Beyoncé urged to reconsider $50 million Pepsi deal

Beyoncé at a Pepsi photo shoot in October, and limited edition Beyoncé Pepsi can.

Beyoncé at a Pepsi photo shoot in October, and limited edition Beyoncé Pepsi can.

Last week Beyoncé and Pepsi announced a $50 million endorsement deal that would include standard advertising as well as a multimillion-dollar fund to support the singer’s chosen creative products.

“Pepsi embraces creativity and understands that artists evolve,” Beyoncé said in a statement. “As a businesswoman, this allows me to work with a lifestyle brand with no compromise and without sacrificing my creativity.”

Today, Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest released an open letter asking the pop icon to back out of her $50 million deal, because Pepsi “contributes to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, tooth decay, and other health problems in adults and children.”

You occupy a unique position in the cultural life of this country and are an inspiring role model for millions of young people. Your image is one of success, health, talent, fitness, and glamour. But by lending your name and image to PepsiCo, you are associating those positive attributes with a product that is quite literally sickening Americans.

Each additional sugary drink consumed per day increases the likelihood of a child becoming obese by 60 percent. Each soda consumed per day increases the risk of heart disease in men by 19 percent. Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases one’s risk for type 2 diabetes by 25 percent. Diabetes, in turn, can cause complications including amputation, erectile dysfunction, blindness, coma, and early death. Almost all obesity-related health problems have a disproportionate impact on low-income, African-American, and Hispanic communities.

The “Single Ladies” singer has been involved with Pepsi since 2002 and is scheduled to star in a new TV commercial, appear on a limited edition of Pepsi cans and will perform during the 2013 Super Bowl halftime show, which is sponsored by the soft drink.

CSPI said that if Beyoncé goes through her Pepsi deal she should consider donating the proceeds to a hospital, a diabetes organization, or another charity involved in the treatment or prevention of soda-related diseases.

Do you think Beyoncé should walk away from her Pepsi deal?

Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC