Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on Grist, and is re-posted with permission.
COPENHAGEN—Two Cola-Cola* employees urged people in Copenhagen to never drink the soft drink again, denouncing their company’s environmental and human rights record in a highly unusual press conference* in the Hopenhagen LIVE area in City Hall Square.
The public relations* workers from Atlanta* said their consciences compelled them to speak out against the soft-drink conglomerate, inviting onlookers to make a public pledge against Coca-Cola’s water use, labor practices, and environmental claims.
At least 20 people took the pledge, reciting, “I, [name], with respect for crimes against people and the planet, from this day forward, for the rest of my living days will never, ever, drink Coca-Cola again until the Coca-Cola company ceases and entirely stops stealing the water from communities in India and stops union-busting in Colombia and ceases and desists entirely from relentless and absurd greenwashing like a ‘bottle of hope.’”
Public Relations Specialist Frank Guerrero* and Public Relations Assistant Stacia Van Wooten* expected they would be fired for their unauthorized actions.
“We just can’t take the hypocrisy anymore,” said Van Wooten.*
Dozens of people crowded into one of the small green trailer-pods scattered throughout the square, regarding the announcement with a mixture of amusement, surprise, and enthusiastic support. Ironically enough, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent was just a block away a few hours earlier, telling other business executives at the Copenhagen Business Day about his company’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint.
*Of course, it was all white lies and fraudulence. Fraudulence! The two rebels aren’t actual Coke employees. They’re from the activist troupe The Yes Men. The pranktivists’ explanation for the lies? That Coca-Cola’s greenwashing is dishonest and its environmental impacts and labor practices unjust. (Details here, here, and here.) Admitting this on Coca-Cola’s behalf is, as The Yes Men call it, “identity correction.”
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