February 6, 2003 17:02
PEPSI SLAMMED OVER LUDACRIS TREATMENT!
Russell Simmons is furious over the company's treatment of Ludacris...
The ad was pulled last August, a day after Fox News Channel ran a news story criticising Pepsi for using the rapper, and questioning whether he was a suitable spokesman, given his lyrics.
Simmons, founder of the Def Jam label, who release Ludacris' records, accepted the decision at the time, but after seeing The Osbournes - famed for their four-letter diatribes on their MTV series – advertising Pepsi during the Superbowl, he decided to take action. The advert featuring 'The Prince Of Fucking Darkness' and his brood cost Pepsi $1.6 million for a 30-second slot.
At a press conference yesterday (February 5), Simmons demanded an apology from Pepsi and a $5 million donation to his charity organisation.
He said: "They are being hypocritical in this case. Falling out of favour in the hip-hop community could be very damaging."
He called for a boycott to start on February 12, and wants Ludacris supporters to protest by boycotting Pepsi and subsidiary companies, including Lipton's Iced Tea, Mountain Dew and Aquafina water, according to the Seattle Post Intelligencer. "In hip-hop," Simmons said, "our idea is if you don't want us, we don't want you."
A spokesperson for Pepsi said: "The Ludacris situation was unfortunate for all concerned. We learned from it, and we moved on. We completely understand and respect Russell Simmons' passion for promoting hip-hop music, and we are working with him and others to do just that." The Seattle Post-Intelligencer said he had declined to comment on the proposed boycott.