It's been a long week for Kendall Jenner, who was the star of Pepsi's ill-fated commercial that was intended to promote harmony and instead led to massive Internet backlash that seemed like the worst case of backwash ever.
After Pepsi pulled the spot, criticized for cynically trading on the current political mood and protests such as Black Lives Matter, the company apologized for involving Kendall: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize. We are pulling the content and halting any further rollout. We also apologize for putting Kendall Jenner in this position.”
Now, the 21-year-old model is back home in L.A. — Splash News photographers caught her walking out of LAX Friday night, wearing a leopard-print coat and black stretch pants, covering her face.
People magazine reports Kendall has been "very upset" by the backlash. A source tells the magazine, "She feels terrible. She loves being a model. To get a Pepsi gig was a big deal. She was very excited. She never expected it to receive such backlash. She hopes people understand that she wasn't involved in the creative process.”
An anonymous actor who was in the ad — Pepsi's apology for involving Kendall did not extend to the cast and crew — told People he was shocked it was taken so negatively. "...People say things to me like, 'Why am I in the commercial?' and say that it is really offensive. It's like, I was just doing my job. They asked me to be in the commercial." The unnamed actor also pointed out that the cast of the commercial was largely foreign, with many based in Thailand, so probably would not have been in touch with the racial issues at play in an American setting.
Kendall also received a little support from pop star Madonna, whose own Pepsi ad in 1989 was yanked because her music video for "Like a Prayer" was deemed too hot to handle by the soft-drink giant. In an Instagram post, Madonna wrote, "When you wake up and realize that Sh-t just really doesn't make sense! 😔#chosen 📸Side Note: My Pepsi commercial was pulled 30 years ago because I was kissing a black saint! 👼🏾 #ironic." She later posted an image of herself from 1999 holding a can of Coca-Cola.
Kendall, however, does not share Madonna's taste for shaking things up. At the time the ad first starting making waves, a close Kardashian-Jenner source confirmed Kendall would not have done the ad had she known it would be controversial, saying, "Anything offensive is just not her."