 21-year-old model appears to calm the raucous demonstration by sharing a can of Pepsi with a police officer.
Critics of the ad flooded social media, many of them arguing that the ad co-opted the anti-Donald Trump “resistance” movement to make a profit.
In particular, some critics noted that the scene of Jenner handing the soda can to the police officer was reminiscent of a photograph taken last year of Black Lives Matter protester Ieshia Evans confronting a police officer in Baton Rouge.
Pepsi initially appeared to defend the advertisement in a statement issued to Breitbart News on Tuesday.