Woman Finds Extremely Offensive Message Inside Beverage Bottle Cap

Say What!? 63

RTalk about a big mistake. Coca-Cola came under some well-deserved fire recently when a woman found a horrible message printed inside the cap of her Vitamin Water bottle.

Blake Loates of Canada opened the bottle, screwed off the top, and read the words underneath it: "YOU RETARD."  She told Metro news that she and her husband were simply shocked. While anyone should have been appalled to see such a message, Loates said it hit her particularly hard because she has a younger sister -- Fiona, 11 -- who has autism and cerebral palsy. "The R-word is just something we don’t say in my family,” she said.

When Loates told her father what happened, he was livid. She said he stayed up all night writing an impassioned letter to Coca-Cola, the manufacturer of the drink. He wrote:

 ... this single action, this small word printed on the bottom of a Vitamin Water lid, discover by my daughter in Canada, has inspired me to tell you just how much the "R" word hurts. How destructive it is. How caustic. How uninformed. How isolating. Like the "N" word.

He ended it with a picture of his daughter and a P.S.: "Here is Fiona. Can you imagine if SHE had opened this bottle?" His anger is absolutely understandable, and I find it vile how often and freely people do use the "R" word. I hear it all the time from people who are otherwise "politically correct," but for some reason think this one is okay. It's not.

In the case of this bottle cap, however, it truly does seem to be an honest mistake, albeit one than should have been caught. Coca-Cola has offered an apology, and said that it's part of a promotion that displays a random English word followed by a random French word. In France, "retard" means late. You would think someone would have been smart enough to catch this, but at least they have taken action, apologized to the family, and destroyed all the remaining caps they have.

Dave Thomson, vice president of still beverages for the company said:

We have learned from this and it was a mistake. At no point in time did we intend on offending anyone by any stretch and we have cancelled and moved on and have dealt with this as soon as possible.

So good for them. That's really all you can ask for in a situation like this. And if there is any good to come from the incident, hopefully it's a strong message sent of just how hurtful this word can be.

Do you hear people using the "R" word regularly?


Image via THOR


autism, discrimination


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adamat34 adamat34

Over reacting. I doubt coca cola knew anything about this. Honestly, I would have just thrown it away. The media is out of control.

Samantha Megan Scott

That word is offensive, just as a racial slur would have been. If it had accidentally been sent out with the word n**ger, would it be out of control to let them know? If it was a mistake fine, but they still need to know so that they can prevent it from happening again. 

nonmember avatar sam

the original letter said "word," not "world." do you not care enough about your work to proof it?

Heidi Van Oss

We don't say this word either in our family because my 9 yr old son has Autism,We also don't use the word Moron or Idiot either,Thise words are just hateful and even though he is Non-Verbal ,He knows what you are saying.

Alexa... AlexaAdams

As a mother with special needs kids in her life I do find it offensive. It's a powerful and hurtful word.


Nice spin, Coca-cola... but I'm not buying it.

nonmember avatar Rae

I do think it was a honest mistake. Canada has two official languages and this was a promotion by Coke (in Canada) to pair two words of our official languages and have customers collect them to create funny sentences. They also discovered one word that said "douche" which in French means shower. As a bilingual Canadian (and I should preface that not all Canadians speak both french and english), I don't necessarily immediately think the offensive english definition. If I knew about the contest, I would read it as a French word, where "retard" does mean late, it isn't prounounced like the english word, it's more like "re-tar" with a roll on the r and kind of a silent d. I understand how someone could find it offensive, but I do think it was an honest mistake on Coke's part.

mande... manderspanders

I personally find it offensive and retarded that people are so damned offended by everything. I find it retarded that people go around saying things like "R-word" and "N-word", like they are 5 year old girls who would be scolded for being uncouth.  Just like in elementary school all the little kids would be like "we can't say the f-word or the s-word"; and then someone would dare to and we'd be in awe of their brazenness...and then someone else would say "aaahhh-bbbuuurrr! you said a bad word! I'm gonna tell the teacher!"

How about everyone grow up? Words only have the power you give them.  Merely saying a word out loud or in print doesn't make it offensive.  Context, people!

2cent... 2centsCDN

It really seems like an honest mistake if you read the linked article. Under each cap were two random words, one french one english since Canada is (officially) bilingual. As already stated retard means late in french.

We as society need to stop being offended by little mistakes and worry about the bigger offences.

Emily Renae Abraham

As a reader of this article I do not appreciate how many misspellings. Proof your work because this site's people don't do it for you! Take pride in your work and make sure everything is correct or have someone you know look at it before you post it. 


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