by Davey D

Last year [August 2002] a big controversy occurred when Pepsi the soft drink came under fire for hiring rap star Ludacris to be a spokesperson.  Ultra-right wing, conservative talk show host Bill O'Reilly of Fox Television went on TV and the radio and had a field day blasting the soft drink company for what he deemed to be a bad moral decision.  If you may recall, he went on a tirade about how Pepsi was rewarding bad behavior and how Ludacris would unduly influence nine year old kids to head in the wrong direction.  Folks may want to refresh their memory by reading the transcript to that landmark show:

O'Reilly pulled out some of Ludacris's lyrics and pointed out that in some songs, Ludacris was talking about selling drugs and in other songs he was degrading women and committing acts of violence.  He felt, that Ludacris was a 'thug rapper' who's violent and drug imagery was a much more serious matter than the sexpot image that was being put out by Britney Spears who was also a spokesperson for Pepsi.

Nevermind the fact that Ludacris had never been arrested or convicted of any wrong doing as opposed to Britney who was actually caught drinking underage or living with her boyfriend before she was 21. O'reilly felt that Ludacris was having more of an influence on 9 year olds.  Nevermind the fact that O'Reilly overlooked the real life antics of Papa Roach which is a rock band that was also hired by Pepsi.  Papa Roach was accused of peeing in a soda bottle on stage during a concert and filming a porno...

Papa Roach like Ludacris was being played on radio everyday and often shown on MTV where they were exposed to 9 year olds..  but O'Reilly pulled out all the stops and went after Ludacris-the Thug Rapper.  He encouraged his viewers to call Pepsi and send them a strong message about rewarding bad behavior 3000 emails and phone calls later, Pepsi caved in and dumped the rap star who had two of last years biggest hit songs.

Fast forward to Superbowl Sunday 2003-Millions of people around the world got to watch America's most celebrated family the Osbournes pitch Pepsi.  What happened to rewarding bad behavior?  Didn't Ozzie do drugs and live the fast and hard life of a rock-n-roller?  Don't they sponsor tours where they hire bands and other acts that have questionable lyrics and do bad things that can be deemed as corruptible to the moral values of our country?  Don't they curse and act foul and exude bad behavior?  Lets get real if I ever acted like the kids on the Osbournes [Jack and Kelly] toward my parents I would not be around to write the column.  I would be six feet under.  But hey what do I know.  The Osbournes are lauded by the former Vice President Dan Quayle.  They can be featured on the cover of popular magazines like People and Time.  They can be hired to host award shows like the American Music Awards and they can be hired to pitch Pepsi. If all that exposure is not influencing 9 year olds then what is? These guys are an 'American institution's even if they are from the UK.  And thus far I haven't seen or heard about any O'reilly campaign to get Pepsi to dump them as spokespersons.

Even more ironic-unlike Ludacris who's records actually carry a label warning parents that his albums contain explicit lyrics, the Osbournes have 12 year olds as a targeted audience.  In a recent interview Brian Graden, chief programming executive at MTV was commenting on the ratings of the Osbournes this season.  He noted although the show may not be as popular as it was last spring, it's still doing well among the 12-to-34-year-old viewership...  You can peep that here on the Fox news site,2933,76480,00.html

Well in any case, Pepsi seems to have some sort of double standard. They fired Ludacris and hired the Osbournes who are much more profane. If you recall Pepsi stated that they dumped Ludacris after hearing from their consumers who thought his lyrics were offensive.  I guess the Osbournes simply aren't offensive.  So much for 'moral responsibility'.  As a result Russell Simmons, the Hip Hop Summit Action Network and a host of other Hip Hop heavyweights are preparing to announce a proposed boycott of Pepsi during this week's NBA Allstar Weekend festivities.  Simmons says he wants to show Pepsi and corporate America just how powerful we are...

In the meantime someone please let me know when Bill O'reilly does the 'Right Thing' on his Factor program and leads a letter writing campaign to get his millions of listeners to blast Pepsi for hiring the Osbournes.  Thus far I haven't seen anything on his website.Certainly the guy who professes that he's all about having a no spin zone won't hold the same double standards that Pepsi is doing. Since the airing of the Osbourne Superbowl ads which were shown on Fox TV, O'reilly has done shows about the outburst in Oakland after the game.  He's done a couple of shows on the missing Modesto woman Laci Paterson.  He has a transcript of the show he did on rap lyrics being taught in the classroom.  He's even done a show with communications expert Jackson Baine about anti-war ads.  Jackson Baine is the same guy who was on the show when O'reilly got word that his campaign to dump Ludacris was successful.  But thus far there's been no gung-ho campaign to mash on Pepsi.  Here peep the archives and see if I overlooked something,2976,19,00.html

Perhaps the Osbournes are too much for O'reilly to handle.  Maybe his 'blue collar audience' isn't going to be feeling him if he goes after an icon like Ozzie.  Better yet, perhaps his 'No Spin Zone' is a slick marketing gimmick and all talk.  What a hypocrite.

Drop Bill O'reilly a line and ask him where's he at?

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