Coca-Cola dumps Trump, declines to sponsor Republican Convention

Some major companies are reportedly reconsidering whether to sponsor the Republican National Convention that will take place in Cleveland, Ohio between July 18 and July 21.

In February ColorOfChange sent letters to Coca-Cola, Google, Xerox, Adobe Systems, AT&T, and Cisco Systems asking them not to support the Republican National Convention if Donald Trump was the nominee.

Pressure has been increasing and Coke has responded by backing away slowly from the crazy that is the sure to be the Republican convention, where Donald Trump has promised “riots” if he is not nominated.

The New York Times reported that Coca-Cola has heard the complaints brought by ColorofChange and has already declined to sponsor the Republican National Convention to the same level of $600,000 as they did in 2012. In fact, they had donated $75,000 and they have no plans to donate more. Why? ColorofChange has a more than 100,000 signatures on a petition demanding that the companies that sponsor the convention decline to do so this year, including Google, Walmart, Xerox, and Apple.

Kent Landers, a Coca-Cola spokesman, declined to explain the reduction in support. But officials at the company are trying to quietly defuse a campaign organized by the civil rights advocacy group ColorofChange. Donating to the event, the petition states, is akin to endorsing Trump’s “hateful and racist rhetoric.’’

Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange, said in a statement that this is not about left and right, it is about Trump’s violent rhetoric, “We have said from the beginning that this isn’t about left or right, but about right and wrong. Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric, has inflamed a national atmosphere already hostile to Latino, Muslim, and Black communities as well as women and people with disabilities.”

Robinson continued, “He has inspired violent attacks on peaceful protesters and journalists and all the while has continued to be given a free pass by much of mainstream media and corporate sponsors. This is not “business as usual” and corporations should not continue to treat it as such.”

Rashad Robinson
Rashad Robinson

But ColorofChange wants more than just not donating more money to the actual convention. They want companies to pull advertisements and promotions as well, “We are glad that Coca-Cola is choosing to do the right thing, by rethinking what will surely be an international platform for more hate and intolerance. We demand that Coca-Cola and other current sponsors stop the promotion of their products and airing of commercials during the convention, that they agree that they will not make in-kind donations and that they withdraw any initial pledges.”

Hateful rhetoric has its costs, and one of them is that no matter how much money companies will pour into dark money outlets like SuperPACs, they do not want to be publicly associated with the kind of hate speech and violence Donald Trump ignites.  This is the beginning of the end for the long, fruitful and public relationship between corporations and the GOP unless Republicans can rein this in quickly.

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