Coca-Cola won’t let you add the word ‘lesbian’ to its customisable Pride bottle

Emma Powys Maurice June 23, 2021
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One of the customised labels permitted by Coca-Cola (Coca-Cola)

Coca-Cola has come under fire for refusing to allow people to customise their Pride bottles with the word “lesbian”.

The new online customisation tool lets people personalise the glass bottles with their own bespoke labels, including an option with the Pride flag.

But for some reason the word “lesbian” is banned, along with “jihadists,” “Nazis,” “QAnon” and “Trump won”.

“Oops! Looks like the name you requested is not an approved one,” reads a message on the site. “Names may not be approved if they’re potentially offensive to other people, trademarked, or celebrity names. We’ve worked hard to get this list right, but sometimes we mess up.”

You can, however, customise the bottle to read “gay,” “transgender” and “bisexual” – although not on the Australian site, according to B&T.

The irrational blacklist quickly attracted scorn online as customers accused the company of “pinkwashing” for Pride Month.

“Coca-Cola allowing you to put every anti-trans slur on their rainbow bottles but banning you from writing ‘lesbian’ is peak corporate pride tbh,” wrote trans political figure and activist Arthur Webber.

Others pointed out Coca-Cola’s uncomfortable record of double standards when it comes to LGBT+ rights.

The company claims to be “one of the world’s most inclusive brands”, yet since 2016 it has made 28 donations to 23 American politicians who hold anti-LGBT+ positions, according to Corporate Accountability Action.

In response to the backlash, Coca-Cola said it was “refining and improving” the feature.

“We’re continuously refining and improving our Share A Coke personalisation tool to ensure it is used only for its intended purpose – for Coca-Cola fans to celebrate with one another and make connections,” the company said in a statement to Newsweek.

“We add terms and phrases if we feel they are consistent with that intent.”

Previously “Israel” and “Blue Lives Matter” were permitted while “Palestine” and “Black Lives Matter” was not, but all of these terms have now been banned.

Anti-trans slurs are no longer allowed, nor is “White Pride” – though for some reason, the word “lesbian” still remains off limits.

Related topics: coca cola, Pride

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