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‘Boycott Pepsi’ is trending online because of a Texas tie

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Pepsi is urging Coca-Cola fans to part with a specific cola product. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

AUSTIN (Nexstar) – While some consumers may stop drinking Pepsi for health reasons, a growing number of consumers are calling for a boycott of PepsiCo after an online newsletter was first reported Monday that the company had submitted to the Texas Republican Party has donated.

The hashtag “#BoycottPepsi” is gaining traction online after a progressive newsletter Popular Information reported that PepsiCo and other companies have made donations to politicians and political committees that played a role in passing the controversial Texas abortion law. The author noted that these donations likely predate the passage of the law, but argued that the donation nonetheless helped the Republicans who sponsored it.

All donations will be disclosed by the Texas Ethics Commission. PepsiCo donated $15,000 to the Texas GOP which was recorded by the Commission as received on August 5, 2021. Republican Governor Greg Abbott signed the abortion law into law on May 19, 2021.

PepsiCo defended its post in a statement emailed to Nexstar, implying that the timeline refutes support for Texas’ abortion law.

“During the presidential election, PepsiCo has typically made donations in support of both Democratic and Republican assemblies in several states. During the summer of 2020, we made donations to both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas to support these state conventions. The check to the Republican Party was not processed until August 2021. As a result, the donation was recorded at the time and disclosed in a recently filed filing,” said Andrea Foote, senior director of global communications at PepsiCo.

According to financial reports, on May 26, 2020, PepsiCo made a $25,000 donation to the Texas Democratic Party.

Foote added that PepsiCo has not made any further donations to any of Texas state’s political parties since 2020, saying “reports to the contrary are false.”

Regardless, users on Twitter are using this as fuel to protest the company. Many question PepsiCo’s “commitment to women’s empowerment” as opponents of the abortion law say it deprives a woman of the ability to make important decisions about her life.

Texas law allows citizens to sue anyone who “supports or encourages” an abortion as soon as the fetus’s cardiac activity is detected — which can be as early as six weeks, a time before many women realize they are pregnant. The law had a chilling effect on abortion in Texas, falling dramatically since Senate Bill 8 went into effect on September 1, 2021.

This isn’t the first time PepsiCo has been ridiculed on the internet. In 2017, the company ran an ad starring supermodel Kendall Jenner after he was accused of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement. At the time, Pepsi released a statement that said, “Pepsi has sought to spread a global message of unity, peace and understanding. We clearly missed the mark and we apologize.”

The company also made significant donations to almost every democratic organization during a similar period. PepsiCo donated $10,000 to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus on September 24, 2021. Also, on August 29, 2021, the Company donated $25,000 to the Mexico-US Legislative Caucus. Additionally, on November 11, 2021, PepsiCo made a small donation of $1,250 to Annie’s List – a Texas group dedicated to empowering women for higher office. Foote said PepsiCo’s statement on the donation timing applies only to the Texas Democratic and Republican parties.

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