Public Interest Group Questions Coca-Cola Endorser Michelle Kwan
By Max Rothman
Celebrities, like plenty of people, have contradictions woven deeply into the fabric of their nature. However, because most people aren’t famous enough to endorse products or movements, it’s celebrities who often elicit the wrath of think tanks and advocacy groups, which accuse them of hypocrisy.
About a month after Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), penned a polemic for The Huffington Post, his group is back at it, questioning former Olympic figure skater Michelle Kwan for her endorsement of Coca-Cola and membership of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.
The council advises Americans to cut the intake of sugar and calories by drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
“CSPI says that dual roles for the five-time world champion skater cannot be reconciled, since Coca-Cola and the President’s Council communicate opposing messages when it comes to sugar drinks,” according to a CSPI statement.
This isn’t the first example of endorsement watchdogging in the beverage industry. In September, the CSPI pointed out the contradiction of Shaquille O’Neal‘s participation in both Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” fitness campaign along with the endorsement of Soda Shaq, a line of cream sodas launched by AriZona. In January 2013, reporter Mark Bittman of The New York Times wondered why Beyoncé Knowles probably wouldn’t pose with a rifle, but does pose with a Pepsi, which may one day be ranked as deadly as cigarettes.