Coca Cola: The Ugly History

Mark Thomas on Coca Cola

BBC (2007)

Film Review

This documentary investigates the unsavory history and practices of Coca Cola, the world’s largest soft drink corporation. Including

  • their support of the 1936 Olympics in Nazi and ongoing business collaboration with Hitler during World War II. When the US entered the war in 1941, its Germany subsidiary developed Fanta especially for the German market, owing to their inability to import cola syrup.
  • their refusal to promote African Americans to administrative and management positions, leading Martin Luther King to call for a nationwide Coke boycott the day before his assassination. The issue remained unresolved until 2000, when Coke settled a federal civil rights lawsuit for $200 million.
  • their longstanding battle with Indian farmers over the depletion of aquifers they rely on for well water.
  • their collaboration with right wing paramilitary groups in Columbia to murder labor activists and their families for protest poor pay and working conditions in local bottling plants.
  • their refusal to crack down on their sugar supplier in El Salvador for illegally employing 30,000 children under 12 in sugar cane fields.
  • contamination of local residents’ drinking water in Nejapa El Salvador.
  • refusal to honor growing call by child health advocates to cease advertising caffeinated drinks to children under 12.