Coca-Cola has pulled the plug on a ‘virtual coke’ website after a row erupted over the site filtering the word “gay”.

The website allowed people to put their names onto the side of virtual coke cans, but typing the word “gay” would generate the response “Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that”.

The company has now taken down the website, and told Buzzfeed: “We are aware that the Share a Coke promotion we are running in South Africa has generated an unintended outcome. We apologise for any offence caused.

“The digital version of the Share a Coke promotion did not properly limit the customisation to individuals’ names.

“We’ve taken down the site and are in the process of revising the digital tool immediately.”

They added: “As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices. Again we apologise for any offence this has caused.”

Coca-Cola are a sponsor of the Winter Olympic games in Russia next month, and have faced protests for their silence over gay rights abuses in the region.

An AllOut petition urging the Coca-Cola management urging them to speak out publicly against Russia’s anti-gay legislation received over 150,000 signatures.