The claim: Pepsi donated $100 million to antifa in 2020
In recent weeks, misinformation about Coca-Cola’s diversity, equity and inclusion training has brought the company under fire. Critics claimed the company’s mandatory training had urged employees “to be less white.” Fact-checkers found the claims to be a mixture of accurate and inaccurate information.
Regardless, the scandal is inspiring critics to turn their sights on other soft drink companies.
“We’re mad at Coke and Co, but also know that Pepsi donated over $100M to Antifa in 2020,” reads a Feb. 27 post to a conservative Facebook group.
This claim likely stems from disinformation about PepsiCo’s contributions to racial equity organizations. USA TODAY rated that claim false in August.
None of the posters accepted USA TODAY’s request for comment.
False claims about PepsiCo anti-racism contributions
In August, USA TODAY debunked claims that Pepsi had donated $400 million to the Black Lives Matter movement. Confusion came after former Fox Business Network host Lou Dobbs incorrectly claimed that several corporations pledged money to the movement during a July 16, 2020, broadcast. Dobbs acknowledged that his claims were inaccurate in a tweet the following day.
Black Lives Matter is an organization that was founded in 2013, after George Zimmerman was acquitted of /killing Trayvon Martin.
An unnamed PepsiCo spokesperson confirmed to Check Your Fact in February that the company did not donate money to antifa. PepsiCo did not respond to multiple requests for comment from USA TODAY.
Antifa is not an official organization that accepts donations
Unlike BLM, antifa is not an official organization. Antifa, short for anti-fascist, is an international left-leaning political movement. Aside from a few unified groups, the movement is largely unstructured with no leadership or headquarters to accept donations.
There is an International Anti-Facist Defence Fund that collects donations to help antifascist individuals with legal and medical support. Historian and antifa researcher Mark Bray described these contributions in The Washington Post as “small donations” that “hardly constitutes the moneyed boogeyman that Republicans have conjured.”
A man with an Antifa badge walks with Detroit Detroit Will Breathe members and other organizations as they march through the city of Detroit on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 while demanding the counting of all votes for the 2020 elections. (Photo: Ryan Garza, Detroit Free Press / USA TODAY Network)
After widespread antiracism protests in summer 2020, critics blamed antifa for violence and vandalism. In the months since, BLM opponents have continued to attribute political upheaval to antifa. Many falsely claimed antifa actors were responsible for the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot.
Our rating: False
We rate this claim FALSE, based on our research. There is no evidence PepsiCo donated $100 million to antifa in 2020. Allegations that PepsiCo funded the left-leaning movement likely stem from old misinformation that was debunked in August 2020. Antifa is an international political movement without any official leaders or defined structures.
Our fact check sources:
- Snopes, Feb. 22, “Did Coca-Cola’s Diversity Training Tell Workers ‘Try To Be Less White’?”
- USA TODAY, Aug. 28, 2020, “Fact check: PepsiCo pledges $400M to supporting social programs in Black communities”
- Lou Dobbs, July 17, 2020, tweet
- PepsiCo, accessed Mar. 1, “PEPSICO’S RACIAL EQUALITY JOURNEY BLACK INITATIVE”
- Gatorade, June 3, 2020, Instagram post
- Black Lives Matter, accessed Mar. 1, “About”
- Check Your Fact, Feb. 26, “FACT CHECK: DID PEPSICO DONATE $100 MILLION TO ANTIFA?”
- USA TODAY, Aug. 23, 2017, “What is antifa and what does the movement want?”
- The International Anti-Fascist Defence Fund, accessed Mar. 1, “About”
- The Washington Post, Sept. 11, 2020, “Five myths about antifa”
- USA TODAY, Jan. 14, “Fact check: What’s true about the Capitol riot, from antifa to BLM to Chuck Norris”
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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
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