Gay marriage outrage causes Cooper’s to cancel Bible Society deal
To Australia, where Coopers Beer is in trouble because the brand featured in a Bible Society video debate about gay marriage. The video features Liberal MPs Andrew Hastie (against) and Tim Wilson (for) supping Coopers Light ale as they talk about the rights and wrongs of gay marriage, which is not enshrined in Australian law. The film’s motto is ‘Keeping it light’.
Coopers say they didn’t pay for the beer to be drunk in the video. But they issued ‘commemorative cans as a celebration of the Bible Society’s 200 years of charitable work in Australia’, they said in a statement.
The reaction was monocular and predictable. You can see the video of people breaking Coopers beer bottles in the streets, flushing it down the loo and proclaiming that it will never again be served at a number of venues in Australia and New Zealand.
The reaction to a debate has been prejudicial, intolerant and regressive. And the worst part is that Cooper’s has panicked. With sales at stake, and with that people’s jobs, too, Cooper’s director of corporate affairs Melanie Cooper tells media: “Offence has been taken by our recent involvement, for which we are deeply sorry. We have listened to a range of community views, we acknowledge this feedback and respect everyone’s individual opinions and beliefs. We have consequently cancelled the release of our Bible Society commemorative cans and will be taking steps to show further support for our community, including joining Australian Marriage Equality.”
And that’s how you smash debate.
On one thing The Bible Society was right. It said the Keeping it Light campaign was intended to build a “national conversation”, to enlarge a debate which had become “fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion”.
So much for freedom.