'Gay' Omission: Red Stripe Beer Pulled Support of
Homo-Hating Concerts in Jamaica
Last April, the manufacturer of Red Stripe beer, Diageo, a mega-corporation with extensive beer and liquor brands, ended support of concerts because some of the singers espouse and worship violence against gays.
Actually, the company didn't come right out and say that in their vaguely worded explanation, which did condemn the singers' glorification of violence, but it stopped way short of relating their move in any manner with the epidemic of anti-gay assaults and murders in Jamaica.
Excerpted from the one-page statement:
The Red Stripe Company has maintained a long and mutually beneficial relationship with the music industry and together we have worked very hard with promoters and artistes to uphold globally acceptable standards.
Over the years, however, a very negative trend of glorifying violence has crept into some of the music, causing much consternation among well thinking Jamaicans and others at home and abroad. This has far-reaching and damaging implications for the industry and for the country as a whole.
Yes, the impact of this trend has directly contributed to the launch of the boycott Jamaican campaign. This would have been the perfect paragraph for Red Stripe to clearly state it's opposition to homophobic lyrics calling for assaults and murders against gays.
If the Red Stripe executives can't be out and upfront about how their support for tolerance and support for gay Jamaicans, don't expect me to count the corporation as a friend.
While our most recent efforts through the Coalition of Corporate Sponsors have met with some measure of success, some performers continue to propagate, through their live performances, violent and anti-social lyrics.
Why did Red Stripe fail to say anti-gay lyrics? I like my corporate friends to issue explanations that use words like gay, homosexual, homophobia and ending violence against gay people.
Red Stripe will not be party to this, and thus we have taken the very difficult decision of withdrawing sponsorship from live music events.
What the hell could be so difficult about not sponsoring musicians and concerts that call for murdering and abusing gay people?
Consequently, Red Stripe will not renew our contract for title sponsorship of Reggae Sumfest and Sting. We will, however, ensure that our brands are made available whenever and wherever our loyal consumers enjoy premium alcohol beverages.
Don't expect too many gays to be among those consumers.
It is our hope that our action will cause the proponents of this destructive trend in local music to stop and take stock of the negative impact of their actions on the society and seek to make a change. Red Stripe looks forward to the time when good sense will prevail and we can see a return to improved quality and standard of music that all Jamaica can be proud of. At that time we will review our position.
Let me know when that time has arrived. In the meantime, the boycott of Red Stripe beer, Myers's rum and tourism to Jamaica continues.
I wonder how thrilled Holly Johnson and Paul Rutherford would by this.
A Red Stripe ad using Relax.
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