North Carolina County Bans Coke Vending Machines in Attempt to 'Cancel' Company

A North Carolina county decided to ban Coca-Cola vending machines in its office buildings after the company outwardly expressed criticism over Georgia's new voting restrictions.

North Carolina's Surry County decided to remove the machines after the Atlanta-based soft drink company released a statement on April 1 to express their disappointment over the voting laws passed in Georgia in March.

"We want to be crystal clear and state unambiguously that we are disappointed in the outcome of the Georgia voting legislation," Coca-Cola's statement, written by Chairman and CEO James Quincey, read. "Throughout Georgia's legislative session we provided feedback to members of both legislative chambers and political parties, opposing measures in the bills that would diminish or deter access to voting."

"We all have a duty to protect everyone's right to vote, and we will continue to stand up for what is right in Georgia and across the U.S.," Quincey concluded.

Surry County commissioners, who are all Republican, voted last month to remove the vending machines, but Winston-Salem, N.C. television station WXII reported they have yet to be taken out.

Eddie Harris, one of Surry County's commissioners, told WXII in a video interview that removing the vending machines was a way for the county to stand against "cancel culture."

"The left-wing in America, they defund, they boycott, they cancel, they tear down statues—all sorts of egregious actions," Harris said. "The expectation from them is the opposing political side will cower in the corner and we're supposed to accept that and it's supposed to be OK. And it's not OK."

"We are trying to cancel Coca-Cola," he said. "To use their tactics against them."

In a statement to Newsweek, Harris said, "I would suffice it to say that I am very concerned with big corporations and the unelected oligarchs in Big Tech trying to affect public policy and bowing to this cancel culture. Millions of American conservatives and Republicans use Coca-Cola products and they should be more respectful of the views of all of their consumers."

Georgia lawmakers signed new voting laws into effect in March, requiring voter IDs for absentee ballots, allowing fewer ballot drop boxes and criminalizing bringing food and water to voters waiting in line, among other restrictions.

According to Bloomberg, groups were threatening boycotts of major corporations that had previously supported the bill's sponsors, one of those being Coca-Cola.

New Georgia Project Action Fund CEO Nsé Ufot told Newsweek in March that companies like "Delta, Coca-Cola, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's praise of this bill is a betrayal. It shows they are ready to dismantle the freedom to vote alongside the Republican lawmakers they so willingly support."

Coca-Cola then told Newsweek that they had already been working to express their concerns and advocate for "positive change in voting legislation."

According to WXII, a spokesman for Coca-Cola Consolidated, a bottling company separate from Coca-Cola, said that the company has reached out to Surry County officials in hopes of setting up a meeting with commissioners to work out their recent decision to ban.

A woman walks past a Coca Cola
A woman walks past a Coca Cola vending machine at a shopping mall in Arlington, Virgina, on February 15, 2011. A county in North Carolina recently decided to ban all Coca-Cola vending machines from its office buildings after the Atlanta-based soda company expressed its disappointment in Georgia's new voting laws. JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images