Tigrai Onlne - January 02, 2014
Last week Tigrai Online reported the massive public backlash against Heineken and Bedele beer for sponsoring Tewodros Kassahun also known as Teddy Afro. Teddy Afro pushes one ethnic group’s domination of Ethiopia through his music. He glorifies King Menlik II of Shewa and demonizes other Ethiopians especially Tigraians. The public uproar against him and his sponsors came after he was allegedly commented in an Amharic magazine praising Menlik’s horrible campaign to Southern Ethiopia.
The #BoycottBedele campaign to boycott Heineken and Bedele beer became viral on all social media. Many websites including Tigrai Online weighed in. Finally Heineken and Bedele beer capitulated under heavy public pressure. Tigrai Online Suggested “It seems if the public uproar continues Bedele beer and Heineken would have to make a difficult decision and drop their sponsorship of Teddy Afro’s tour”.
Tigrai Online’s prediction was right on the mark Heineken dropped the sponsorship of Teddy Afro’s tour. Heineken on it’s official website announced it’s decision to distance itself from the polarizing Ethiopian singer by saying “On 20 December 2013, HEINEKEN Ethiopia announced a sponsorship agreement between the Bedele Special brand and the Ethiopian artist Teddy Afro. HEINEKEN Ethiopia regrets that they will disappoint those who were looking forward to the concert tour; however it has been decided not to pursue the sponsorship of the concert tour.”
This was a very smart business decision by Heineken and Bedele beer. A somber and stern reminder to all artists and companies racism does not pay, but mutual respect of all human beings does.
Check Heineken's official statement: http://www.theheinekencompany.com/notifications/2014/01/ethiopia-music-sponsorship-update