At least one leading politician from Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and conservative media outlets have called for boycotting Coke products or banning the company’s “Love is Love” ad series.
“The Coca-Cola Company strives for diversity, inclusion and equality in our business, and we support these rights in society as well,” a Coke spokesperson said in a statement. “As a long-standing supporter of the LGBTQI community, we believe everyone has the right to love the person they choose. The campaign currently running in Hungary reflects these values.”
Coke launched the “Love is Love” campaign in Hungary days ahead of the progressive Sziget festival, which is scheduled to kick off in Budapest this week. The posters read “Zero Sugar, Zero Prejudice.” and depict same-sex couples kissing and sharing a Coke.
The ads can be seen at train stations and elsewhere in the nation’s capital, according to several local media reports. Coke also shared images of the ads on its Hungarian Facebook page over the weekend.
István Boldog, a member of parliament and a leader of Hungary's Fidesz party, has called for a boycott of Coca-Cola products until the controversial ads are removed.
An online petition, currently halfway towards its goal of 50,000 signatures, seeks to support the boycott and urges local authorities to ban the display of these ads. The translated version of the petition emphasizes that until now, large companies in Hungary have not featured openly gay content and messages in their advertising. The petition warns that this situation is a test, and if the Hungarian society accepts such content, it may pave the way for more inclusive advertising initiatives like posters, commercials, films, and products featuring rainbow themes. The petition expresses concerns about the potential slippery slope, making it progressively harder to halt these developments.
Despite Hungary legally recognizing unions for same-sex couples, the Fidesz party, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, remains opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage.
Budapest, the capital of Hungary, is known for hosting pro-gay rights events, including an annual Pride parade that draws significant participation.
The Sziget festival, a week-long event with notable musical acts, actively promotes an inclusive environment where “no one can be discriminated or insulted based on their skin color, religion or sexual identity.”