Jonathon Burns

A movement called “Killer Coke” has been getting a great deal of press in recent months by alleging that Coke has been systematically assassinating its employees in India, Colombia, Turkey, and elsewhere.

The group’s goal is ostensibly a mission of justice. Ray Rogers, founder of the New York-based Campaign to Stop Killer Coke, spoke at a Coca-Cola shareholder’s meeting in April of 2004. At the meeting, Rogers publicly accused Coke chairman Douglas Daft of lying about Coke’s actions, and asserted that Coca-Cola’s bottlers “contracted with, or otherwise directed paramilitary security forces that utilized extreme violence, and murdered, tortured, unlawfully detained, or otherwise silenced trade union leaders.” Since the meeting, Rogers has been hitting every news outlet that will listen, trying to get people to believe his insanity. Problem is, the media has finally begun to listen. But the truth of it is that the Killer Coke movement is really just another social responsibility shakedown.

Ray Rogers, Shakedown Artist

Ray Rogers is an old-hand as a union shakedown artist. In the 80s Rogers used his intimidation tactics against a variety of corporations, from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. to General Electric to Hormel. Because of his abrasive, assault-style union organizing tactics, he became a pariah to American unions and fell out of favor in the mid-90s. Ever since, however, Rogers has been looking for a re-entrance onto the public stage. In the Killer Coke movement, he’s found his vehicle.

Rogers' work in the Killer Coke movement has brought him back into the good graces of unions. His hopes are to drown Coke in a tidal wave of bad press. After the water-boarding is through and Coke is broken, he thinks Coke will pay the ‘good boy’ fee and donate vast sums of money to his group, other unions, and non-governmental organizations. And after he’s through bleeding all the red out of Coke’s logo, Rogers will move on, like a parasite, to attack another big American company. Rogers doesn’t even try to hide his intentions. He openly admits his strategy is to “divide and conquer” large corporations.

Supported by secret backers in Colombia and the U.S., Rogers has been going all over the country, scaring up support for his movement. His greatest successes have been on college campuses, where lemming-like, faux do-gooders have been duped into jumping onto the Killer Coke bandwagon. Michigan State temporarily banned Coke products on its campuses last year, and Berkeley (surprise), UCLA (again, surprise), University of Connecticut, DePaul, and others stand poised to do the same.

Jonathon Burns

Jonathon Burns is a writer and a journalist. His work has been seen in the Wall Street Journal and numberous Missouri publications

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