Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for December, 2009

Pepsi Responds To Reports of Murder Music Sponsorship In Uganda

Jim Burroway

December 7th, 2009

Pepsi has released a brief statement in response to reports that Pepsi sponsored a murder music concert by Beenie Man in Kampala over the weekend. Pepsi responded:

We are appalled by the performer’s lyrics and find them repugnant.  Our bottling partner in Uganda was not aware of the performer’s views and never would have sponsored the concert with this knowledge.  Moving forward, we will work closely with our bottling partners to be more vigilant about the events associated with our brands.”

And yes, our web site was down for a couple of hours this afternoon. All the traffic coming in concerning this story brought the web site’s host server to its knees. I’ve been on the phone with a very helpful service support person who talked me through several options. Hopefully things will return to normal in the next few days.

Murder Music Performer Brings Violent Message To Uganda, Sponsored By Pepsi

Jim Burroway

December 6th, 2009

Beenie Man onstange in Kampala, UgandaUganda’s independent newspaper The Daily Monitor reports on Jamaican dancehall and murder music performer Beenie Man’s concert at Kampala’s Kyadondo Rugby Club last Saturday. According to reporter Rafsangan Abbey Tatya:

The King of Dancehall stuck a sword of words into gay people through singing and talking. “In my family, we don’t have any gay person but if you’re gay, my brother that’s not my fault,” he said as he performed his song Mi Nah Wallah, in which he says he would like to cut the throats of all gay men.

George Bush and Bin Laden were also at the receiving end of the Jamaican’s wrath calling on the audience to say “murderer” as he sang about the pair’s warfare.

The concert, which also featured about a half-dozen local performers, was sponsored by Pepsi, and appeared to have had a promotional tie-in with Toyota:

The show was sponsored by Pepsi and it doubled as the Crown Beverages’ Chamuka Keys Finale with three RAV4 winners presented on stage to join 17 previous winners in receiving their car log books.

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda’s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

April 19, 2009 edition of Uganda’s Red Pepper (Scans via GayUganda. Names and faces obscured by Box Turtle Bulletin. Click to enlarge).

This type of performance is extremely dangerous. This past year, Uganda has experienced a round of public vigilantism, in which accused LGBT people were publicly identified in a major tabloid newspaper and on radio and television. That was followed with reports of arrests, blackmail and extra-judicial torture.

Homosexuality is currently punishable with lifetime imprisonment. A new proposal before Parliament affirms that punishment while expanding the definition of homosexuality. It also provides for the death sentence under certain circumstances and outlaws all advocacy or defense of LGBT people with seven years imprisonment. Failure to report LGBT people to police will result in punishment of three years imprisonment.

UPDATE: Pepsi has responded with this statement:

We are appalled by the performer’s lyrics and find them repugnant.  Our bottling partner in Uganda was not aware of the performer’s views and never would have sponsored the concert with this knowledge.  Moving forward, we will work closely with our bottling partners to be more vigilant about the events associated with our brands.”