Coke social media tool bans word “gay,” but not “straight”

Proud Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola, recently implicated in the detention and arrest of a gay rights advocate in Russia, has a new problem with the worldwide gay community.  It seems that Coke’s social media campaign, “Share a Coke,” is only designed for heterosexuals.

(UPDATE: Another Coke Web site, this time in the US, can’t handle the word “gay.”)

The site, which permits Coke fans to enter their name (or a message) on a virtual can of Coke, bans the word “gay.”  It does not, however, ban the word straight.

When you type in the word “gay,” here’s the messsage that Coke gives you:

“Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that.”

Yes, wouldn’t Coke like to pretend that the gay didn’t exist at all, considering the backlash Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and other Olympics sponsors have been facing over their refusal to speak out against increasing Russian human rights violations.  McDonald’s, for example, just saw gay rights advocates, led by Queer Nation NY, steal and neutralize its new “Cheers to Sochi” Twitter hashtag.

In the case of Coke, the soft drink giant was already in hot water with the gay community for permitting Olympic security personnel to wear the Coke logo while they arrested a gay Russian dissident.

Coke even had the temerity to publicly defend the arrest of the gay rights advocate for waving a rainbow flag during the Olympic flame relay.

Here are some screen shots showing the Coke social media campaign tool in action. First, you type in the word “straight,” and Coke makes you a nifty little Coke can that you can send around the Web to all your straight friends:

coke-straight

Next, you type in the word “gay.”

coke-gay

Rather than get a niftly little gay can to go along with your straight can, you instead see a rather insulting message from Coke telling you that we should pretend you didn’t just attempt to type the word “gay.”coke-gay-error

Here’s a video that walks you through what happens when you try to type in the words “gay” and “straight.”


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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