Free Speech

African-American pastors’ Nike petition

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Will Nike flinch or listen?

Mark Parker
President/CEO
Nike World Headquarters
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005

Dear Mr. Parker,

We, the undersigned, are people of faith and principle, united in our love for America and what it stands for. Many of us marched in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and have an established record of civic activism.

With that background, I hope you will understand how dismayed we were to learn that your company decided to “pull” a specially-designed shoe that celebrated America’s independence and the Betsy Ross flag. It has been reported that you made this decision based on objections from Colin Kaepernick, a celebrity activist and former professional athlete who has become the “face” of your brand.

We represent a variety of races, ethnicities, and creeds. And we agree that Mr. Kaepernick’s views on America and the flag are fringe opinions, not shared by any of us … especially the African Americans who marched against segregation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In fact, we find Mr. Kaepernick’s views to be ill-informed and offensive, especially to veterans and others who have served this country.

Mr. Kaepernick does not represent us. Moreover, he has tainted our view of your brand. Removing the Betsy Ross flag shoes at his behest implies that your company shares his negative view of America, its founders, and the woman who designed the first flag.

How can we purchase merchandise for ourselves or our families from a company that holds those views of our country?

If this is not the case, we urge you to make it clear that you respect the American flag, its people, and its Founders. We ask that you sever your relationship with Mr. Kaepernick, who has become synonymous with radical anti-American sentiment. And we ask that you make amends to veterans by producing a select run of the Besty Ross shoes for the benefit of veterans groups and organizations that help military families.

For a long time, sport has been something that brings Americans together. Nike has been one of the companies we associate with “Team USA.” Please don’t tarnish that legacy by continuing to cater to anti-American politics.

Sincerely,

Rev. Bill Owens

President, Coalition of African American Pastors

Link to petition here

Cinematic Correctness

Sir Ian Fleming and Cubby Broccoli are probably rolling over in their graves. James Bond 007 has been a formula that has worked. It created a franchise around a suave, sophisticated, educated, debonair and witty womanizing British spy. Whether the dashing Sean Connery, the corny Sir Roger Moore, the rigid Jeremy Dalton, the one-trick pony George Lazenby, the slick Pierce Brosnan or the moody Daniel Craig – the formula has been a massive winner. The Bond franchise has grossed $14.7bn inflation-adjusted.

There are suggestions that James Bond will be replaced by actress Lashana Lynch. The first female Bond. There is probably absolutely nothing wrong with her acting at all. The question is will the producers flunk at the box office by ripping up the script of what has always worked? It is 100% their decision to toy with the tried and tested formula but as ever, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

To be honest, Idris Elba would make a good Bond. He fits all the stereotypes of the role and fans would watch it on his ability rather than his skin tone. The producers could celebrate being woke and the franchise would retain its (relative) believability quotient.

Political correctness seems to dominate Hollywood of late. Whether complaints that not enough actors of colour were represented in Dunkirk or JK Rowling copping flak from LGBT activists because Albus Dumbledore wasn’t openly gay enough in the Fantastic Beasts film, it seems there is a push to make writers and producers conform. Why can’t films just be those made as their writers intended without enforcing politically correct overtones? Surely if there is a market for “politically correct” movies, the champagne socialists of Hollywood will be the first to jump all over it.

Sadly, many of the Best Picture winners selected at the Oscars (with elements of political correctness) in the past decade have been flops with the paying customers. It is interesting that $100m+ box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004. Since 2004 it has been hit and miss. 10 films in the last 14 have failed to breach $75mn. Real-life stories – Argo, A Beautiful Mind, Titanic and The King’s Speech – all cleared $100m at the box office. Maybe audiences can gel to the real-life aspects?

Brokeback Mountain grossed $178m because it didn’t propose to be anything other than a story set around gay cowboys. Milk, grossed $55m because it was a factual story about known gay activist, Harvey Milk. A good film by the way. Bohemian Rhapsody, the story about Freddie Mercury, has raked in over $900m at the box office. It was a factual tale and representative of a period in time.

To keep up with the times, perhaps we should demand that Meryl Streep become the next Shaft and Samuel L. Jackson portray Hillary Clinton in a movie about the 2016 election? How about Jackie Chan portray Michael Jordan in a basketball film about the Chicago Bulls? Why not cast Charlize Theron as Adolf Hitler in the next WWII film and have Arnold Schwarzenegger roleplay her wife. At least he won’t struggle with language? Perhaps do a rerun of Star Trek with Capt. Jane T Kirk? The options to rewrite history or fantasy are endless.

Why did Apollo 13 with Tom Hanks, Gary Sinese and Bill Paxton rake in $350m but First Man starring Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong draw in only $45m in North America? Same space theme – two different results. Apollo 13 celebrated the pride in failure as American ingenuity was able to rescue the damaged spacecraft. Maybe home audiences repudiated Gosling’s film for deleting the pivotal moment the US flag was planted on the moon. Small stuff? Don’t play with audiences. They bite.

The lack of political correctness is a drawcard to the Bond franchise. We can laugh at the double entendre and innuendo. We can marvel at the spectacular car chases, death cheating moves, his Casanova-like charm and underdog victories against evil henchmen. Will audiences believe that a woman will be able to knock out a monster of a man 3 times her size with her fists? Will we want to see a poor defenseless woman stripped naked while tied to a chair while her privates are belted with a shipping rope by a Le Chiffre type character? Or will she be promiscuous to extract information from would-be villains? Perhaps she confronts Graham Norton as the villain this time?

Perhaps the new Mr. Moneypenny will have his heart skip a beat every time the new 007 tosses her Philip Treacy on the hatstand outside M’s office. Maybe Q will design a machine gun in a Hermes Kelly handbag? Perhaps a dart firing pump from Manolo Blahnik? Perhaps the Aston Martin will be replaced by a pink Tesla so we can tackle environmental issues as half of London is set ablaze?

People fell in love with Star Wars because it was all about lasers and space ships. Not because it ticked the diversity (although the Star Wars Bar was as diverse as one could imagine) and inclusion boxes. How dare the poor harmless Jawas or Ewoks be murdered by white supremacists aboard Imperial Battlecruisers. Were the Sand People just misunderstood? What about the animal cruelty that was inflicted on the poor tauntauns on Hoth?

Maybe the franchise is testing the waters by proposing Lynch. We’ve already had Halle Berry play Jinx, the NSA agent in Die Another Day. There have been countless female villains throughout the franchise too – Rosa Kleb, Xenia Onnatop, Miranda Frost, Elektra King, Fiona Volpe, Helga Brandt, Mayday, Bambi & Thumper. All added their own spice. Yet it was always James Bond that was the drawcard.

Ultimately the box office will tell the story. Die-hard Bond fans will likely be cringing at the thought. Maybe CM is just too much of a purist and detests change for the sake of it, especially if it is just about appeasing activism.

Jacinda’s Way

Image result for dan andrews jacinda ardern

NZ PM Jacinda Ardern is in Australia and unsurprisingly the media is giddy with delight. Before we have Lisa Wilkinson write another open letter to ScoMo, What a surprise the NZ PM kicked off her tour in the Democratic People’s Republic of Victoria alongside Chief Commissar Dan Andrews.

While her wellness budget has been sold as a savior, remember in Australia our current commitments in wellness already outweigh NZ’s on a per capita basis. Maybe that’s why 570,000 Kiwis live here and only 39,000 Aussies in NZ.

CM’s budget comparison can be found here.

XR excels in its own stupidity again

Extinction Rebellion (XR) truly take the cake in terms of not understanding their cause very well. Six XR activists were arrested for blocking one of London’s biggest concrete suppliers.

Did it occur to these Mensa members that massive slabs of concrete are required to form the base to anchor wind turbines to? Concrete is also used to ground solar panels. Perhaps more coking coal and bauxite to make steel or vast amounts of toxic materials that go to make solar panels and batteries should be encouraged?

One protestor said,

We have to pause and recognise the harm it is causing both locally and globally; locally with the dust in the air our children breathe and globally with the inextricable CO2 emissions involved which are destroying the world.”

Yet again proves this is just a religion where the disciples believe any old tosh that is thrown their way. No attempt to see reason. Just block traffic and cause more CO2 to be emitted. Well done on all counts. The laziness of the cause is exposed on a daily basis.

These people should be forced to pay damages to those they disrupt. Why should the concrete company or builder be forced to bear externalities created by these people?

The Ringling Sisters

What a clown show. All four Democrat representatives held a press conference where they made themselves out as helpless, fragile victims. It was all about identity and zero about substance. If they wish to stop division in America they sure have an odd way of showing it.

Isn’t it amazing that in a country supposedly so divided, it still afforded the opportunity for these four minorities to be democratically elected? Surely if it is the racist cesspit they make it out to be there is no chance in hell they’d be where they are today? They’d be stuck under the jackboot of the white supremacists.

Of course anything Trump says is automatically branded racist, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic or any other form of outrage. Poor old Nancy Pelosi got a taste of being labeled racist last week from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”s (AOC) chief of staff. Pelosi was having none of it. One of the few times CM has agreed with her. The left is now eating its own.

To take President Trump at his word on the White House lawn – ” if you don’t like our country, leave!” He followed it up with “you’re always welcome back.” Why didn’t the press speak to the whole context? Is it racist to say to people who seem to hate America to leave and live somewhere they’ll be happier?

CM agrees with the sentiment. If people want to firebomb ICE facilities in one border area and hoist the Mexican flag at another on US soil in place of Old Glory, why not leave? If they hate their country that much to do such things, why not move to where they think it is ideal? Perhaps the 100,000s of thousands of people being processed for being illegal immigrants speaks volumes of where people prefer to live. These people just have to open their eyes instead of howl at the moon. They have a democratic choice to turf this supposed dictator next year. If they don’t win, accept not enough think like them.

As former ICE Director Thomas Homan said to AOC, if people want to be processed as asylum seekers they should go to a proper border and go through the legal steps. They’re simply not doing that, most likely because they don’t have reasonable refugee claims as their countries are democracies not at war. They are seeking more favorable economic conditions. Aspirational asylum seekers.

If AOC wants to trash Homan and get proven completely wrong should we not question her incompetence as a lawmaker?

Do we take the words of Rep Rashida Tlaib, “we’re gonna impeach the Motherf*cker” In her victory speech as the type of conduct that invites unity with the people?

Does Rep Ilhan Omar think tweeting that Trump is a “white nationalist” will stop division, heal wounds and cause his base come around? Coming from one who had to walk back her anti-Israel stance she’s hardly speaking from high ground.

How about Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley who said, “We don’t need any more brown faces that don’t want to be a brown voice. We don’t need black faces that don’t want to be a black voice. We don’t need Muslims that don’t want to be a Muslim voice. We don’t need queers that don’t want to be a queer voice.”

So if one strays from Pressley’s predetermined definition of identity – because they wish to be thought of as individuals – are they betraying their roots? How does one create unity with that type of ridiculous thinking? How dare one aspire to not letting stereotypes prevent them succeed.

Of course leftist heads will explode after reading this. While Trunp ‘s tweets are rarely tactful or polite, if these Democrats wish to unite a country, they need a new playbook. Americans are growing sick and tired of the constant leftist drone.

All four are lawmakers. If they can’t prosecute a sounder argument than moping at a press conference what hope have they got? Perhaps taking his words at face value and doing something about it instead of feeling so oppressed in a country that has provided a platform to change what they don’t like. Maybe they should look to the disunity within their own party. They’ll have another 5 years at least to work that out.

Pelosi turns on AOC staffer

CM has held for a while that the Democratic Party is so fractured and disjointed in policy that it will end up eating its own. Recall Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, belittled the Green New Deal as the “green dream.” CM said it was best for Pelosi to bring Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) inside the tent for the very reason she won’t use her platforms to say silly things because she isn’t on the A-team.

Well AOC’s chief staffer, Saikat Chakrabarti, has stepped in and accused Nancy Pelosi and her ilk as being “New Southern Democrats” further contesting,

They certainly seem hell bent to do black and brown people today what the old Southern Democrats did in the 40s.”

Pelosi shot back,

All these people have their public whatever and their Twitter world. But they didn’t have any following. They’re four people and that’s how many votes they got…You got a complaint? You come and talk to me about it. But do not tweet about our members and expect us to think that that is just OK

Good to see the harmony inside the Democrats will lead them to a resounding 2020 victory……..

A show of hands anyone?

Nivea CEO – “we don’t do gay”

LGBTQ Nation has reported that Nivea CEO rejected a campaign from its ad agency – FCB Global – which involved two men holding hands with the words, “we don’t do gay at Nivea.” This has led to a social media backlash showing offended users binning their products in protest. The laugh is that the advertising agency wants to dictate to the client how it runs its business. Nivea just doesn’t wish to promote “woke.” A choice that it should be entitled to make, just as Nike or Gillette are.

Nobody asked in what context “we don’t do gay” were said? Was it in reaction to the disastrous Gillette (note P&G reports Q4 results on July 30th) campaign on toxic masculinity? Did Nivea merely not want to reference specific minorities where it didn’t feel sufficient market gaps or opportunities would be found or was it a venom filled homophobic tirade? CM is willing to bet it was the former. Some corporations don’t wish to mix politics with product.

Nivea got in hot water in 2017 when it promoted a skin lightening cream in Africa. After much success with such products in Asia (where lighter skin is deemed more beautiful and brands make a fortune selling cosmetics based on this) it tested the African market. Unfortunately it got into hot water despite demand. The skin whitening industry was $10bn in 2009 and expected to grow to over $23bn by 2020.

Should Nivea be bashed for supplying products to a market demand that clearly exists? If Africans wish to lighten their skin, shouldn’t that just be a question for that individual? No one is forcing Africans to use their products. Nicole Amartefio is rightly proud of her skin hue so she can choose, like many others, not to buy into the ‘insecurity.’ If Nivea sales tank, they can blame the marketing department for inadequate due diligence.

Maybe CM should protest the sunscreen market for heightening insecurities over skin cancer because whites have less melanin? Do people realise that sunglasses lower the risk of tanning because the eyes regulate melanin production based off the glare the eyes receive? Why doesn’t Nivea promote the use of sunglasses instead of selling expensive sunscreen?

However this is where the Nivea story gets stupid.

FCB Global has been Nivea’s as agency for over 100 years yet its CEO Carter Murray said it intends to end the relationship with Nivea at the end of the contract.

FCB is within its rights to bin a century of business development but if the client wants to follow a mainstream campaign rather than get woke, surely isn’t it Nivea’s prerogative to do so? Does it require Nivea to meticulously follow the social diktat of its service providers? Who does FCB Global think it is? