Coca-Cola's LGBTQ ads prompt call for boycott in Hungary

Hungarian advertisements for Coca-Cola are drawing ire from lawmakers in the country’s conservative party for promoting acceptance of LGBTQ people. 

The posters, which were designed to mark the week-long “Love Revolution” music festival beginning on Wednesday in Budapest, feature gay couples smiling with slogans such as “zero sugar, zero prejudice,” Reuters reported on Monday. The beverage giant also shared photos of the ads on Facebook.

Some lawmakers in the country’s nationalist Fidesz Pdarty have spoken out against the posters, calling for a Coke boycott. Fidesz’s deputy speaker Istvan Boldog, called for the protest Sunday against the “provocative” ads in a Facebook post.

The Fidesz Party does not support gay marriage, which is not recognized in Hungary. It reportedly did not endorse Boldog’s protest, saying that Hungarians should choose on their own whether to drink Coca-Cola.  

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“The homosexual lobby is laying siege to Budapest, leaving no space to avoid this,” said a post on Pestro Sracok, a Hungarian right-wing news site, according to Reuters.

But Coca-Cola said they will continue to support LGBTQ people around the world.

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“The Coca-Cola Company strives for diversity, inclusion and equality in our business, and we support these rights in society as well,” a spokesperson said in a statement to CNN. “As a long-standing supporter of the LGBTQI community, we believe everyone has the right to love the person they choose. The campaign currently running in Hungary reflects these values.” 

Some LGBTQ-rights activists questioned whether the pushback posed a danger to gay people in the country.

“We have a feeling they are testing people in this subject,” Tamas Dombos, an advocate with the Hatter gay rights group, told Reuters. “The entire government propaganda is built on conflict, and they need enemies. After the EU, migrants, NGOs and even the homeless, now it may be LGBTQ people.”  

“Sometimes it’s hard to dissect whether it’s a political strategy or just an inherent real homophobe getting mad at something like Coke’s campaign,” he continued.

The Hill has reached out to Coca-Cola for further comment. 

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