AUSTIN (Nexstar) — While some consumers may choose to give up drinking Pepsi for health reasons, a growing number of consumers are calling to boycott PepsiCo, after an online newsletter first reported on Monday that the company donated to the Texas Republican Party.
The hashtag “#BoycottPepsi” is gaining online traction after a progressive newsletter “Popular Information” reported PepsiCo and other companies donated to politicians and politician committees that played a role in enacting Texas’ controversial abortion law. The author noted that these donations likely occurred before the law was passed, but argued the contribution nonetheless helped the Republicans who sponsored it.
All donations are made public through the Texas Ethics Commission. PepsiCo donated $15,000 to the Texas GOP, which was recorded by the commission as being received on Aug. 5, 2021. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott signed the abortion legislation into law on May 19, 2021.
PepsiCo defended its contribution in a statement sent to Nexstar via email, implying the timeline refutes support for the Texas abortion law.
“During presidential election years, PepsiCo has typically made donations supporting both the Democratic and Republican conventions in several states. In the summer of 2020, we donated to both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas to support those state conventions. The check to the Republican party was not processed until August 2021. As a result, the donation was recorded then and disclosed in a recent filing,” said Andrea Foote, PepsiCo’s senior director of global communications.
According to finance reports, PepsiCo made a $25,000 donation to the Texas Democratic Party on May 26, 2020.
Foote added that PepsiCo has made no further donations to either Texas state political party since 2020, saying “any reports to the contrary are incorrect.”
Regardless, users on Twitter are using this as fuel to protest the company. Many are calling into question PepsiCo’s “commitment to empowering women,” as opponents of the abortion law say it takes away a woman’s ability to made important decisions about her life.
The Texas law enables citizens to sue anyone who “aids or abets” in an abortion once fetal cardiac activity is detected — that can be as early as six weeks, a time before many women realize they’re pregnant. The law has had a chilling effect on abortions in Texas, dramatically decreasing since Senate Bill 8 went into effect on Sept. 1, 2021.
This isn’t the first time PepsiCo has been the subject of online ridicule. In 2017, the company pulled an advertisement featuring supermodel Kendall Jenner, after being accused of trivializing the Black Lives Matter movement. At the time, Pepsi released a statement saying: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize.”
The company also made sizeable donations to mostly-all Democratic organizations during a similar time frame. PepsiCo donated $10,000 to the Texas Legislative Black Caucus on Sept. 24, 2021. It also donated $25,000 to the Mexican American Legislative Caucus on August 29, 2021. Additionally, PepsiCo made a small donation of $1,250 to Annie’s List on Nov. 11, 2021 — a Texas group dedicated to electing women to higher offices. Foote said PepsiCo’s statement about the timeline of donations only applies to the Texas Democratic and Republican parties.