WASHINGTON — A photograph apparently taken by an American servicemember of a Pepsi can before departing Iraq has spurred a heated debate online for what some say is a “slap in the face” from the sodamaker’s Middle East/Africa division.
As U.S. troops left Iraq, U.S. soldier Rolando Martinez reportedly took the photo at right of a Pepsi can he found. Many online, including users who posted to the PepsiCo Facebook page, believe the rendering of a skyline combined with an airplane overhead depict the Twin Towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.
In the wake of the uproar, PepsiCo posted the following message to its Facebook wall:
“We understand that the design of the can be misinterpreted, which was never our intention. The design is one of two Diet Pepsi cans designed for our Middle East/Africa region, which was created by a South African design agency to display the growth of active cities in that region.
“Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us- we appreciate it. We have taken action to change the design of the can.”
This doesn’t seem to be enough for some consumers, many of whom have called for a boycott of the company.
Check out one of the company’s responses in the photo gallery at right.
The can does not directly state the pictured skyline depicts New York City, but many who have posted to Facebook and elsewhere online say at the very least, the design was not well-conceived.
An NBC News affiliate in Colorado reports the picture was viewed on Martinez’ Facebook page almost 30,000 times. The link to the original picture seems to be broken. Martinez was helping to close down a base in Iraq following the U.S. withdrawal from war operations in that country, NBC reports.
What do you think? Does this can depict the 9/11 attacks and is this enough for a boycott?
Check out this video of the picture, and other skylines on the Arab Peninsula:
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