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« | Home | »

Unite HERE letter to Anheuser Busch about UFC & gay slurs

By Zach Arnold | October 12, 2011

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Luiz Fernando Edmond
Zone President North America
Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc.
1 Busch Place
Saint Louis, MO 63118-1849

RE: Anti-gay behavior in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Dear Mr. Edmond,

We are writing you to raise our concerns about Anheuser-Busch’s sponsorship of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). People associated with this professional sports organization have a history of tolerating homophobic conduct that is hostile to millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people all over the world who struggle every day against bigotry and discrimination.

The following are recent examples of anti-gay behavior by people associated with the UFC:

You can find videos and news articles related to this anti-gay behavior at the following website:

www.UnfitForChildren.org

Remarkably, we have yet to find evidence that any of the UFC athletes identified in this letter have been disciplined by the UFC or its owners for this contemptible behavior. By contrast, other professional sports organizations have taken a hard stance against anti-gay conduct and have held athletes accountable through suspensions and/or fines when athletes have used homophobic epithets.

Bud Light has been a major sponsor of recent gay pride celebrations in Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco, among other cities, as well as last year’s Gay Days celebration in Orlando, Fla. However, we believe it is hypocritical of Anheuser-Busch to advertise Bud Light during gay pride events that celebrate diversity and tolerance, while sponsoring a professional sports organization that tolerates hateful language and anti-gay bigotry.

We request that you stop advertising Bud Light during UFC events until the UFC’s owners make it evident to the public that it no longer tolerates homophobic behavior, and adopts and enforces a code of ethical conduct that ensures that participants in the UFC act in accordance with commonly accepted standards of decency.

We also ask you to contact us within ten (10) days of receiving this letter to discuss this further. For more information, please call Chris Serres at (702)-386-5231 or send an e-mail to cserrcs@culinarvuuion226.org.

Respectfully,

Cleve Jones
Community and Political Coordinator
Unite HERE

Derek Washington
Chairman
Stonewall Democratic Club of Southern Nevada

Geoconda Arguello-Kline
President
Culinary Workers Union, Local 226

Howard Watts III
Co-Chair
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network of Southern Nevada

Laura Martin
Organizer
Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 42 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

42 Responses to “Unite HERE letter to Anheuser Busch about UFC & gay slurs”

  1. Robert Poole says:

    Dana White (and the inevitable throng of supporters here that defend him no matter what) are going to find out that the “hey we’re a fighting group, gay slurs are okay because we’re tough” excuse is not going to fly. Either they shut that kind of talk down and spend a considerable amount of time repairing their image with a PR campaign denouncing it or they risk losing major advertisers that don’t want to be associated with discrimination and/or hate speech.

    This is a corporate reality. UFC needs to grow up if they want to play with the big boys. It’s not about pretending that a bunch of jacked up dudes with homophobic insecurities are your only audience once you get to this point.

    • Brett says:

      “We request that you stop advertising Bud Light during UFC events until the UFC’s owners make it evident to the public that it no longer tolerates homophobic behavior, and adopts and enforces a code of ethical conduct that ensures that participants in the UFC act in accordance with commonly accepted standards of decency.”

      What tremendous humanitarians, here i thought they were trying blackmail the UFC into accepting their corrupt unions outrageous demands. Silly me.

  2. Jason Harris says:

    Recent video of Rampage in Japan? Cunt is a homophobic slur?

    Written by the Culinary union? Who’s pissed at the owners of UFC because of their actions in a completely different business?

    This sort of shit is why people hate unions in this country.

    “Dear Bud Light. We have looked up several instances where professional fighters in an organization you sponsor used bad words. Please make them apologize and never say bad words again.”

    Good luck with that.

  3. Kelvin Hunt says:

    Ehh…why is most of the ‘recent’ evidence years old?

    I can’t stand how ‘PC’ stuff has become….obviously AH is aware of all of this stuff to a degree…yet just renewed their contract with the UFC in April …

    Like Patrick Swayze said to the bouncer is the movie Road House…guy asked Swayze..”So what if somebody calls my mama a who**?”

