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Famous Athletes and Entertainers "Partnering" With Coke Are Hurting Children and More

Campaign to Stop Killer Coke Newsletter | April 18, 2016

Do stars like Lebron James, Taylor Swift and Jordan Spieth Care?

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Athletes and entertainers selling their name, image and reputation to advertise the Coca-Cola brand should understand that their decisions result in great harm especially to children, and will eventually damage their own reputation and legacy.

These athletes and entertainers are either unaware of Coca-Cola's deplorable record of victimizing children, violating human rights and degrading the environment or they lack compassion and empathy for the millions of victims of Coke's unbridled greed. They are willing to sell their soul for more fame and riches they don't need.

Killer Coke

Tom Brady calls Coca-Cola "poison for kids."

This is not the case with New England Patriots quarterback, Tom Brady, who lashed out at Coca-Cola last October calling the soda "poison for kids."

The world of Coca-Cola is one full of lies, deception, immorality, corruption and widespread labor, human rights and environmental abuses. The unbridled greed of Coke's top executives and board members does not allow compassion or empathy for the millions of children and other victims of this company's reprehensible policies and practices.

Coca-Cola equates opening a container of Coke with family values and happiness in its advertising and claims it doesn't market to children. Nothing could be further from the truth. When consumers see Coca-Cola ads and displays they should think of a company that has inflicted great hardship and despair upon many people and communities worldwide and whose products should be avoided and boycotted.

The company's main branding strategy is to attract and addict more children and youth on Coke. This will mean more sick kids and a big drain on healthcare systems. Coca-Cola production facilities will continue to diminish scarce water resources and pollute land and water needed for farming, drinking and sanitation as it has done on a grand scale in India and other countries. It does everything it can to influence legislation for its own benefit even though harmful to the public interest and will avoid and evade paying billions of dollars in taxes.

Last year, due to the outcries of pediatricians, family physicians, dieticians and health experts, three major medical associations, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American College of Cardiology ended accepting millions of dollars in "donations" from Coca-Cola.The donations, to the outrage of their members, caused these influential organizations to not only downplay the serious health risks of consuming Coke's sugar and chemical laden sodas, but to actually promote Coca-Cola as synonymous with part of a healthy lifestyle. The AAP had even accepted sponsorship from Coca-Cola for its "Healthy Children" website!

The University of Colorado School of Medicine announced last year that it was returning a $1 million "gift" from Coca-Cola after it was revealed that the money had been used to establish an advocacy group, the Global Energy Balance Network, that played down the link between soft drinks and obesity. The Center for Science in the Public Interest circulated a letter signed by 37 scientists and public health authorities accusing the Global Energy Balance Network of "peddling scientific nonsense." "Even though the university probably returned the money out of embarrassment, it's smart that they did it," said Dr. Michael Jacobson, the Center's executive director. "I hope this sets an example for other recipients of Coke money."

Clinical Professor of Medicine and Health Services at the University of Washington James Krieger wrote:

Sugary drinks increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, tooth decay and liver disease, independent of the calories they contribute to the diet. They alter the body's metabolism, affecting insulin, cholesterol and metabolites that cause high blood pressure and inflammation. While physical activity yields myriad health benefits, it is not the solution to the harms caused by sugary drinks. Consuming less is the answer, and that's the real thing Coke does not want you to hear."

Dr. Marion Nestle, New York University professor and author of recently published Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (And Winning), devotes two entire chapters on two very serious issues: "Targeting Children" and "Targeting Minorities and the Poor."

Dr. Richard Bruno and Dr. Orlando Soto, AAFP members pointed out in an article published in The Maryland Family Doctor in Summer 2014: "Psychologists have labeled The Coca-Cola Company advertising campaigns as 'predatory marketing,' with recent research estimating the average child is exposed to almost 200 Coca-Cola ads each year."

Dr. Arnold Matlin, a retired pediatrician and AAP member, was quoted in The New York Times stating, "The purpose of the academy, of which I am a proud member, is to protect the health and lives of children...Coca-Cola is bad for children, and the AAP should never accept sponsorship from Coke or any other company that makes sugar-sweetened beverages. It's obscene."

Athletes and entertainers concerned about the well being of children, human rights and the environment should not be "partnering" with Coke but instead use their influence to make it clear that:

  1. Coca-Cola must stop aggressively marketing to children unhealthy products that fuel the childhood obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and tooth decay epidemics.
  2. Coca-Cola must act to end the use of illegal child labor in the dangerous harvesting of sugar cane for its sugar suppliers. To do this, Coca-Cola must adequately compensate its sugar processors so sugar cane harvesters can be paid a fair wage. Then tens of thousands of children can be in school and in playgrounds rather than toiling in fields cutting and stacking sugar cane.
  3. Coca-Cola must accept responsibility for its complicity in human rights abuses including the systematic intimidation, kidnapping, torture and murder of union leaders and family members in Colombia and Guatemala. Several films, books, reports and articles have documented this violence.
  4. Coca-Cola must end its overexploitation and pollution of scarce water resources that have turned farmlands into wastelands and left insufficient water for irrigation, sanitation and drinking in countries like India and Mexico.

To learn more about the sins of Coca-Cola worldwide, please visit:

Peace & Justice,

Ray Rogers
Campaign to Stop Killer Coke
(718) 852-2808