Coca-Cola's latest advertising gimmick added fuel to the fire of LGBT activists angry about the Sochi Olympic sponsor's silence surrounding human rights violations in Russia.
A South African website that invites users to "Share a Virtual Coke" returns an unseemly error message when one tries to enter words like "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual," and "queer."
"Oops," the site responds when a user tries to enter any of the above words. "Let's pretend you didn't just type that. Please try another name."
But words like "straight," "hetero," "homophobe," "homosexual," and even "LGBT" are allowed through the system, producing a shareable graphic with the words emblazoned on Coke's classic red can.
John Aravosis at AmericaBlog first reported the curious glitch Saturday, and since then LGBT activists have been editing the image to call out the beverage company for what they see as the latest in an ongoing pattern of failing the LGBT community.
Despite repeated calls from activists to take a stand on Russia's anti-LGBT laws, Olympic sponsor Coke has declined to issue any sort of condemnation for the Olympic host nation's national ban on so-called gay propaganda. When a gay Russian was arrested and fined last week for unfurling a rainbow flag as the Olympic torch passed through his city, Coke issued a statement addressing the arrest and confirming that the officers who detained the protester were wearing uniforms emblazoned with Coke's logo. The statement did not condemn the police silencing of the protester but did claim that the beverage company is "one of the world's most inclusive brands, [which] value[s] and celebrate[s] diversity."
See some of our favorite pieces of protest art taking Coke to task for its complicity in the oppression of LGBT Russians below.
Find more about the Principle Six campaign here.