The Coopers Debacle: Our Two Cents

March 29, 2017

The Coopers Debacle: Our Two Cents

Footnote: We’re not here to express an opinion on the subject of same-sex marriage, or on whether or not people should be boycotting Coopers. We’re here to give our two cents on how this whole and rather shameful farce has come about and, now that everything has died down, to take all of what we know and lay it out for people to read.


Firstly, let's look at the two players in this story.

The Bible Society: a two hundred year old charitable institution which, after some digging, we have found has not expressed a view for or against same-sex marriage.

Coopers: Australia’s largest family owned and run brewery. They're still making Australian product as they have been for over 150 years. It also donates monies to charities and the Bible Society is one of them. Coopers had also never expressed a view on the topic of same-sex marriage.

Now that’s quite a big point: before the “Keeping It Light” video neither the Bible Society or Coopers had ever expressed a view on same-sex marriage.

Next comes the video. The thing that most people see wrong with it is the discussing of same-sex marriage in a “light” way when it is more often than not seen as a heavier topic. However as the beginning of the video mentions: “Welcome to Keeping it Light, a place where we can have a light discussion about a very heavy topic”.

Whilst such a style of discussion may not sit well with those who do hold strong views on the subjects discussed, as the gay and for same-sex marriage politician, Tim Wilson, says at the opening of the discussion: “you can disagree without being disagreeable, you can come to common positions or differing positions and recognise that they’re legitimate and they’re deeply held.” Both men debating in this video are members of the Liberal Party, hold opposing views and also sit next to each other in parliament.

Quite importantly: the video comes to no conclusions on the subject of same-sex marriage, it merely professes the two sides of the argument and allows the individuals involved to delve a little deeper and to tell us why they hold these views.

As a result of this video Coopers brewery (whose beer was drunk and cheers’ed during the video) has been branded with homophobic views and has been dragged though the mud and taken to the stake to be burnt by those who have assumed from this video that the proponents of it are against same-sex marriage.

This has forced Coopers to come out and protect itself and tell the world that the Coopers family and business is for marriage equality. Expressing a political opinion is something a large company never wants to do. Unless a certain political stance is one of their main principles and connected to their business activities no company wants to throw their hat in the ring on any political discussion; and that is not what this video was meant to do, for either The Bible Society or Coopers.

It seems that an attempt at promoting a more agreeable and less distasteful and combative discussion about same-sex marriage by a charity has backfired, and that one large supporter of the charity (who’s product was placed in the video without their permission) has born the largest part of the backlash from people who may have just read what they wanted to read from it.

Will this hurt Coopers in the long run? No. It’ll run out of our news cycle and then rarely, if ever, resurface. However this can be a good example of how social media can help propel a view point, and how many of us who do jump on bandwagons do so in good faith of what we’re told, without really delving into the details of the topic ourselves.