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Pepsi faces calls for boycott over politics in US

This is the second time in six years that Pepsi has been caught in the political crossfire. In December 2016, supporters of Donald Trump threatened to boycott PepsiCo over fabricated comments attributed to Indra Nooyi. (AP)Premium
This is the second time in six years that Pepsi has been caught in the political crossfire. In December 2016, supporters of Donald Trump threatened to boycott PepsiCo over fabricated comments attributed to Indra Nooyi. (AP)

  • Pepsi is facing boycott for a $15,000 contribution to the Texas Republican Party
  • The company says the donation was made in 2020, but processed after Texas Governor Abbott signed an abortion bill into law.

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PepsiCo Inc. is facing another potential boycott over politics, this time for a $15,000 contribution to the Texas Republican Party.

Abortion-rights advocates are sounding the alarm that the donation, dated August 5 according to state ethics commission records, came almost three months after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill banning most abortions in the state. Pepsi says it made the donation in 2020 but that the state party didn’t cash its check until the following year.

The donation was first publicized in a January 24 newsletter, called Popular Information, by journalist Judd Legum. The newsletter called out contributions made by companies including AT&T Inc., Walmart Inc., Ford Motor Co., and Zillow Group Inc. The newsletter previously spotlighted the biggest corporate donors to lawmakers who sponsored SB 8, including AT&T and CVS Health Corp. 

But it’s PepsiCo Inc., the maker of snacks and beverages, that has drawn particular ire, especially after the writer E. Jean Carroll trumpeted the newsletter on Twitter in two separate tweets, calling the donation “ANOTHER reason to stop drinking Pepsi." Other users resurfaced a Pepsi campaign highlighting its women-centered employee resource group, and Popular Information recalled a Pepsi campaign on Twitter on March 1, 2021, the first day of Women’s History Month. 

A PepsiCo spokesperson said in a statement to Bloomberg that the company typically makes donations to support a number of state parties, both Democratic and Republican, during presidential convention years, and that the $15,000 check the company made in 2020 wasn’t processed until August 2021. The company added that it has not donated to either political party in Texas since 2020. 

In April 2021, Pepsi listed a $15,000 donation to the Texas Republican Party on its 2020 corporate political contributions report.

The company’s shares were down 1% to $171.34 at the end of trading on Tuesday.  

The PepsiCo contribution was the second biggest the Texas Republican Party reported receiving between July 31 and December 31 of last year. The party did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why it hadn’t cashed the check in 2020. 

Melanie D’Arrigo, a Democratic candidate for a U.S. House seat, on Twitter called the donations proof that “corporations are not people and they are not our friends."

“Unfortunately it happens on both sides of the aisle," D'Arrigo said in an interview. “I think we're starting to really see a divide between politicians that are bought and paid for by corporations and politicians who are fighting for people and coming from the grassroots."

Between July 31 and December 31, PepsiCo also gave $10,000 to the Texas Black Legislative Caucus, $25,000 to the Mexican American Legislative Caucus and $1,250 to Annie’s List, a political action committee devoted to electing progressive women.

PepsiCo reported $77 billion in sales for the year ending in September. 

The #BoycottPepsi hashtag, as well as the calls to boycott the brands it produces, come just weeks before the company is set to air its annual halftime show during the Super Bowl.

This is the second time in six years that Pepsi has been caught in the political crossfire. In December 2016, supporters of Donald Trump threatened to boycott PepsiCo over fabricated comments attributed to Indra Nooyi, the chief executive officer at the time.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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