Blake Loates of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada was beyond stunned to find the words “YOU RETARD” printed in capital letters on the underside of a Vitaminwater’s bottle cap, according to Yahoo! News on Thursday. The words cut extremely deep, emotionally, for Loates and her family because Fiona, an 11-year-old member of the family has autism and cerebral palsy.
The incident got Loates’ father - Doug Loates - who lives in Tacoma Washington, to send off a long letter of complaint to Coca-Cola, the parent company of Vitaminwater.
Loates’ letter asserts that he is through with the company for life, and he asks the company if they could just imagine what it would have been like if his daughter Fiona had opened the bottle.
Coca-Cola representatives explained that the words under the cap were part of a competition where one random English word is paired with a second random French word. It was explained that, in French, “retard” means “late,” and the word’s English connotation was missed during the review process.
Coca-Cola Refreshment Canada’s director of brand communications, Shannon Denny, said that the company has spoken to the family and offered their sincerest apologies while explaining the production process to them. Denny said that it is certainly not an excuse in any way for what has occurred. She insists that the words inside the bottle cap were in no way intentional and was a mistake on the company’s part during the review process. Additionally, the promotion has since been cancelled and Coca-Cola is no longer producing bottles with those caps.
Apologies will also be posted on the Vitaminwater Canada Facebook page as well as via social media web site Twitter.