A group of Republican legislators from Georgia is seeking to remove all Coca-Cola Company products from their offices after the company’s top executive came out against the state’s newly enacted election law.
The eight GOP state House representatives sent a letter to Kevin Perry, president and CEO of the Georgia Beverage Association, requesting that the products be removed from their offices immediately in response to Coca Cola’s participation in the campaign to “cancel” the Peach State.
The lawmakers characterized the beverage giant’s move to criticize the law as an intentional attempt to mislead Georgian residents and further divide the state.
“We have the responsibility to all of Georgia to not engage in those misguided intentions nor continue to support corporations who choose to,” the lawmakers wrote in their letter that was dated April 3. “Given Coke’s choice to cave to the pressure of an out-of-control cancel culture, we respectfully request all Coca-Cola Company products be removed from our office suite immediately.”
They added that they would reengage with the company should Coca-Cola decide to “read the bill, share its true intentions and accept their role in the dissemination of mistruths.”
A spokesperson from Coca-Cola told The Epoch Times in an emailed statement that they “welcome the opportunity to continue meeting with any Georgia lawmakers who are interested in a productive dialogue about our concerns regarding the recently enacted election laws in our home state.”
This comes amid mounting pressure on large corporations to take a stance on the ongoing battle over voting rights and election integrity in America. Georgia’s newly enacted election law has garnered intense scrutiny over recent months, after the state passed the law to address concerns about election integrity that flared up in the November 2020 election. That election saw a number of states implemented changes to voting regulations and procedures to expand mail-in voting that were said to ensure that voting access wasn’t limited by the pandemic.
While Democrats, some civil rights activists, and other critics say the law would disproportionately impact minority groups’ access to voting, Georgia officials say the law seeks to streamline vote-counting procedures, ensure election integrity and legal votes, and includes some provisions to expand voting access.
The 95-page law adds a slew of changes to the way Georgians vote, including requiring photo or state-approved identification to vote absentee by mail. The law also mandates that secure drop boxes be placed inside early voting locations with constant surveillance, and expands early voting across the state.
The law also shortens the election cycle from nine weeks to four weeks and requires a minimum of one week of early voting before election day. People who wish to vote absentee are faced with new requirements as well.
Following its passage, top executives from several large corporations such as Coca-Cola, Citibank, and Delta Airlines have openly taken a stance against the Republican-led election reforms aimed at protecting the sanctity of the ballot box in the Peach State. Also among them was Major League Baseball (MLB), which vowed to move its All-Star Game and 2021 draft out of Atlanta in an effort to punish the state.
Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey called the legislation a “step backward” during an interview on CNBC in late March.
“It does not promote principles we have stood for in Georgia around broad access to voting, around voter convenience, about ensuring election integrity,” he said. “This legislation is wrong and needs to be remedied.”
On Saturday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp condemned the attempts to ostracize his state but expressed his resolve to stand his ground amid the public row.
“Free and fair elections are the foundation of who we are as a state and a nation. Secure, accessible, fair elections are worth the threats, they are worth the boycotts, as well as the lawsuits,” Kemp told reporters during a press conference on April 3.
“I want to be clear. I will not be backing down from this fight, and neither are the people who are here with me today.”
Meanwhile, the corporate backlash has been met by calls for counteraction by prominent Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, who is urging Republicans and conservatives to stand firm and to hold their own boycott against the companies seeking to “cancel” Georgia.
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.) on April 2 said he was instructing his staff to draft a bill that would remove the federal anti-trust exemption granted to MLB.
“In light of MLB’s stance to undermine election integrity laws, I have instructed my staff to begin drafting legislation to remove Major League Baseball’s federal antitrust exception,” Duncan wrote on Twitter.
Updated with a statement from Coca-Cola.