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How Coca Cola Tried to Buy Off Ray Rogers and End the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke

For the past fifteen years, Ray Rogers has spearheaded the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.

Rogers says it’s a campaign to hold Coca-Cola Company, its bottlers and subsidiaries accountable and “to end the gruesome cycle of violence and collaboration with paramilitary thugs, particularly in Colombia.”

Ray Rogers
Founder
Corporate Campaign
New York, New York

“These atrocities include the systematic intimidation, kidnapping, torture and murder of union leaders and members of their families in efforts to crush their unions,” Rogers says. “In countries like Colombia and Guatemala, a strong union can mean the difference between life and death for people who dare to challenge corporate and political abuses.

In 2006, a Financial Times story labeled Rogers Coca Cola’s “fiercest foe.” Rogers and the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke are featured in a full-length documentary, The Coca-Cola Case.

Rogers says that in 2010, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce agreed to pay him $15,000 to be the keynote speaker ata luncheon in Washington, D.C. since his strategies and campaigns in fighting big business have been “so alarming and effective.”

Rogers says that Coca-Cola, a major sponsor of the U.S. Chamber, pressured the Chamber to rescind the invitation and Ray was paid a $3,000 cancellation fee which went to support the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke.

Rogers reports that in 2016 and 2017, Coca-Cola’s then CEO Muhtar Kent suggested he and Rogers should meet privately to discuss how they could resolve their differences.

“Two lengthy, no holds barred, but cordial private meetings at Coca-Cola’s office in New York City happened in May 2016 and January 2017,” Rogers’ Corporate Campaign reported last month. “Both Rogers and Kent, unbeknownst to each other, brought gifts. In the first meeting, Rogers presented Kent a container of Trader Joe’s dark chocolate coffee beans and a bottle of pomegranate juice and Ray was given a lovely handbag made by a woman in Brazil, who as part of a collective, made a living recycling Coke can flip tops as artwork ornaments in creating designer-type handbags. In the second meeting, Ray presented dark chocolate and natural juice and received bottles of extra virgin olive oil produced from Kent’s olive orchards.”

“Numerous discussions also took place with another high level Coca-Cola representative through April 2017.”

“It was made clear to Rogers that if he would ‘get off Coke’s Back’ and end the Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, he would have plenty of money to carry on whatever work he decided to do and that Coke would be willing to fund a large no-kill animal shelter in NY City which Ray wanted as his reward to end the campaign.”

“Rogers made it clear that he could not be hired by, bought off or co-opted by Coca-Cola. The only way the campaign would end, he told Coke, is if justice was served relating to Coke’s complicity in well-documented human rights abuses in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico and the U.S. Those issues have yet to be resolved.”

Coca-Cola did not return calls seeking comment for this story.

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