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A GROUP OF local companies which has dubbed itself a Coalition of Corporate Sponsors has decided that they will not be sponsoring any entertainment events at which dancehall artistes Beenie Man and Bounty Killer are slated to perform until further notice.

According to a statement issued by the coalition, the members ­ Courts, Supreme Ventures, Digicel, Red Stripe, Jamaica Tourist Board, Cable and Wireless and J. Wray and Nephew ­ have taken this decision in the wake of artistes' recent performances at the Jamaica Carnival's Last Hurrah where profane language was used by Bounty Killer while Beenie Man incited the audience to use the same.

"What it means is until further notice we will not be sponsoring any shows with these artistes. So promoters can hold their shows with these artistes if they would like to, however, they (corporate sponsors) will not be providing sponsorship support to these shows," Odette Nixon, a spokesperson for the coalition told THE STAR.

This latest development may also impact the artistes' involvement in a multimedia advertising campaign being done under Cable and Wireless' bmobile brand.

No comment

Speaking with THE STAR yesterday, Everald Edwards of the corporate communications department at Cable and Wireless said the company has not yet decided if any action will be taken against the artistes with regard to the advertising campaign. He also could not state when the company would make a decision about the issue.

Management for both artistes said they would have to further examine the statements before they make any comment about the issue.

More research needed

"They (Corporate sponsors) did not specify any names, and I need to do a little more research to fully understand, before I comment, because they (the artistes) have apologised profusely and the sponsors know where they are coming from," said Solid Agency's Sharon Burke, the booking agent for Bounty Killer.

"I would not want to make a comment until I have studied it comprehensively. There might be conditions and so any statement at this time would be premature on my part," was the response from Clyde McKenzie, the director of Shocking Vibes Limited, Beenie Man's local label.

He also questioned the Corporate Sponsors' decision for taking this latest stance. "I would also want to know why this stance was taken, because it would seem extreme to say the least," he said.

According to the statement, the sponsors' decision was in keeping with their responsibility to stakeholders to ensure that their marketing reflects their corporate values. The statement also said they had an even larger responsibility to the public to act within socially acceptable standards.

The statement listed three principles to which the companies were committed which include their refusal to sponsor 'acts or events whose live performances endorse or incite violence, demean or discriminate against any person, or include the use of indecent or profane language'.

In light of these principles and standards they found the artistes' behaviour at the Last Hurrah a violation. "The code is based on the principle that a breach against one sponsor is considered a breach against all. In light of this, until further notice the coalition suspends sponsorship of any event or activity, which includes the offending artistes in live performance," the statement said.

The members of the coalition also sponsor several entertainment events which take place throughout the year. They include Red Stripe Reggae Sumfest, Supreme Ventures Jamaica Carnival and East Fest which is sponsored by J. Wary and Nephew.

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April 29, 2005

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