Madonna has issues with Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad
The pop legend threw major shade at Pepsi on her ultra-popular Instagram account on Wednesday evening, hours after the soft-drink brand pulled its widely mocked ad starring reality-show star Kendall Jenner. "Side note: My Pepsi commercial was pulled 30 years ago because I was kissing a black saint!," Madonna said in the post. PepsiCo removed its ad starring the Keeping up with the Kardashians star on Wednesday amid widespread complaints it was co-opting the Black Lives Matter and Women’s March movements. However, there was an upside to the spot: it did the seemingly impossible in uniting the internet and both sides of the political spectrum in shared outrage. How Pepsi’s decision is playing in the media: How the ‘worst ad ever’ came to be (The Hollywood Reporter); Kendall Jenner, Pepsi and the perils of selling protest (Vanity Fair).
50 and counting
President Donald Trump’s endorsement wasn’t enough to stop more marketers from pulling their ads from The O’Reilly Factor on Wednesday, bringing the total to more than 50. Bristol Myers Squibb and Reddi-wip/Con Agra are among the most recent to remove their spots from the show, according to ABC News. Brands are ditching the show on their own volition, not in reaction to pressure from outside groups, Crowdtap CEO Matt Britton told BuzzFeed. Can O’Reilly survive? That depends on whether brands stand their ground or only stage a short-term boycott, according to The Washington Post.
Uber pushes back on NYT report
Embattled ride-hailing company Uber is fighting back against a New York Times story on how it uses psychological leverage to keep drivers in their cars—sort of. Uber isn’t contesting most of the report, but it is disputing a section that claimed faster pick-up times for riders mean more drivers not working, according to CNBC.
What to watch today
President Trump is set to host Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Mar-A-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, for the next two days. Items on the schedule include North Korea and trade. Also: Senate Republicans could change the body’s rules as early as today to push through the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
Comic relief for a busy schedule
In case you missed it earlier this week, here’s the White House press briefing remix the world needs right now. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert intercut Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s repeated use of the word "phenomenal" with the Muppets’ "Mahna Mahna song" on Tuesday night, and the results are a lot of fun for everyone.
News to know
Unilever to restructure, sell margarine brands after failed Kraft takeover. Twitter launches Twitter Lite, which will help users in markets with poor networks cut back on data use. Blumhouse Productions PR exec Josh Raffel to work for Jared Kushner in the White House.