A nutrition watchdog urged Beyoncé Knowles to rethink her $50 million deal with Pepsi as the soft drink's "brand ambassador."
In a letter to the pop star, the Center for Science in the Public Interest told Beyoncé that by lending her name and image to the product, she is linking her "positive attributes with a product that is quite literally sickening Americans" and is associated with weight gain, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
Along with offering Beyoncé a raft of statistics linking sugary drinks to disease, the CSPI also made the argument that almost all of obesity-related health problems have a disproportionate impact on low-income, African-American and Hispanic communities.
If Beyoncé goes ahead with the deal (it is after all, a nice chunk of change), then Michael Jacobson, CSPI's executive director, suggested that she "consider donating your proceeds to a hospital, diabetes organization or another reputable charity involved in the prevention or treatment of soda-related diseases.
"I imagine that it must be hard for anyone to turn away $50 million. But this endorsement deal strikes me as particularly inappropriate considering your popularity with America's young people and the extent to which Pepsi and other sugar drinks promote disease," Jacobson wrote.
CSPI and other health advocates have been at war with the soft drink industry, coming off a big victory in New York where Mayor Michael Bloomberg managed to ban the 16 oz. soda serving.
Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, and Roger Goodell, commissioner of the National Football League, were copied on the CSPI's letter. Pepsi and Beyoncé could not immediately be reached.