Got the Apology 2.0 GrovelSpam from Jim Koch at Boston Beer this AM

Here’s my reply to him:

Dear Mr. Koch:

If there’s one thing that could serve to drive a customer away more emphatically than desecrating his or her faith, it’s desecrating his or her faith and then insulting their intelligence to boot. Catholic faith is, of course, about the forgiveness of sins. There’s remarkably little point to it if you leave that bit out. But forgiveness of sins presupposes a sincere confession of wrongdoing and a firm purpose of amendment.

Now then: you say, and expect me to believe, that you had no warning that a place of worship would be part of the show. Yet, according to the NY Post, everybody else knew this:

Fans of the WNEW show said the stunt was part of the program’s “Sex for Sam” feature – which offers a prize to the couple having sex at the riskiest location in the city.

A couple having sex in a church would get 25 points, according to a list of 54 sites around the city seized from Mercurio.

So you seriously expect me to believe that you, the sponsor of this revolting stunt, had no idea what the stunt involved? Reeeeeally? Please.

You continue, saying you should have walked off the show and didn’t. Not only should you have walked off the show, you should never have sponsored it. I’m sorry, but the transcripts of your enthusiastic commentary:

“I think these guys are awesome,” Koch was saying from his voyeur’s perch inside New York’s WNEW studio during the now-infamous – and final – Opie and Anthony broadcast Aug. 15. “The quality gets better every year.” (source: Boston Herald)

…do not indicate a man undergoing a crisis of conscience there in the broadcasting booth, wondering if he should walk off the show and failing, out of weakness, to do so. It suggests a man who thought the whole thing was cool till it began to dimly occur to him that profits were being threatened by his despicable enthusiasm for this repulsive contest. Likewise, your initial lame excuse (“We were not in control of the program”) suggests a company that cares, not about the fact that it just pissed in the faces of millions of its customers, but about the fact that its insulting and degrading sponsorship of insulting and degrading programming will lose it millions of dollars. Sure, you were not in control of the program. Fine. But you needn’t have sponsored it at all and I don’t believe for a moment that you did not know what the programming consisted of. Nor do I believe you were not completely enthusiastic about it till your vestigial conscience was pricked by the thought losing a million bucks and some dim awareness crossed your mind that it might be a special act of cretinism for a brewer–a brewer, for heaven’s sake–to insult millions of German and Irish Catholics in a country where there are a hell of a lot of other beers out there.

So now, your vestigial conscience has prompted you to send out this somewhat-more-contrite GrovelSpam which adds mendacity to desecration and hopes that it quiets those dumb Catholics.

Sorry, but we’re not that dumb.

Next time, when you draft Apology 3.0, here are the talking points:

1. Sincerest apologies

2. We knew exactly what we were doing when we irresponsibly sponsored this grotesque contest. It was wrong and we apologize.

3. We knew exactly how the contest worked, including the points for sex in Church. It was all grotesque, including the sex in Church, but we thought we could get away with it.

4. We not only insulted your faith, we were stupid, since so many Catholics drink our product.

5. We not only insulted your faith, we were mendacious, and attempted to pretend we didn’t know what was going on when the public reacted.

6. We not only insulted your faith, we compounded our mendacity by sending out a GrovelSpam with a new improved apology from the one on our website, which still never addressed the heart of the problem: the fact that we knew perfectly well what the contest involved (including points for sex in church) and tried to finesse you back with Clintonesque apologies that never actually address the wrong we did.

7. We are also sorry for sticking legalese at the bottom of the GrovelSpam letter which makes it impossible for the letter to be posted publicly.

8. As a token of our sincerity, we of course promise that there will never again be another “Sex for Sam” contest or any other such insult to the public, nor will our advertising ever be anything but respectful, not only of the Catholic faith, but of all religious traditions.

9. Finally, we would like to donate a portion of our profits to the Poor Box of St. Patrick’s Cathedral to put our money where our mouth is.

Do this, and I reckon you will find millions of Irish and German Catholics to be a forgiving lot. Otherwise, there’s a hell of a lot of other good beers out there and yours goes in the toilet.

Oh, and by the way, I run a widely-read Catholic blog site (www.markshea.blogspot.com) and write for a wide variety of Catholic newspapers and magazines for a very large Catholic reading public. So, though you guys are too chicken to let me run your Apology 2.0 letter there, I will run my reply to your letter on my blog and (I hope) in the Catholic press, as well as giving the email for still more feedback to Boston Beer. Keep working on that apology until you actually apologize (and take some serious steps to pay) for what you did. Then we’ll take you seriously.

Still disgusted,

Mark Shea


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