Boycott Pepsi Calls Grow Over Alleged Donation to Texas GOP After Abortion Ban

A social media hashtag went viral urging people to boycott Pepsi after the company was alleged to have donated to the Texas GOP after the state's controversial abortion bill was signed into law.

The #BoycottPepsi hashtag briefly became the top trending topic on Twitter in the U.S. after Popular Information, a newsletter that details companies that donate to politicians backing certain causes, claimed that Pepsi had donated $15,000 to the Texas GOP after the bill which banned the procedure in almost all circumstances after six weeks was signed into law.

The report claimed that Pepsi continued to donate to the Texas GOP after the so-called heartbeat bill was enacted while continuing to promote its commitment to "empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community."

However, a spokesperson for Pepsi denies the claims in the Popular Information report. The company said the $15,000 was sent in 2020, but the check was not cashed until August 2021 and therefore only disclosed in the Texas Ethics Commission's filings last week.

"During presidential election years, PepsiCo has typically made donations supporting both the Democratic and Republican conventions in several states," a spokesperson for PepsiCo told Newsweek.

"In the summer of 2020, we donated to both the Democratic and Republican parties in Texas to support those state conventions. No further donations have been made to either Texas state political party since 2020. Any reports to the contrary are incorrect."

Writer E. Jean Carroll was one of the high profile figures who said she will boycott Pepsi while also claiming they had donated to Republicans who helped push through the abortion bill.

"Need ANOTHER reason to stop drinking Pepsi? PepsiCo sent a big fat check to the GOP legislators who got the TEXAS ABORTION BILL passed," Carroll tweeted.

In reply, fellow writer Tara Dublin wrote: "Pepsi was always the inferior cola, but I gave up all soda six years ago anyway. It's poison for your body, just like the GOP #BoycottPepsi."

Melanie D'Arrigo, a Democrat running for Congress in New York's 3rd District, also criticized Pepsi, while also naming the other companies in the report.

"Corporations are not people and they are not our friends. CVS Health, Pepsi, AT&T, Walmart are still donors to the GOP legislators leading the Texas abortion ban," D'Arrigo wrote. "To protect our rights and our democracy, we must get corporate money out of politics."

In September 2020, Popular Information named several companies who donated to lawmakers who co-sponsored the restrictive abortion bill in Texas.

However, at the time the finance data available only went up to June 30, 2021, meaning the donations occurred before the abortion ban was signed into law. The updated report covers the period from July 1 to December 31, 2021, as revealed by Texas Ethics Commission.

Pepsi was not the only company named in Popular Information's report, with AT&T revealed to have donated $80,000 to "key proponents" of the ban such as the Texas Senate Republican Caucus, who unanimously voted in favor the bill.

The article named AT&T as the biggest donor towards those who helped push through the abortion ban, despite CEO John Stankey saying one of the company's "core values" was "gender equity and the empowerment of women" in a 2020 Diversity, Equality and Inclusion report.

Popular Information also noted how on December 14, 2021, AT&T's PAC donated $30,000 to Republican House Speaker Dade Phelan, who helped push through Senate Bill 8 through the House.

In a statement to Popular Information, the company said: "AT&T has never taken a position on abortion and the Texas legislation was no exception. AT&T did not endorse nor support passage of Senate Bill 8 in the Texas legislature.

"AT&T's employee political action committees have never based contribution decisions on a legislator's positions on the issue of abortion, and employee PAC contributions to Texas legislators went to both opponents and supporters of Senate Bill 8.

"Our employee PACs contribute to policymakers in both major parties and will not agree with recipients on every issue."

The company added that under Texas law, the $50,000 donation from AT&T's corporate treasury to the Texas Senate Republicans "is strictly limited to being used to help defray administrative and overhead costs of the organization and may not be used for political purposes."

Update 01/25/2022, 2 p.m. ET: This article was updated to include a response from Pepsi denying they made a donation in 2021. The headline was updated to reflect this.

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In this photo illustration cans of Pepsi sodas are seen on March 22, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Social media users said they will be boycotting Pepsi after it was found to have donated $15,000 to Texas GOP after the state's abortion bill was passed into law. Joe Raedle/Getty Images