FACT CHECK: Did CNN Send This Tweet About Coca-Cola Changing Santa Claus To A Black Man?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims to show a tweet from CNN about Coca-Cola changing its Santa Claus character from “a caucasian man to an afro-american man.”

Verdict: False

There is no evidence CNN sent such a tweet.

Fact Check:

A tweet, allegedly from CNN’s verified Twitter account, has been making the rounds on Facebook in recent days, reading, “The Coca-Cola Company is changing Santa Claus from a caucasian man to an afro-american man according to a new announcement. The official look will be revealed soon. According to James Quincey, ‘The time has come for a Santa Claus that’s more relevant to our times.'” James Quincey is the chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company.

The tweet, however, appears to be fabricated. A search of CNN’s verified Twitter account, @CNN, did not yield any results for the tweet in the Facebook image. There is likewise no mention of such a story about Coca-Cola on CNN’s website. The tweet’s use of the term “Afro-American” also calls the tweet’s veracity into question. CNN does not use that language, instead using terms like “Black” and “African-American,” according to The Wrap.

Bridget Leininger, a CNN spokesperson, confirmed in an email to Check Your Fact that the tweet is fake. (RELATED: Did The BBC Air This Chyron Reporting Bobi Wine Will Be Sworn In As Uganda’s President?)

Coca-Cola has also not made any announcement about “changing Santa Claus from a caucasian man to an afro-american man.” A review of Coca-Cola’s press releases, as well as the company’s verified social media accounts, turned up no evidence of any such announcement. Check Your Fact didn’t find any instances of Quincey saying the quote, either.

It is worth noting, however, that the picture included in the fake tweet, the one showing a black Santa Claus holding a Coca-Cola, is real. It is an image pulled from an ad Coca-Cola created in collaboration with a Brazilian television channel in 2020, according to Ads of the World’s website. The ad shows an unemployed man who attempts to be cast as Santa Claus in Brazil but is rejected due to his skin color, though he later succeeds in becoming a Santa Claus for the Coca-Cola brand.

Some 2021 Christmas branding on the Coca-Cola website depicts Santa as an elderly white man with a beard.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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