Note: The original post has been updated to include a new video response from Coopers. Which is only fair. The update appears below, on top of the original post.
UPDATED – A SECOND OPEN LETTER TO COOPERS
It’s me again. Judging by your shell shocked expressions it’s been an incredibly tough few days. Firstly allow me to say, I am pleasantly surprised by the apology. I’m pleased it came but I honestly wasn’t expecting it. My belief here is that if someone is big enough to admit they made a mistake and genuinely apologise for it, then that’s the end of the issue. It makes no sense to me to continue to be angry at someone for doing something wrong and then not accept their efforts to change things.
Already some have mocked the apology video because you’re reading off a teleprompter. To which I say “well, der, of course you are”. As I’d written earlier, it was the tone deaf initial responses that were a huge part of the problem. With this apology of course you’d want to make sure you got it right, so no issues with teleprompter for me.
Also, I’ve also seen people dismiss the apology as a commercial response to the threat of losing money. Well, to me I thought that was one of the aims of a commercial boycott – to force a company to realise its errors and correct them. And that’s what happened. And maybe you’ve learned something along the way too.
But for me, all I needed was a statement that make it clear where Coopers stood on the issue of marriage diversity. And that is now crystal clear.
So we’re good. I’ll lift my own boycott. Which is handy with winter coming up. You do make a good stout.
AND THE ORIGINAL OPEN LETTER WRITTEN ON MARCH 13
Just wanted you to know, I won’t be buying your beer any more. Perhaps this is not a great surprise to you, given an angry tweet of mine you may have seen, one that used the F-word and said that you were dead to me. Rest assured this letter won’t contain any swear words – even though my anger has not abated.
I think you know what this is related to. But in case you don’t, it’s to do with this video treating the marriage equality debate as a bit of a joke.
And this very lame response defending it (yes, you did release another one overnight when you realised just how bad this situation was and needed to go into damage control. We’ll get to that one later).
But I think I need to explain just why this angered me so much, because it seems you just don’t get it. Gay marriage is not some “light-hearted” topic. It involves human beings who are forbidden by law to marry. I fail to see anything remotely amusing about that.
On top of that, the whole idea of the “Keeping it Light” campaign is extremely distasteful. Here’s why – it’s those people standing in the way of gay marriage, saying to those they’re depriving of a basic human right, “hey let’s sit down and have a chat over a beer”. It’s the oppressors asking the oppressed to sit down and have a beer. It’s like the KKK asking black people to sit down and have a “fun” conversation about racism. Or wife beaters wanting to have a “light-hearted” conversation about domestic violence.
And that statement about how you’re not trying to change beliefs is proof that you don’t really understand what a boneheaded thing you’ve just done. People don’t think you’re trying to change anyone’s beliefs. Our anger is based in a betrayal of trust. We drank your beers for ages, and perhaps had a few fond memories in which a Coopers Green played a part. But now we find out the beer brand we trusted and loved has sided with those opposing marriage equality. That really comes as a shock. And given the outpouring of disapproval on your Facebook page and the #boycottcoopers hashtag on Twitter, it seems a lot of other people feel the same.
Overnight you released a second statement.
While you may not have given your permission for the beer to appear in the video, I find it hard to believe you were unaware of this. According to this news report, it was filmed a month ago. So it wasn’t like they bashed it together over the weekend.
It’s telling that this statement in no way refutes the anti-marriage equality stance inherent in the Bible Society’s Keeping It Light campaign. Which makes one think that those making the decisions at Coopers actually agree with this stance. You got into bed with the homophobes and those standing in the way of human rights and you don’t seem in any hurry to get out of that bed.
As for the claim that your brewery is “made up of individuals from a number of different backgrounds”, that smacks of the “hey I’m not racist, I have a black friend” defence.
This is really a serious, serious misstep for Coopers. It’s one thing for the owners of the company to hold these sorts of beliefs but now you’ve associated your brand with those beliefs. And you’ve given those of us totally opposed to those beliefs little choice but to stop buying them.
Coopers, it was fun. But now it’s not any more.
Categories: beer business