A petition calling for craft beer giants Brewdog to take down an online advertisement that critics say “mocks trans women, sex workers and homeless people” has been signed by nearly 8,000 people.
The video has been described as “insensitive” and “disgusting” by some viewers (Photo: Youtube)
The video, which appears on Brewdog’s Youtube channel and has been circulated on its social media accounts, has prompted a backlash from thousands of people threatening to boycott the brand.
It features the company’s founders James Watt and Martin Dickie dressed as homeless people and transexual prostitutes, with the refrain “Don’t make us do this”.
The video is promoting Brewdog’s crowdfunding initiative, “Equity for Punks”, which is seeking to raise millions of pounds in a shares sell-off to fund the brand’s expansion.
Watt and Dickie tell viewers that they will “do anything” to help promote the fundraising effort, but ask not to be made to do certain things.
They are then seen busking on the street in ragged clothes with a sign saying “Need £ 4 beer (and one hungry dog)” and, later, dressed in lingerie and wigs in a shop window, underneath a sign with the hashtag #Don’tMakeUsDoThis.
Beth Granter, who organised the petition, slammed the pair for “performing as offensive caricatures of people, many of whom already suffer discrimination every day.”
“Worse, this is a fundraising video – they’re using these images in an exploitative manner to make money,” she said.
One signatory to the petition, Kieran Markham, said: “I’m a huge fan of your beer, and regularly go to your premises in Manchester, but this video is insensitive. I know you’re an ethical company, so please pull the trailer.”
But the video, which was posted on Youtube on 1 September, has caused a much more angered response from some others.
Another signatory, Beverley Forbes, said that the video was “disgusting”, adding: “Have you got any idea about how many women are forced into prostitution? And you think its fun to make a joke out of it!”
Most comments on Youtube are similarly visceral. One user, Joe Bligh, said tersely: “Discriminative and boring. What a total f**k up.”
However, others have defended the advert, saying that it is evidence of the controversial and provocative nature of the brand. “The petition from politically-correct fanatics is excellent marketing aid,” one commentator said.
Brewdog has been contacted to comment on the matter.
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