The Center for Science in the Public Interest is urging Beyonce to drop her $50 million deal with Pepsi because soft drinks contribute to obesity and other health problems in children and adults.
An open letter from the director of the CSPI reads in part,
Beyonce you have a unique position in the cultural life of this country and are an inspiring role model for millions of young people.
Your image is one of success, health, talent, fitness, and glamour. But by lending your name and image to PepsiCo, you are associating those positive attributes with a product that is quite literally sickening Americans.
I imagine that it must be hard for anyone to turn away $50 million. But this endorsement deal strikes me as particularly inappropriate, considering your popularity with America’s young people and the extent to which Pepsi and other sugary drinks promote disease.
The New York Times attributed to you a statement that this endorsement agreement allows you “to work with a lifestyle brand with no compromise and without sacrificing [your] creativy.” It seems to me that this deal is actually an enormous comprise. In fact, I would characterize this as an even bigger compromise than your accepting $2 million to perform at the 2009 New Year’s Eve bash thrown by Hannibal Gaddafi, the famously violent son of the now-deceased Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
You realized that that arrangement was in error and wisely donated those proceeds to charity, I respectfully urge you to reconsider your arrangement with PepsiCo. If you move ahead with your promotional activities, you may wish to consider donating your proceeds to a hospital, diabetes organization or another reputable charity involved in the prevention or treatment of soda-related diseases.