A Red Bull video with a “freedom” theme was posted on Reddit Wednesday suggesting Red Bull supports the Hong Kong protests. The post, entitled “Red Bull sides with Hong Kong,” has had more than 38,000 upvotes and 800 comments since it was published.
The claim is misleading. Red Bull has produced a series of similar cartoon videos in different languages for years.
The “freedom” video was created long before the Hong Kong protests. A Portuguese version is still available on the official website, among similar commercial videos. An Italian version was published on the “Web Marketing Channel” on YouTube in March 2019.
A picture showing a scene from the video with the German word “Freiheit” (freedom) in the banner was hung on the wall of a Red Bull Cartoons exhibition that took place from May to September 2018.
The Chinese version widely shared recently shows a man and a young woman, holding signs with the words “libertà” and “freedom,” being carried off by four police officers. But after getting their Red Bull wings with the Chinese characters “自由” (freedom), they manage to fly freely over the same police, who are now in armor.
The video was also newly uploaded by multiple accounts on YouTube on Wednesday. On Twitter, it has been shared and liked over 11,000 times, with many users implying that Red Bull supports the democracy movement in Hong Kong.
On Weibo, screenshots of the video have been reposted and commented on more than 300 times since Tuesday night; some netizens say they were offended and demanded Red Bull “go away.”
The official Weibo account of Red Bull Vitamin Drink (China), which has no business relationship with the Austria-based Red Bull and has been in dispute over the brand name, published a statement clarifying that their company has had nothing to do with the video.