Coca Cola’s Spin Doctor Steps Down
By: Christina Sarich
Rhona Applebaum, a senior executive at Coca Cola, had been arranging to give donations amounting to $1.5 million to ‘charities’ that published propaganda telling people that sugary drinks have nothing to do with their weight problem, diabetes, and multiple other health issues associated with obesity.
Rhona Applebaum likely didn’t count on the trial (so clearly proving that Coca Cola is contributing to America’s obesity epidemic) being unveiled through her personal emails. Now she is taking ‘immediate retirement.’
In August of this year, The New York Times reported that Coca Cola had financial ties to the research group Global Energy Balance Network, which is made up of university researchers. The company provided the group with $1.5 million in research funding, $1 million of which went to the University of Colorado where group president, James O. Hill, is a professor.
Further investigations found that the beverage company helped pick the group’s leaders, draft its mission statement, and design its website. The research group argues that Americans are too fixated on calories and diet and should be more concerned about exercise – shifting focus away from Coca-Cola’s contribution to this nation’s ill health.
The emails reveal that Sense About Science, run by Simon Singh, had been given donations of £20,000. GEBN promotes the idea that lack of exercise, not sugary drinks and colas, is the primary cause of obesity.
Sense About Science published a report discounting one study showing that sugary drinks, such as those sold by Coca-Cola, are responsible for a whopping 184,000 deaths annually. Sense About Science also ‘corrected’ a journalist who was linking the beverage Coke to cancer. 
Though the University of Colorado has returned the $1 million after receiving criticism, Applebaum’s name continues to be tarnished. Many believe she helped to orchestrate the propaganda. 
Even Harvard has published studies showing that consuming sugary drinks like Coca Cola sodas are bad for your health, and contribute to the over $190 billion this country spends annually in fighting obesity-related health conditions. Companies like Coca-Cola also spend as much as $3.2 billion marketing these health-destroying drinks.