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Trump supporters call for Pepsi boycott

PepsiCo, the food and beverages group, is facing a boycott of its products by supporters of US president-elect Donald Trump, after rightwing political websites misrepresented comments by its chief executive.

A number of sites, including Truthfeed and The Conservative Treehouse, directly quoted Indra Nooyi as telling Mr Trump's supporters to "take their business elsewhere" — a remark she did not make.

Ms Nooyi had been interviewed at a New York Times Dealbook event last week where she said that "all" her staff were "mourning" and "crying" following Mr Trump's election victory, and she had felt it necessary to reassure some who were concerned about their safety.

In response to the first election question put to her, she had congratulated Mr Trump on his victory and said: "We will all come together in a unified country. The process of democracy happened and we have to let life go on."

Nevertheless, some supporters of Mr Trump became incensed about Ms Nooyi's remarks, particularly those about women, which were interpreted as a criticism of the president-elect's behavior. They called on other supporters to boycott Pepsi's brands, and to spread the word via the Twitter messaging platform using the hashtag #boycottpepsi.

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PepsiCo has since acknowledged that Ms Nooyi "misspoke" at one point by saying that "all" employees were crying and mourning, but declined to comment further.

Bottles of Pepsi-Cola on sale in San Francisco.
Getty Images
Bottles of Pepsi-Cola on sale in San Francisco.

It is not alone in being caught in a divergent consumer backlash following the election.

New Balance, which makes a significant proportion of its shoes in the US, sparked protests when chief executive Matt LeBretton told the Wall Street Journal that he felt "things were going to move in the right direction" with a Trump victory.

Some owners of New Balance trainers reportedly went as far as burning their shoes in response. But a Trump supporting website claimed New Balance should become the "official shoes of white people".

New Balance said in a statement that its CEO's comments had been taken out of context and that it "does not tolerate bigotry or hate in any form", adding that it had supported the trade positions of both Mr Trump and Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Food delivery company GrubHub was also targeted after its CEO sent a letter to staff explaining that comments on immigrants made by Mr Trump during his campaign would have no place in his company and anyone against inclusiveness should resign. However, some interpreted his comments as meaning anyone who voted for Mr Trump should quit — triggering a call to boycott the company.

Mr Trump's opponents have called for consumer boycotts, as well. In protest at Ivanka Trump's decision to stand by her father through his campaign, some women shoppers said they would boycott retailers such as Amazon and Nordstrom unless they removed Trump brands from their shelves.