Why is it that our very politically correct American culture detests derogatory and dehumanizing words but so liberally uses the term “retard”? Have you ever noticed that?
Well, Coca-Cola is pulling no punches, and they won’t be getting in as much trouble were the insult any other word – but the company just recently apologized to a family in Alberta after they found a “delightful” message underneath the cap of one of their drinks.
While eating dinner with her husband on Tuesday night, Blake Loates untwisted the cap of her Vitamin Water Zero and found underneath it, printed in the same black font used for expiration dates, “YOU RETARD”.
“We immediately thought ‘You have got to be kidding me’,” Loates told the Huffington Post.
“We thought it might have been a disgruntled employee or someone in a [bottling] plant playing a joke.”
Loates’ father, Doug, has a younger daughter named Fiona who suffers from cerebral palsy and autism. Was this bottle cap message sheer coincidence?
“My dad had taught our family what an awful word the ‘r-word’ is. So he was really upset about this.”
Nonetheless, Doug, who resides in Washington State, stayed up all night writing a letter to Coca-Cola.
In Doug’s letter, he wrote: “You see, the “R” word is considered a swear word in our family. We don’t use it. We don’t tolerate others using it around us. We ARE over-sensitive but you would be too if you had Fiona for a daughter!”
So what was Coke’s explanation? On Wednesday, Coca-Cola contacted the family and explained that the bottle cap was part of a contest. Apparently, Vitamin Water is randomly printing out one English word and one French word on the bottom of their caps. How that exactly makes it a contest, one could only guess, but “retard” in French translates to “late” or “delayed”.
"Coke told us they reviewed the words before the contest, so we're still a bit confused about why, after sitting down and looking at the word list, they would decide to keep it. Its English meaning is offensive and they should have realized that," said Blake.
Shannon Denny, director of brand communications for Coca-Cola Refreshment Canada, told Metro Calgary, “We are certainly very apologetic for this oversight.”
“We didn’t mean to offend at all.”
Coke has planned to suspend the promotion, and all of the remaining caps have been destroyed.
(Photos via Facebook)