The year is 2017. A reality tv show host has just been elected president. Record-breaking protests are breaking out across the country. Pepsi releases a commercial starring Kendall Jenner and from the midst of a crowded march, the model walks up to a police officer to hand him a can of soda. Police brutality finally ends.
Except, that's not how it went.
Pepsi's misguided ad – which was released less than a year after the publicized murder of Alton Sterling by a Louisiana police officer – enraged viewers, because it stood as a blatant example of white privilege. Kendall, a white, millionaire supermodel, may be able to safely engage with a police officer, but for a Black person, this harmless act could be a death sentence. The Pepsi ad was quickly taken down and the brand publicly apologized for missing the mark.
Three years later, police brutality has claimed many more lives (to name a few: Stephon Clark, Bothem Sean, Atatiana Jefferson, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor), including that of George Floyd, who died on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. Again, people are taking to the streets in a nation-wide uprising, but this time, Kendall has remained mostly silent.
Though her famous family members spoke out about the horrific killing days after it made headlines, Kendall waited until May 30 to post a Tweet and share a few updates on her Instagram Stories. "Please help get justice for George and his family #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd #BlackLivesMatter," she wrote, alongside a Change.org petiton.
Many are calling this attempt at activism feeble – especially, for a celebrity with over 159M collective social media followers, who hails from a family made famous by adopting Black culture.
Now, Twitter fans are calling the model out by resurfacing photos of her infamous 2017 campaign.
When the world needed her most, she vanished pic.twitter.com/GJO8RT7oU8— Steven Avocado (@StevenAvocado) May 31, 2020
Kendall Jenner and her can of Pepsi are real quiet rn— sai (@Saisailu97) May 30, 2020
kendall jenner handed a cop a pepsi one time like three years ago and decided that was enough activism for her for the rest of her fucking life— ashton | blm acab (@iofbvhs) May 30, 2020
Where’s Kendall Jenner with the Pepsi? pic.twitter.com/4cdOamLfq5— chicken (@MalikThreesly) May 28, 2020
all of a sudden ms. kendall jenner is silent but i thought she was the police brutality pepsi queen?— mik 🤎 (@mikissland) May 30, 2020
very interesting how kendall jenner starred in that Pepsi add in 2017 but has been awfully quiet lately! pic.twitter.com/qG1AfsBGVK— leah (@loserleah) May 31, 2020
wish kendall jenner would crack open a pepsi so we could end racism ❤️😔— ruby (@starsoIogy) May 28, 2020
Kendall has remained quiet on this controversy, as well.
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