    Swayze’s answer…”Is she?”

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    By publishing this…. You are already giving this more attention then it deserves.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      And this is just a child’s temper tantrum. If they were serious they would threaten to remove Budweiser products from there places of business. Oh but wait, they probably don’t decide that… The owners do. The real parents here….

      • Steve4192 says:

        ‘Temper tantrum’ or not, this kind of appeal to sponsors can be VERY effective. If the Culinary Union can gain the support of national gay/lesbian organizations (rather than just a southern Nevada chapter), they could definitely do some damage.

        Zuffa definitely needs to address the issue in their future fighters summits or they are going to have a PR nightmare on their hands.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          I disagree. These people have no leverage right now. The UFC gets a young male audience, who isn’t very likely to be offended by the fighters words. Which means the viewers will still be around. And unless the TV shows themselves have too much bad speech (which they never do)…. The advertisers will still stick around. They might not attach themselves to a Rampage…. But that’s not a big deal.

          People know what they are getting when they watch fighting. It’s not politically correct. It’s raw in nature. And that is the appeal to it. Which is also why it will never be as popular as the big team sports. But that is fine. But it doesn’t mean anything bad is going to happen because of it.

          The only leverage they have is by paying politicans to stop MMA in NY. That’s about all they have. And eventually that won’t even work.

          By the way, the President of this Union is a woman. Which isn’t shocking, being the temper tantrums are pretty much par for the course of many powerful women. And don’t tell me that is sexist. I have yet to find a professional woman who enjoys working for a female boss. Sure there are good female bosses out there, but not many. It’s temper tantrums and irrational stuff like this which is why they are so disliked.

          The funny thing is that the UFC brings a lot of business to Las Vegas. The union is actually hurting their own employees by trying to push this down everybodies throats. I would be pissed if I belonged to this union.

        • Steve4192 says:

          “The UFC gets a young male audience, who isn’t very likely to be offended by the fighters words”

          But this isn’t directed at the UFC. It’s directed at Anheuser Busch. A-B has much wider consumer base than the UFC, and many of their consumers might take offense at such language. A-B and other UFC sponsors don’t want to risk a high profile pissing match with leaders of the gay & lesbian community.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Doesn’t really matter much.

          There is always some Christian, Muslim, Jew, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Polygamist, Black, Hispanic, Asian, Parent, or Woman who will find something to complain about. The only people who don’t really complain are white men… They stick to crazy political extremes.

          The moment you advertise on the big stage, there are always going to be complaints about the products you are sponsoring. You don’t think Bud gets like 1,000 of these letters a day?

          This has no legs. It’s like that tiny fly that was bothering Brian Stann during his interviews for the countdown shows.

          Not to mention that Budwiser has advertised boxing for generations….. And there is much worse stuff that goes on in that sport that would have already scared Bud away if they had a problem with the combat sports.

          Biting…. Loaded Gloves…. Abusers…. Muderers…. Rapists…. You name it, boxing has featured them…. And the entire time, the Budweiser logo is in the corner of the ropes….

        • RST says:

          “It’s directed at Anheuser Busch. A-B has much wider consumer base than the UFC…”

          I’m not familiar with every law on the book (pretty much none of them other then the ones I’ve broken), but I’d have to assume that everybody who drinks Bud doesn’t HAVE to watch the UFC.

          (Although that would be a heck of a lucrative law if Zuffa could get that passed. Maybe they need to start donating to the right politicians.)

  5. edub says:

    Kelvin and Jason hit on it earlier:

    -Their recent evidence of Rampage is hardly “recent”.

    -Joe Rogan using “cunt”, and Rampage getting a Japanese man to say “piss on my face” (or something like that), aren’t directed at gay people. They’re insults, but wouldn’t classify as homophobic.

    -This is obviously a ploy by the Culinary Union to gain more leverage against Zuffa.

    Very little will come of this IMO. Maybe more fighter’s meetings but that’s about it.

  6. Stel says:

    How one treats those who can do him no harm, is a true indication of that persons intelligence, humility and humanity.

  7. RST says:

    Shiesty biz.

    When I worked for the Post Office I was in the union. And both of my grandfathers were Union men in their fields from the depression until they retired.
    Unions can do a lot of good things to protect workers rights.

    But this is not protecting their members rights.
    Their members dont have to work at Station Casino’s. Go work at a union shop and show how you can make a Union shop competitive. And in the case of the UFC, they are not even in the same business.

    This is just some sort of shotgun smear campaign and bullying tactics that gives a lot of people the impression that all unions are greedy corrupt extortionists.

    The PO union doesn’t smear and campaign against Fedex or UPS.

    Its hard to imagine that this kind of methodical harassment, tampering and defaming isn’t somehow illegal?!

    But then I’ve never been able to glean a clearly logical pattern to the distribution of laws, rights or justice in murika.

    And as far as the gays, I dont even want to get started on it right now but they need to mind their own business and leave people alone IMO.
    I could find the logo channel offensive if I watched it and had my mind set on it, but instead I’ll just choose not watch it like a sane human being should.

  8. 45 Huddle says:

    Hershman to HBO.

    1. Some people think this means MMA will come to HBO. I don’t think so. HBO only wants top of the food chain stuff. It would have been UFC or nothing for them. They don’t like to play 2nd fiddle to anybody else in the things they do. Whether it be boxing…. made for HBO movies…. or original programming. There isn’t enough talent out there for them to even dip their foot into anything MMA that isn’t the UFC.

    2) Can the UFC get a contract with HBO or does the FOX deal not allow it? I don’t like MMA on HBO or SHO anyways, so not a big deal.

    3) The real question really is…. What does this mean for MMA on Showtime. Does it even make a difference? Should be interesting to see. The fact that the Zuffa/Showtime negotiations were delayed a week means something is up. Perhaps WMMA and something else….

  9. edub says:

    1. If Fox and HBO could co-exist that would be insanely awesome for MMA fans. 4 events on Fox a year, 6-10 on HBO, and 4-8 on FX would drop the amount of PPVs significantly.

    Of course that is all fantasy.

  10. Steveo says:

    using sexual orientation as a political weapon is not only vulgar, it make people hate gay people.. I’ve seen it happen.

    • RST says:

      I was kinda thinking/feeling the same thing.

      I dont have anything against gay people, except when they pull BS like this. Which they unfortunately seem to do more and more these days.

      Its becoming the most popular/stereotypical method to be used by their interest groups.

      It makes you resent them.

      I’ve noticed that some people (fat people do the same thing sometimes) would rather that you hate them then you not paying them any attention.

      Its irritating at best, but periodically infuriating.

    • RST says:

      I think I slightly misunderstood your post, you were referring to the Culinary union, and I agree with you.

      That is even worse using somebody elses issues/agenda as a tool to piggyback on.

      It seems apparent that this particular union is as callous as any of the worst stories you’ve heard about corrupt greedy unions.

      I think I got confused because that is the kind of language the gay interest groups like to use, it sounds like them.

      I wonder how much they’ve actually co-signed for this.

  11. Fluyid says:

    http://chapters.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/southernnevada/about.html

    Dude who signed that letter is some college kid.

  12. Nottheface says:

    While i understand the disgust expressed at the Culinary Union for their cynical feigning of outrage at Dana’s and others affiliated with the UFC’s comments, I am surprised that how few actually want to repudiate what they said: that there are actual reasons for some to take offense. The Culinary Union may have fired this salvo for interests that had nothing to do with the UFC, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be questioning or criticizing Dana and others for giving them the ammo.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      What you just said here is about the equivalent of people who say: “Well, she wouldn’t have been raped if it wasn’t for how she dressed.”

      You are excusing extremely bad behavior here by blaming the individuals being attacked.

      Not very bright.

      • nottheface says:

        I would think it “not very bright” to even consider those analogous.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          There is nothing wrong with anything that was said by the UFC fighters or Dana White. People are allowed to have opinions, no matter how ignorant those opinions may be. That’s what makes people unique.

