February 05, 2003 01:00 PM

With Ludacris out of Pepsi commercials and Ozzy Osbourne in, hopping mad hip-hop impresario Russell Simmons is planning a boycott against the No. 2 soda giant, which he accuses of applying a double standard, reports Reuters.

“The Hip-Hop Summit Action Network (HSAN) plans to announce and detail a proposed boycott of Pepsi during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Atlanta,” said a spokeswoman for Simmons and the non-profit organization he helped found.

“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 added.

A spokesman for PepsiCo Inc. said the company’s decision to drop Ludacris (following criticism of the foul-mouthed rapper representing Pepsi) was “our mistake … we learned a lot from it and we’ve moved on.”

Regarding Simmons’s proposed boycott, the rep added: “We respect Russell’s interest in bringing hip-hop talent to a larger audience and we have worked together to do just that.”

The ludicrous Ludacris flare-up occurred a few months back, when contentious FOX News commentator Bill O’Reilly accused Pepsi of being “immoral” in using a rapper known for sexually explicit, profanity-laden song lyrics and called for a Pepsi boycott.

The soft-drink company acceded to O’Reilly’s desire and yanked Ludacris’s 30-second TV ad, saying at the time that consumers had complained, despite the fact that no obscenities appeared in the commercial.

As Reuters notes, Simmons’s strategy is clever, because he’s announcing the Pepsi boycott in Coke’s hometown of Atlanta during the high-profile weekend of pro basketball’s All-Star Game.

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