You may remember that last week I posted an article reporting that Samuel Adams, the Boston-based beer company, in its July 4 commercial had dropped any reference to the Creator from the Declaration of Independence. Conservatives immediately began murmuring the word “boycott,” and the brewer offered a fairly lame excuse citing constraints imposed by the Beer Institute Advertising Code.
I was un-persuaded by the company’s apology for their re-write of history, and fairly miffed about their insensitivity toward people of faith. But since I don’t drink beer (it makes me puke) and I only buy it for company a few times a year, my meager personal protest amounts to squat in the corporate giant’s annual budget.
But I can tell YOU about it; and you can tell your neighbor….
I can’t say I love grassroots citizen action. I mean, sure, people should stand for something; but so many folks are too quick to come out swinging, sniffing the air for the slightest hint of corporate malfeasance, so that they can pull the “Boycott!” banner out of storage. Boycott, it seems to me, is only effective if it is rarely applied, and only for the most egregious corporate sins.
But it was a reader who finally stoked the flame of consumer unrest for me. She reminded me of an offense just a few years ago which, combined with their Independence Day faux pas regarding the faith of our Founding Fathers, incites my wrath.
Here’s the story:
In 2002, Boston Beer Company Chairman Jim Koch (pronounced “Cook”) was the so-called Grand Marshall of the “Sex for Sam” stunt, a radio contest on WNEW-FM in Manhattan. Syndicated radio shock jocks Opie and Anthony staged a contest, challenging couples to engage in sexual activity in risky public places: in taxis, in ATM vestibules, in the Disney Store and—wait for it!—in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Couples earned points (5, 10 or more) for each tryst in a public place. The couple who succeeded in engaging in sexual intercourse in St. Patrick’s Cathedral were awarded 25 points for their effort. The only way to earn more points was to engage in coitus at Koch’s feet—for which enterprising exhibitionist couples earned 30 points.
The fall-out from the show was far-reaching. Opie and Anthony were fired by WNEW. The following week, Jim Koch issued a public apology to “all those upset or offended” by the broadcast. “We were not in control of the program,” he claimed, “and it was never our intention to be part of a radio station promotion that crossed the line.”
But the investigative website The Smoking Gun put the forced apology into perspective:
Of course, this was the third time Koch’s company sponsored the “Sex for Sam” contest. And while acknowledging that his “presence on the show was a lapse in judgment, a serious mistake,” Koch has avoided describing just what he was doing in Opie and Anthony’s studio.
Along with handing out bottles of Sam Adams to contestants who stopped by the studio to take a break from having sex in cabs, ATM vestibules, and the Disney Store, Koch also served as the contest’s official “celebrity” voyeur. That meant if couples had sex in front of Koch, they were awarded 30 points (by comparison, sex in St. Patrick’s Cathedral was worth 25 points).
According to the audio clips you’ll find below, Koch watched as five couples attempted to obtain those 30 points (only two, um, succeeded). While Koch said he felt embarrassed for the three couples who failed to complete the act before him, he told Opie and Anthony that the competitors were, “awesome, all of ‘em, better teams. The quality gets better every year.”
Go to the website to hear those audio clips, and to read the rest of the story.
Anyway, Koch clearly hasn’t mended his ways. My husband, who has sometimes enjoyed a Sam Adams in the evening, is disappointed but resolute: We’re done with these guys. My readers suggest a local micro-brew.