Pepsi announced Wednesday it was pulling a controversial ad starring the model Kendall Jenner one day after it debuted.
The beverage giant said it was removing the ad and halting the rollout of the campaign.
“Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding,” the company said in a statement. “Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.”
Pepsi also apologized “for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
In the commercial, Jenner rips off a blonde wig to join a
multi-cultural group of young people holding “protest” signs with
feel-good terms like “join the conversation” and “love.”
Walking through the group, she grabs a Pepsi and hands it to a
stone-faced police officer watching the protest. His face breaks into a
smile, and the crowd breaks into cheers. “Live bolder. Live louder. Live
for now,” the screen reads.
The commercial immediately sparked controversy when it was released Tuesday, with people saying the ad was tone deaf and co-opted imagery from a Black Lives Matter protest.
Critics included Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter.
Pepsi has removed the commercial from YouTube. You can watch the full ad here: