Food and Drink Censors


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Lucky Buddha Beer...

Drink censor asked to consider the religious offence of beer marketed with references to Buddhism


Link Here12th January 2020
The US perennial religious complainer Rajan Zed continuously rails against beers betaring references to Hinduism so it is interesting to read what the UK drinks censor makes of religious references in marketing.

The Portman Group represents the UK alcohol trade and has a self censorship role to censor drinks packaging that may inspire offence taking. It recently considered a complaint against the Australian Lucky Buddha beer brand.

Complaint (which was not made by a religious person but by a food and drinks consultancy, Zenith Global).

The shape of the bottle, the name and the Buddha symbol are all prominently displayed on the bottle. This may cause widespread offence to Buddhism followers who consider the Buddha as a sacred symbol to the religion. Displaying this on an alcoholic beverage is perceived as disrespectful to the faith.

The company explained that they were an Australian company who had sold their uniquely packaged beer for over 12 years on the international market. The company stated that they owned the Lucky Beer and Lucky Buddha brands and that the bottle and the logo were trademarks in many parts of the world. The company explained that the product was produced in China, was sold internationally in restaurants and supermarkets and had been sold for 10 years in UK supermarkets and restaurants. They argued that, if their product caused serious or widespread offence, they would have heard about it: they said they had never received an email or negative comment from any government or religious agency.

The company said the bottle showed Pu Tai, the Laughing Monk, not Buddha. The company explained that: Pu Tai's image was used in amulets and within restaurants; Pu Tai had become a deity of contentment and abundance; people rubbed Pu Tai's belly for wealth, good luck and prosperity; Pu Tai was the patron saint of restauranteurs, fortune-tellers and bartenders; when someone ate or drank too much, it was jokingly blamed on Pu Tai.

The Portman Group assessment: Complaint not upheld

The Panel first discussed whether the product name or packaging had caused serious or widespread offence. The Panel noted the product was sold in predominantly Buddhist countries including Thailand. The Panel noted that there were different named Buddhas and different images of Buddha. Despite the fact that the bottle included the brand name Lucky Buddha, the Panel considered that the bottle was in fact a representation of Pu Tai. The Panel also noted that this product had reached the complaints process following a compliance audit of the new Code and considered that it did not provide evidence that Buddhists were offended by the name or packaging.

The Panel accordingly did not uphold the complaint under Code rule 3.3.

 

 

Beyond the pale...

Rajan Zed complains about a hindu religious figure on a Russian beer label


Link Here9th December 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial whinger Rajan Zed is urging Saint Petersburg based Mookhomor microbrewery to apologize and not use Hindu deity Lord Ganesh's image on its White Illusion IPA beer, calling it highly inappropriate.

Zed, the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees:

Lord Ganesh was highly revered in Hinduism and he was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer. Moreover, linking a deity with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.

 

 

Offsite Article: Nudge Nudge, Wink Wink...


Link Here9th September 2019
The insidious rise of Nudge Theory as a form of social control. By David Flint See article from reprobatepress.com

 

 

A beef about Holy Cow...

Rajan Zed takes offence at a Swiss restaurant burger chain


Link Here2nd September 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial whinger Rajan Zed has  taken aim at a restaurant chain in Switzerland selling beef burgers and naming itself Holy Cow.

Zed said in a statement that cow, the seat of many deities, was sacred and had long been venerated in Hinduism.

It appeared to be a clear trivialization and ridiculing of a deeply held article of faith by Hindus world over. Hinduism should not be taken frivolously. Symbols of any faith, larger or smaller, should not be mishandled.

Zed urged Holy Cow! Gourmet Burger Company (HCGBC) to rethink about its name so that it was not unsettling to the Hindu community.

 

 

DCMS continues to legislate for a miserable life...

Advertisers slam the government over more censorship proposals to restrict TV junk food adverts and to ludicrously impose watershed requirements online


Link Here 10th June 2019
Advertisers have launched a scathing attack on the government's plans to introduce further restrictions on junk food advertising, describing them as totally disproportionate and lacking in evidence.

In submissions to a government consultation, seen exclusively by City A.M. , industry bodies Isba and the Advertising Association (AA) said the proposals would harm advertisers and consumers but would fail to tackle the issue of childhood obesity.

The government has laid out plans to introduce a 9pm watershed on adverts for products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on TV and online .

But the advertising groups have dismissed the policy options, which were previously rejected by media regulator Ofcom, as limited in nature and speculative in understanding.

The AA said current restrictions, which have been in place since 2008, have not prevented the rise of obesity, while children's exposure to HFSS adverts has also fallen sharply over the last decade.

In addition, Isba argued a TV watershed would have a significant and overwhelming impact on adult viewers, who make up the majority of audiences before 9pm.

They also pointed to an impact assessment, published alongside the consultation, which admitted the proposed restrictions would cut just 1.7 calories per day from children's diets.

 

 

Ale ails...

Amsterdam brewery promises to remove hindu character from its IPA branding


Link Here19th May 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Amsterdam based Friekens Brewery (Friekens Brouwerij) has apologized and removed Hindu deity Lord Ganesh's image, associated with its I.P.A beer, from its website, ins response to comments from the perennial whinger RajanZed.

Friekens Brewery wrote:

We would like to apologise for the use of the image of Ganesh on the label of our I.P.A. beer. We never meant to offend anyone. Our apology. All reference to Ganesh and his image have been removed from our website, and we will develop a new brand identity for our I.P.A.

Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, thanked Friekens Brewery for understanding the concerns of Hindu community which thought image of Lord Ganesh on such a product was highly insensitive.

Rajan Zed suggested that companies should send their senior executives for training in religious and cultural sensitivity so that they had an understanding of the feelings of customers and communities when introducing new products or launching advertising campaigns.

 

 

Energy sapping Brexit...

The EU Intellectual Property Office refused a trademark for a 'Brexit' drinking claiming it would be found offensive


Link Here17th May 2019
A pair of entrepreneurs have been refused European trademark protection for their energy drink named Brexit after an EU body labelled it offensive.

Pawel Tumilowicz and Mariusz Majchrzak had attempted to register their product Brexit with the European Union Intellectual Property Office (Euipo) after they launched the drink in October 2016.

But they were denied on the grounds that EU citizens would be deeply offended by the appropriation of the word. Euipo claimed:

Citizens across the EU would be deeply offended if the expression at issue was registered as a European Union trade mark.

The pair then appealed before Euipo's Grand Board of Appea which rejected Euipo's judgement that the word was offensive. However it ruled that Brexit could not be trademarked because it was not distinctive enough under EU law and would be confusing.

The high-caffeine drink - which is described on its website as the only reasonable solution in this situation - is branded with the Union Jack and was only named after the contentious political event for a laugh, the Telegraph reports.

 

 

The beer of gods...

Rajan Zed continues his world campaign against a large number of world beers that reference hinduism


Link Here14th April 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial whinger Rajan Zed is urging the Amsterdam micro-brewer Walhalla to withdraw its Shakti double India pale ale, calling it highly inappropriate.

He said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt hindu devotees.

Shakti was highly venerated in Hinduism since Vedic times and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer. Zed stated that it was deeply trivializing of immensely revered Goddess to be portrayed on a beer label like this,

 

 

Cuts of meat...

Images of butchered meat are now defined as sensitive and liable to offend on Instagram


Link Here7th March 2019
Full story: Instagram Censorship...Photo sharing website gets heavy on the censorship
A chef has criticised Instagram after it decided that a photograph she posted of two pigs' trotters and a pair of ears needed to be protected from 'sensitive' readers.

Olia Hercules, a writer and chef who regularly appears on Saturday Kitchen and Sunday Brunch , shared the photo alongside a caption in which she praised the quality and affordability of the ears and trotters before asking why the cuts had fallen out of favour with people in the UK.

However Hercules later discovered that the image had been censored by the photo-sharing app with a warning that read: Sensitive content. This photo contains sensitive content which some people may find offensive or disturbing.

Hercules hit back at the decision on Twitter, condemning Instagram and the general public for becoming detached from reality.

 

 

Updated: Rajan Zed recommends...

Hanuman beer for the Olde Salem Brewing Company


Link Here24th February 2019
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial hindu whinger Rajan Zed is urging urging Salem (Virginia) based Olde Salem Brewing Company to apologize and withdraw its Hanuman (Spanish Milk Stout) beer; calling it highly inappropriate. Zed claimed that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, indicated that Lord Hanuman was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile intent. Moreover, linking Lord Hanuman with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.

Update: Apologies

3rd March 2019. See article from rajanzed.com

Brewery owner Sean Turk, in a Company statement emailed today to Rajan Zed, wrote:

When naming our Spanish milk stout Hanuman we were unaware of the Hindu deity referenced by Rajan Zed. This name was purely a musical reference and had no other intent. We are reviewing options to address the situation206We apologize if this inadvertent association has offended anyone in anyway.

 

 

Rajan Zed recommends...

Govinda beer from Cheshire Brewhouse


Link Here9th December 2018
Full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Perennial whinger Rajan Zed writes:

Upset Hindus are urging Congleton (Cheshire, England) based microbrewery Cheshire Brewhouse to apologize and re-name and re-label its two Govinda beers carrying sacred Hindu symbol Om; calling it highly inappropriate.

Rajan Zed said that inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Moreover, linking Lord Krishna with an alcoholic beverage was very disrespectful.

In Hinduism, Om, the mystical syllable containing the universe, is used to introduce and conclude religious work.

Single bottle of these objectionable beers, Govinda Organic Plumage Archer (ABV 6.4%) and Govinda 'Chevallier' Edition (ABV 6.8%), both Heritage India Pale Ales, is priced at 5 each. This awards-winning artisan craft brewery, established in 2012, whose tagline is Craft Beer From Cheshire That's Far From Plain; besides a taproom, also sells beer online. It claims to use animal-free process and Shane Swindells is the Head Brewer.

Update: The inevitable apology

7th January 2019. See  article from rajanzed.com

Cheshire Brewhouse has inevitably apologized and agreed to remove the Hindu symbol Om from its beer labels after Hindus protested, claiming it to be highly inappropriate.

Shane Swindells, Head Brewer and Owner of The Cheshire Brewhouse, in an email to Hindu whinger Rajan Zed who initiated the protest, wrote:

I now understand the Offence caused by Using the OM on our labels, & will therefore remove this from our beer labels, on all future runs. Please accept my humble apology, not offence was ever intended.

 

 

Updated: Easy Offence...

PC doesn't get much more crazy than a drinks censor banning great artwork by Ralph Steadman over the ludicrous claim that it encourages immoderate drinking


Link Here16th October 2018
Index on Censorship is standing with our free speech friends at Flying Dog Brewery who've just been told by the UK drinks censor that they should stop selling one of the beers because the artwork by award-winning artist Ralph Steadman might encourage immoderate drinking.

Flying Dog was told that the Portman Group deemed the artwork for its Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale could spur people to drink irresponsibly.

indexoncensorship commented:

We think this is nonsense and are pleased Flying Dog plans to ignore this ruling.

The press release sent by Flying Dog Brewery is below:

Flying Dog Brewery Will Not Comply with Regulatory Group's Ruling on Easy IPA

Flying Dog Brewery has been defending free speech and creative expression in the United States for more than 25 years. Now, it's taking a stand in the United Kingdom.

In May 2018, the Portman Group, a third-party organization that evaluates alcohol-related marketing, allegedly received a single complaint from a person who thought that Flying Dog's Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale could be mistaken for a soft drink.

After months of deliberation, the Portman Group issued a final ruling, claiming that the packaging artwork ...directly or indirectly encourages illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as binge drinking, drunkenness or drunk-driving. It will be issuing a Retailer Alert Bulletin on 15 October, which will ask retailers not to place orders for the beer.

