MEMBERS of the LGBTI community and their allies are calling for a boycott of Coopers beer after the brewer recently teamed up with Bible Society Australia to create a commemorative beer.
The South Australian brewery, who have been long-time donors to the Bible Society, helped to celebrate the Society’s 200th anniversary with a commemorative beer that featured Bible verses on its cartons.
Accompanying this was a video from the Bible Society featuring Liberal MPs Tim Wilson and Andrew Hastie in which they discussed their opposing positions on marriage equality.
The video is part of the Bible Society’s Keeping it Light series, which is described as proving ‘it is possible to have a light discussion on the heaviest topics’.
In response to the video, many have expressed outrage in Coopers for sponsoring a religious organisation to make an explicitly political point about same-sex marriage.
People have also criticised the video campaign as promoting the views of members who belong to a party that hasn’t taken action on marriage equality, and for suggesting people need to ‘keep it light’ when it comes to the debate around same-sex marriage.
Coopers have a right to fund LNP & Bible Society, and I have a right to not buy beer with bible verses on it that funds homophobia #auspol
— nick nobody (@nick__nobody) March 13, 2017
— Bobby BeeBob (@BeebobOfficial) March 13, 2017
A handful of bars have also vowed to take Coopers beer of their taps.
In a Facebook post from Melbourne gay bar Sircuit, the staff can be seen dumping cartons of the beer into a bin. General Manager Chris wrote that it was his choice to make.
“What Coopers products that were available in Sircuit, have been removed,” he said.
“Actually I threw them out. Sircuit and Mollies, like beer companies, have choices. I have made mine.
“If Coopers wish to discuss, they have my number.”
Newtown Hotel has also made a similar move, replacing Coopers Green on its tap with a freshly kegged batch of Boxer Red Ale from Rocks Brewing Company.
In a Facebook post the bar said that for every pint sold this month it will donate one dollar to GetUp, who help to campaign for the rights of the LGBTI community and are strong advocates for marriage equality.
Coopers have since released two statements in an effort to backtrack what unfolded.
In the first, the brewery defended the video.
“This is a light-hearted but balanced debate about an important topic within Australia,” it read.
“As a mature community it’s a debate we need to have but in a good spirited and good natured way.”
However, after further backlash, Coopers released a second statement stating the brewery only made the commemorative beer and didn’t give permission for it to be featured in the Bible Society’s video.
“We want you to know that Coopers did not give permission for our beer to feature in or ‘sponsor’ the Bible Society’s Keeping It Light video,” it read.
“Our family brewery is made up of individuals from a number of different backgrounds, all of whom hold differing views on politics and religion, which we think is reflective of the wider community.”
Despite this, advocates have created a Change.org petition calling on Australians to boycott the brewer.
Created by Sydney-based James Brechney, the petition calls on individuals in support of marriage equality to boycott Coopers’ products.
“Coopers’ recent alignment with the Bible Society, who are openly against marriage equality, is shameful,” Brechney wrote.
“We call on Coopers Brewery to publicly come out in support of marriage equality and to make three generous donations to Australians for Equality, and Make It Law via PFLAG and just.equal.”
The petition currently has over 1,100 signatures.