          People are so afraid to offend these days that it is completely overboard.

          You are straight up blaming the UFC and their fighters for saying what millions and millions of Americans say everyday. That’s stupid.

          The Culinary Union bringing up this stuff when it has nothing to do with them is the one and only problem here.

          And I should point out that you won’t find a more “gay friendly” person out there then me. I just don’t get offended when people talk like normal people. And I blame the right people in a case like this, which is a union sticking their nose in things they have no business being involved in.

        • nottheface says:

          Do your recognize the incongruity of your statement? “There is nothing wrong with anything that was said by the UFC fighters or Dana White. People are allowed to have opinions, no matter how ignorant those opinions may be.” Yes, and one of the opinions people are allowed to express is the opinion that calling others “gay”, “faggot”, “cunt”, “bitch”, etc. is offensive. But apparently when people express those sentiments they are standing in the way of those brave souls that want to speak like morons without having anyone call them out for it. You seem to be confusing political correctness for civility. Dana White and others ,no matter how “gay friendly” they are – and is ‘gay friendly” the new “I have black friends” – have the right to spew all the crap they want, but others have a right to call them out on it and ask that they show a little more consideration. They also have a right to express themselves with their pocketbooks if they so choose.

          We all know the Culinary Union have ulterior motives and their attacks on Dana and the UFC is a charade, but that doesn’t change the fact that their argument that he has said and done some pretty offensive stuff, doesn’t hold water.

    • edub says:

      While I also agree that the comparison used by 45 is far from accurate, I don’t feel the need to say “yes Dana, and some fighters from the UFC use derogatory/hurtful language, and it could hurt Zuffa in the long run.”

      It’s a pretty common topic on this site, and I feel it gets discussed at length in more logical articles. Just because it is brought up as an attempt to undermine the UFC’s relationship with one of its biggest sponsors (by an entity with a close to half decade long war with the Fertita’s), doesn’t give the ongoing discussion anymore “meat” IMO. If this were GLAAD working without the culinary union backing I think it would have a lot more validity to it.

      • nottheface says:

        I agree that the Culinary Union’s attacks on Dana come across as much more opportunistic than outraged. But still, isn’t it amazing that so many of the replies on the matter fail to acknowledge anything wrong with his comments? That’s the part that always catches my eye. It’s as if the fans were Russian serfs rushing to defend their glorious tsar. Now that is an accurate analogy.

        • edub says:

          I agree to all that. I just think if the Culinary union wasnt involved more of the comments in this section would be in agreement with the sentiment of the article.

          But there is a large section of the fanbase that sees no wrong with anything Zuffa does. Let alone when they degrate or bully people.

  13. [...] Organization Contacts Major UFC Sponsor with Concerns of “Anti-Gay Behavior” (FightOpinion.com) [...]

  14. RST says:

    So shmilva only has 4 fights left in his career now.

    What are the chances of him looking for any challenges this close to retirement?

    0.01% ?

  15. [...] week in a letter to Anheuser-Busch, the union fired back saying the UFC allows homophobic behavior from it fighters and [...]

  16. [...] HERE upped the ante by going after UFC advertisers, pressuring them not to associate with fighters and promoters who have been known to let some [...]

  17. [...] is to claim that union bosses are behind this attack on their industry. This is simply not true. Gay and Lesbian organizations came out to call out the abusive language.  Feminist bloggers have called them out. My personal story is that I did not even know the [...]

  18. [...] is to claim that union bosses are behind this attack on their industry. This is simply not true. Gay and Lesbian organizations came out to call out the abusive language.  Feminist bloggers have called them out. My personal story is that I did not even know the [...]

  19. [...] is to claim that union bosses are behind this attack on their industry. This is simply not true. Gay and Lesbian organizations came out to call out the abusive language.  Feminist bloggers have called them out. My personal story is that I did not even know the [...]

  20. [...] they’re trying to stir things up again by sending a letter to Bud Light painting the UFC as ‘anti-gay’. Here’s their proof:     In recent videos, UFC light heavyweight Quinton “Rampage” Jackson [...]

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