1/07/2013 10:17:00 AM

Is It Unethical for Celebrities to Endorse Soda?

In a provocative Op-Ed this weekend, NY Times columnist Mark Bittman called out Beyonce Knowles for her recent endorsement deal with Pepsi. The singer is receiving millions of dollars to appear in ads and promote the perfectly legal product, but Bittman thinks this doesn't gel with her stated focus on healthy living. The writer compares today's soda marketing to another public health hazard that wasn't always treated as such. From his column:

"Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in. From saying, as she once did in referring to Let’s Move, that she was 'excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,' she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis."

He's not just criticizing the pop star - he blames other celebs ranging from Madonna to Elton John for signing on to promote unhealthy product. Although soda is widely promoted and available, Bittman points out that it causes many health hazards and boils his argument down to this: "Some will say that soda is food and that there’s no smoking gun as there is with tobacco. But food provides nourishment, and soda doesn’t."

What do you think? Is it fair to knock these celebs for selling the product, or is Bittman out of line for criticizing a deal that endorses an item that is loved by millions of Americans?

1 comment :

  1. Was it fair for Mark Bittman to be a paid sycophant sidekick to Mario Batali as they promote wine and other alcoholic beverages in Spain during their "On the Road Again" TV show? Sure, though many are harmed by alcohol. But he can do what he likes. And Beyonce can do what she likes without permission from Mark Bittman. Soda isn't illegal. Snobbery of the sort Mark Bittman continually spews should be.