Pepsi faces rap music boycott over Ozzy Osbourne ad

LONDON - Pepsi is facing the wrath of rappers, with hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons accusing the soft-drink maker of hypocrisy for dumping one foul-mouthed singer, Ludacris, only to replace him in its advertising with Ozzy Osbourne.

Simmons, founder of the Def Jam recording label, has said that he will announce plans on the weekend for a boycott of Pepsi, through the non-profit organisation The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network.

Ludacris is one of the stars signed to Simmons' Def Jam. He made a commercial for Pepsi, which featured him rapping, but the ad was pulled last August after right-wing protests that the star used bad language in his records and made degrading comments about women.

Pepsi subsequently ran a commercial during last month's Super Bowl for Pepsi Twist starring Ozzy Osbourne, the rocker who is now more famous for his foul-mouthed family than for his rock'n'roll antics, which included biting the head off a bat.

A spokeswoman for the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network has said that details of the boycott would be announced on the weekend. "The boycott is being called in response to Pepsi dropping Ludacris as spokesman and subsequently picking up the Osbournes, who are no less vulgar," she said.

Simmons made the announcement of the boycott while attending a basketball game in Atlanta -- home of Pepsi's rival Coca-Cola.

Pepsi has found itself embroiled in unwanted controversy with its celebrity endorsers on more than one occasion. Madonna's 'Like A Prayer' ad for the fizzy pop was pulled from the air after religious groups objected to imagery. More recently, popstrel Britney Spears has been spotted drinking Coca-Cola -- despite being signed as a spokeswoman for Pepsi.

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