The company has said sorry after the fall-out

The company has said sorry after the fall-out

The Coca-Cola Company has issued an apology after controversy over a website that allowed users to enter their name and messages on a virtual can, but not the word 'gay'.

The South Africa version of the site, part of the group's 'Share a Coke' campaign, showed a message reading 'Oops. Let’s pretend you didn’t just type that', when the word 'gay' was typed and 'homo'. However, the words 'straight' and 'hetero' were accepted. 

Reports suggested the campaign was being hijakced by LGBT activists in protest at the US beverage firm's sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Campaigners are upset by companies involved with the games because of anti-gay laws introduced in the country last year. 

In a statement on its website today, Coca-Cola said the website has been taken down until it can fix the problem. 

“We apologise for this mistake,” the statement from Vukani Magubane, Coca-Cola South Africa public affairs and communications director, said. “As one of the world’s most inclusive brands, we value and celebrate diversity. We have long been a strong supporter of the LGBT community and have advocated for inclusion, equality and diversity through both our policies and practices.”