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Consumer Reports


Activists: Pepsi dissin' hip-hop culture, call for boycott

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | (UPI) -- The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has called for a boycott of PepsiCo Inc., over what the group called the company's "cultural disrespect" of hip-hop culture.

HSAN Chairman Russell Simmons said the boycott was prompted by an apparent double standard for hip-hop in the company's national TV advertising. Simmons said the company demonstrated disrespect for hip-hop culture by dropping an ad campaign for Pepsi-Cola featuring rapper Ludacris, which was replaced by ads for the soft drink featuring metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne.

The company dropped Ludacris as a spokesman for Pepsi in response to public objections about his controversial lyrics. The controversy was featured prominently on the Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," with host Bill O'Reilly urging viewers to boycott Pepsi to protest the sexually explicit content of the rapper's lyrics.

Simmons pointed out that Osbourne trades on extensive use of profanity on his hit MTV comedy, "The Osbournes."

In a press statement announcing that its "Campaign for Respect" will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 12, HSAN said it had been trying to negotiate "a just settlement" of the issue, but without success.

"Unfortunately, Pepsi has failed, thus far, to resolve this issue in a manner acceptable to the hip-hop community," the press release said.

In a prepared statement, PepsiCo called the situation "unfortunate" and expressed respect for Simmons and hip-hop.

"The Ludacris situation was unfortunate for all concerned," said the company statement. "We learned from it and we've 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."

When asked what the company learned from the situation, PepsiCo spokesman Bart Casabona said the prepared statement "speaks for itself."

HSAN said it would try to enlist artists and fans of hip-hop to participate in the "Campaign For Respect" by refusing to buy PepsiCo products until the company meets three demands.

The organization wants PepsiCo to issue a public apology to Ludacris "and the hip-hop community," donate $5 million to the Ludacris Foundation -- a non-profit organization founded by the rapper -- and reinstate the Ludacris Pepsi ad.

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