Notwithstanding the Portman Group's ruling, Flying Dog has decided to continue to distribute Easy IPA in the United Kingdom.

Jim Caruso, Flying Dog CEO said:

Not surprisingly, the alleged complaint -- by a sole individual -- that a product labeled 'Easy IPA Session India Pale Ale' might be mistaken for a soft drink was, we believe, correctly dismissed by the Portman Group,  That should have been the end of it. However, the Portman Group then went on to ban the creative and carefree Easy IPA label art by the internationally-renowned UK artist Ralph Steadman.

Steadman has illustrated all of Flying Dog's labels since 1995. In the ruling, the Portman Group claims that the artwork of this low-ABV beer could be seen as encouraging drunkenness.

Without question, over-consumption, binge drinking and drunk-driving are serious health and public safety issues, and Flying Dog has always advocated for moderation and responsible social drinking, Caruso said. At the same time, there is no evidence to suggest that the whimsical Ralph Steadman art on the Easy IPA label causes any of those problems. We believe that British adults can think for themselves and Flying Dog, an independent U.S. craft brewer, will not honor the Portman Group's request to discontinue shipping Easy IPA to the UK.

Update: The drink censor's case

16th October 2018. See article from portmangroup.org.uk

The drinks censors of the Portman Group tried to justify their ban in their summary release:

A complaint about Easy IPA has been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel.

The complainant, a member of the public, believed that the drink, which is produced by Flying Dog Brewery, appealed to under 18s. While the Panel concluded that the product did not have direct appeal to under-18s, the Panel investigated whether the product packaging encouraged immoderate consumption.

The Panel noted that the front of the can contained the terms Easy IPA, and Session IPA, which is a commonly used descriptor in the craft beer category. However, they also noted that the original meaning of the phrase was a prolonged drinking session. Although the Panel did not consider these terms to be problematic if used in the right context, when used alongside an image of an inebriated looking creature balancing on one leg presented an indication of drunkenness. Accordingly, Panel upheld the decision.

John Timothy, Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, commented: We are disappointed that Flying Dog Brewery do not appear to respect the decision or the process. Producers need to be extremely sensitive about the overall impact of their labelling. Use of a phrase that could have been innocuous on its own has taken on a different meaning when considered alongside a drunken looking character.

 

 

Commented: Allergies are nothing to be sneezed at...

Allergy UK recommends the new children's movie Peter Rabbit


Link Here16th February 2018
Peter Rabbit is a 2018 UK / Australia / USA family animation comedy by Will Gluck.
Starring Daisy Ridley, Margot Robbie and Elizabeth Debicki. IMDb

Feature adaptation of Beatrix Potter's classic tale of a rebellious rabbit trying to sneak into a farmer's vegetable garden.

Filmmakers behind a new adaptation of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit have been forced to apologise after facing calls for it to be banned from cinemas over a scene in which the protagonist and his furry friends deliberately pelt an allergic man with blackberries.

Allergy UK claimed the film mocks allergy sufferers and trivialises a life-threatening condition. Carla Jones, the charity's chief executive, said:

Anaphylaxis can and does kill. To include a scene in a children's film that includes a serious allergic reaction and not to do it responsibly is unacceptable. Mocking allergic disease shows a complete lack of understanding of the seriousness of allergy and trivialises the challenges faced by those with this condition. We will be communicating with the production company about the film's withdrawal.

Sony Pictures on Sunday night admitted it should not have made light of Mr McGregor being allergic to blackberries and said it regretted not being more aware and sensitive of the issue.

Peter Rabbit will be show in cinemas in March. It is PG rated for mild threat, comic violence.

Update: Peter Rabbit falls to the outrage mob

16th February 2018. See article from spiked-online.com by Candice Holdsworthwriter

The zealotry of today's censors knows no bounds.

The perpetually outraged have found their latest target. This time, they have decided that a film adaptation of Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit is beyond the pale.

See article from spiked-online.com


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