February 6, 2014 in Opinion

Editorial: Bar hangs on to drink name rather than do the right thing

 

The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board

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After sparking outrage with a drink that makes light of rape, the new Daiquiri Factory in downtown Spokane thought it would be a great idea to make it a double.

“And yes, the Date Grape Koolaid is selling out. Time to make MORE!” someone from the new business tweeted. “Come On In! We are having a Grape Time!!”

Then someone put together a fake newscast attempting to lampoon the controversy and posted that on its Facebook page.

So are the critics just a bunch of uptight, do-right Spokanites who don’t know how to have a good time? No, many of them are rape victims, or just understand the searing impact of that violent crime. There’s nothing funny about it.

Upon learning of the drink’s name, nearly 100 people protested outside the bar Saturday night, many of them victims of rape. Said one, “I am a two-time rape survivor. They responded by mocking us.”

This nightspot – it purports to cater to women – could have renamed the drink and moved on. Instead, it kept pouring salt in the wound. It’s behavior is so crude and unprofessional that it has garnered nationwide attention.

A bar with the same name in Rock Island, Ill., scrambled to distance itself from the immaturity, posting on its Facebook page: “Hello friends just to clarify again we are in no way associated with the bar in Spokane. We find it appalling that they would be so rude. We just want to ensure that you know that we would NEVER do anything like that.”

Kraft Foods, the owners of Kool-Aid, was mortified, demanding that the bar stop invoking the trademarked name.

How is it that a business owner can’t see what’s obvious, and respond in a responsible manner? A bar can have fun and be edgy without conjuring images of people who have been violently violated. Choosing that name for a drink is especially tone-deaf in a city that was once terrorized by the South Hill rapist.

Lewd and risqué names for drinks are nothing new, but word play invoking rape suggests a callous disregard for victims. The business, in attempting to deflect that argument, referenced another drink name on Facebook: “So funny how this gets more attention than Victoria’s Secret!”

In doing so, it exposed a shallow understanding of the issue. Rape isn’t about sex. It’s about premeditated violence and control.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “One out of every six adult women has been a victim of rape, and approximately 92,700 men are raped in the U.S. each year.”

The Daiquiri Factory is offending rape victims, and the bar’s management is fully aware of this by now. But instead of taking responsibility, it’s chosen to hide behind social media and issue juvenile retorts.

Normally, we’d say “welcome” to a new business in Spokane, but not so with one that rudely introduces itself, then pats itself on the back for its insensitivity.

To respond to this editorial online, go to www.spokesman.com and click on Opinion under the Topics menu.


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