Why Boycotting Pepsi Over Its CEO's Advocacy For Her Community Makes Zero Sense

Reaching across the aisle goes both ways.

In the days following the election, there has been a spike in reports of hate crimes against minorities and women. Across the country, there is a sense of fear among communities of color about whether they will be targeted next, either by those emboldened by Donald Trump's divisive rhetoric, or by the campaign policies he has indicated he would honor. 

Among those who have questioned their place in "Trump's America" is Pepsi Co. CEO and Chairman Indra Nooyi, who was a Clinton supporter. In a conversation with the New York Times, Nooyi recalled the anxiety she saw in those around her after Trump's win, particularly from minorities and women. She also challenged Trump on his comments about grabbing women's genitals. 

"Forget about the Pepsi brand. How dare you talk about women that way? Why do we talk that way about a whole group of citizens? I don't think there's a place for that kind of language in any part of society — not in locker rooms, not in football players' homes, not in any place," Nooyi said.

Her comments enraged many Trump supporters who called for a boycott of Pepsi products, saying they were switching to drinking Coca Cola instead. The criticisms lobbied at Nooyi included slurs against her ethnicity, following the pattern of abuse favored by many in the alt-right movement. 


Pledges to start drinking Coca Cola instead are perhaps more than a little counterproductive to the message they intended to send to Nooyi. Coca Cola worked in close conjunction with the Clinton Foundation in the past, and there were reports that the Clinton campaign considered the CEOs of some corporations as her running mate, including Coca Cola's.

Earlier this month, Trump supporters similarly called for a boycott of Chobani yogurt after reports that its founder, Kurdish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya, employed refugees at his company and created a refugee advocacy foundation.

Boycotting a company for ideological differences is one thing — many liberals are boycotting New Balance, which Neo-Nazis declared the brand "Official shoes of the white people" — but doing so to oppose their support for immigrants and refugees fails to take into account the realities of this country. 

Immigrants are ingrained in American culture — Pepsi Co., Coca Cola and Chobani are three large American companies headed by people of color, two of whom are immigrants themselves — and their fears and hopes are as valuable in American society as any other group's.


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