A new advertisement featuring attractive young white people building a Coca-Cola tree and handing out soda to members of the indigenous Mixe community of Totontepec Villa de Morelos, Oaxaca, Mexico has caused outrage (video below).
The Alliance for Food Health said that the ad trashes the dignity of the indigenous people (who appear in the ad) and adds to their worsening health, including high rates of obesity and diabetes, The Guardian notes.
The commercial was pulled from the Coca-Cola YouTube channel on Dec. 1, but copies have been made and are circulating the web with the derisive name, "White Savior."
“It’s outrageous for the indigenous,” Diana Turner, a spokeswoman for Consumer Power, an organization that is part of the Alliance for Food Health, said, according to The Guardian.
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The young people in the ad build a Coca-Cola Christmas tree, which says in lights, “Let us become united” in the Mixe language. The ad also encourages people to break down prejudice. However, the commercial has been called "racist" by many on Twitter.
A spokesperson for Coca-Cola released a statement to the food site Eater on Dec. 2:
"As part of Coca-Cola Mexico's Christmas campaign for this year the video 'Mixe Community Totontepec' was launched on digital channels, seeking to convey a message of unity and joy. Our intention was never to be insensitive to or underestimate any indigenous group.
"We have now removed the video and apologize to anyone who may have been offended. In nearly 90 years in the country, Coca-Cola Mexico has worked to share messages of unity and friendship to contribute to build a society free of prejudices."
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