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This image is circulating on Facebook:

enter image description here

The message accompanying it is calling for a boycott of Heineken for sponsoring the event.

The message is as follows (warning: horrific grammar, spelling, and some profanity):

Are u serious? NEVER will I drink this beer again and u can be damn sure I will post this on every site I can find and show to anyone I see drinking the beer. U want to kill brain cells that's fine we are adults its our own fault but u sponcer an event to make money off of defencless dogs having to fight eachother I say f--k u. Sorry about the language but to some scum there just isn't pretty words. Please share please put them out of business there's no reason enough to support this beer company.

Does Heineken sponsor dog fights?

  • 7
    calling Heineken a beer is bit exaggerated ;-) But seriously, is there any indication that the Heineken banners are not just permanent decoration in what looks to be just generic multi-use sports hall? – vartec May 15 '13 at 15:55
  • @vartec I know what you mean! What is that stuff? It's like a less sugary Seven Up, laced with hops-like flavoring. – Kaz May 15 '13 at 19:54
  • 3
    You'd have to be extremely naive to think that a corporation would put its brand next to an activity that is illegal in most of the developed world, and even some of the less developed world. Doh? It's against "company values" such as, oh, not paying fines and going to jail. – Kaz May 15 '13 at 19:57
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    @Kaz "Extremely naive" doesn't even cover most of the people sharing the viral photos going around Facebook. Most people seem to subscribe to the theory that the more outrageous and shocking a claim is, the less need there is to verify it, or even question it. – Beofett May 15 '13 at 20:02
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    Since the image is circulating on Facebook, Facebook must be sponsoring dog fights too. The bastards! :) – Kaz May 15 '13 at 22:01
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Heineken have addressed this rumour years ago, explaining that they did not sponsor the event, and have ceased their relationship with the venue:

A two year old image continues to circulate in social media channels showing a dog fight, with Heineken banners clearly in the background. As a company and a brand owner, we do not and would never knowingly support any event, outlet or individual involved in this type of activity. It is against our company and brand rules and - more important - against our company values.

Since this matter was brought to our attention via Facebook we have conducted an investigation and now know that:

  • The venue is a nightclub in Mongolia
  • The venue hosted a dog fight of which we had no knowledge and were not involved in any way
  • The venue owner has formally confirmed that Heineken banners are visible in the pictures because the previous evening the club had been decorated for a promotional event and he had failed to remove the banners once it was over. This event was in no way related to the dog fight. (Click to see document)

Based on this we have taken the following immediate actions:

  • Removed all remaining promotional materials from the venue
  • Withdrawn all current product stock from the club
  • Ceased our relationship, ensuring our brands will not be available in the club again
  • Instructed our distributor to check every location where our brands can be enjoyed to ensure such illegal activities are not taking place. If there is any suggestion that they are, we will take the same action and remove our products
  • Continue to ensure our strict advertising and promotion guidelines are enforced both to the letter and the spirit of their intent
  • 4
    Beat me by 4 seconds :P – Beofett May 15 '13 at 15:57
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    Never try to answer your own question when the Skeptics Ninja Oddthinking the third is on his watch! Nothing passes his watchful eyes, and no claims is left hanging! – Wertilq May 15 '13 at 16:29
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    Sorry, @Beofett! It helped that I had already seen it debunked ages ago. I'm half-surprised the rumour is still going. (Not surprised that people aren't checking the facts before publishing it, just half-surprised it is still causing outrage 3 years later.) – Oddthinking May 15 '13 at 17:29
  • @Wertliq: A bit rich coming from the person who pipped me to the twitter search answer (by more than a few seconds, I admit, but I did find the URL independently.) – Oddthinking May 15 '13 at 17:30
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    @Oddthinking Two of my friends shared this today on FB. When I went to link the question here to their posts, I was pleasantly surprised to see that two different people had already posted comments explaining that it was old, and linking to Heineken's comments. – Beofett May 15 '13 at 17:36
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No, Heineken did not knowingly sponsor the event, and has made a public response:

Images continue to circulate in social media channels showing a dog fight, with Heineken® banners clearly visible in the background. This is very distressing and totally unacceptable. As a company and a brand owner, we do not and would never knowingly support any event, outlet or individual involved in this type of activity. It is against our company and brand rules and - more important - against our company values.
Since this matter was brought to our attention via Facebook we have conducted an investigation and now know that:

  • The venue is a nightclub in Mongolia
  • The venue hosted a dog fight of which we had no knowledge and were not involved in any way
  • The venue owner has verbally confirmed that Heineken® banners are visible in the pictures because the previous evening the club had been decorated for a promotional event and he had failed to remove the banners once it was over. This event was in no way related to the dog fight

Based on this we have taken the following immediate actions:

  • Removed all remaining promotional materials from the venue
  • Withdrawn all current product stock from the club
  • Ceased our relationship, ensuring our brands will not be available in the club again
  • Instructed our distributor to check every location where our brands can be enjoyed to ensure such illegal activities are not taking place. If there is any suggestion that they are, we will take the same action and remove our products
  • Continue to ensure our strict advertising and promotion guidelines are enforced both to the letter and the spirit of their intent

We want to thank our consumers on-line for bringing this issue to our attention. We are shocked and disappointed by these images. We fully understand the level of negative feeling amongst consumers based on what they have seen. We appreciate that the vast majority have asked for our point of view before making a judgment. We encourage our consumers to continue to use social media channels to alert us to any situation where they feel our brands are being misrepresented, so that we can take the appropriate actions.

For more information please contact john.g.clarke@heineken.com

The company has also posted the original letter of confirmation from the venue owner.

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