Sarah Jean Seman

Meet the two “most refreshing things on ice” Coca-Cola and former-Olympian Michelle Kwan. The only problem? Kwan also sits on President Obama’s public health panel, a combination which the Center for Science in the Public Interest claimed sends very mixed signals.

According to CSPI Director Jim O’Hara:

The President's Council is one of the premier platforms the federal government has for promoting its official advice on nutrition. Therefore the Council has an obligation to protect the integrity of its public health messages. Allowing makers of sugar drinks or junk foods to rent Michelle Kwan or other Council members is unacceptable.

This is not the first time athletes on the President’s Council have posed with sugary drinks. Drew Brees, Allyson Felix, and Chris Paul have endorsed Pepsi, Gatorade and Powerade.

As reported by The Hill:

The nonprofit says Kwan and at least five other athletes on the panel are current or former “endorsers of sugar drinks.”

It said it was impossible to reconcile Kwan’s efforts on the nutrition commission with her paid support for a soft drink company, “since Coca-Cola and the President's Council communicate opposing messages when it comes to sugar drinks.”

In a letter to the commission, the health group asked for guidelines to protect “the integrity of the Council’s public health messages, including its recommendation that people drink water and not sugary beverages.”

“When the Council chooses a celebrity to deliver its public health messages, it gives that celebrity a ‘halo,’ to use the jargon of the public relations industry,” the letter continues. “The question is whether the Council is OK with Coca-Cola and other sugar-drink producers renting that halo for their purposes?”

So let's get this straight. Private businesses are renting the special celebrities the government has put a halo on? How dare they.


Sarah Jean Seman

Sarah Jean Seman is a Townhall Web Editor. Follow Sarah Jean Seman on Twitter @sarah_jean_

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography



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