Oops! Coke Apologizes After Getting Busted Spending Millions to Manipulate Science
By Dr. Harold Goldstein, Executive Director, California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
Like a cat caught with the pet canary in its mouth, the world’s largest beverage company has guilt written all over its face. With little feathers still floating all over the house, Coca-Cola wants us to believe it is filled with remorse for spending millions of dollars manipulating science, and paying-off researchers to do its bidding.
Last week, the New York Times exposed the Coke-funded, Global Energy Balance Network as the industry front group that it is. Coke has been reeling ever since. Flash forward to today, with the damage control switch flipped to hype-drive, the company’s (soon-to-be-former) Chairman and CEO, Muhtar Kent reached out to the masses (well, at least those who read the Wall Street Journal) with a mea culpa of sorts, and a vow to “do better.” Oops!
Kent is making promises of “even more transparency” and being committed to “acting with integrity.” Come on!
- He’s running the ship that established a non-profit group of expert shills to tell us we simply need to walk or “Mixify” a little more when we drink all that Coke.
- His company spends billions each year on marketing—particularly marketing that targets children and teens of color.
- Coca-Cola and its beverage industry brethren spend millions to try to defeat citywide and statewide measures like sugary drink taxes and warning labels. And the list goes on.
As if ripped from the “How to Mislead and Deceive” chapter in Big Tobacco’s playbook, this promise to “do better” does nothing but underscore Coke’s continued effort to maintain its image as the company that wants to “Teach the World to Sing,” rather than acknowledge that its iconic products are culprits in the worldwide, skyrocketing diabetes epidemic.
To Muhtar Kent and his pals at Coca-Cola who think they’re in the clear after the WSJ apology, we say, we’re on to you! Just like Americans eventually caught on to Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man, they’ll catch on to Coke’s deceptions too.
No more little birdies for you, Mr. Kent!