Hip-Hop Group Urges Pepsi Boycott
The hip-hop nation has parted ways with the Pepsi generation until the giant soda maker shows it some respect.The hip-hop nation has parted ways with the Pepsi generation until the giant soda maker shows it some respect. Accusing Pepsi of applying a double standard by placing notoriously foul-mouthed rocker Ozzy Osbourne in a Super Bowl commercial only months after yanking rapper Ludacris for his vulgar language, rap icon Russell Simmons yesterday (Feb. 5) called on the hip-hop community to start a boycott next week against PepsiCo Inc.
"The 'Campaign for Respect' will be officially launched a week from today," Simmons said in statement. "We're asking all artists and supporters of hip-hop culture to refrain from supporting Pepsi and PepsiCo products," he said. Simmons said the action follows six months of unsuccessful attempts to negotiate a settlement of the dispute.
He said the boycott will continue until Pepsi agrees to certain terms, such as issuing a public apology to Ludacris and the hip-hop community, making a $5 million charitable contribution to the Ludacris Foundation, and reinstating the Ludacris Pepsi television commercial.
Purchase, New York-based Pepsi declined to address Simmons' specific demands, but a company spokesman the Ludacris situation was unfortunate for all concerned. "We learned from it and we moved on. We completely understand and respect Russell Simmons' passion for promoting hip-hop music and we are working with him and others to do just that," the spokesman said.
The controversy began a few months ago when conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly said Ludacris was foul-mouthed, accused Pepsi of being "immoral," and urged a boycott. Pepsi caved in to the pressure, yanking its 30-second television spot, stating it had received several consumer complaints about Ludacris' profanity-laden song lyrics.
Simmons and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) had initially planned to announce the boycott during the upcoming National Basketball Association All-Star Weekend in Atlanta. But a spokesperson for the non-profit hip-hop group that Simmons co-founded said they pushed up the announcement as word of the action quickly circulated.
Simmons still plans to the attend the All-Star game in Atlanta and will be co-hosting a party there with entrepreneur and former NBA star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, according to the spokesperson.
COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2002. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.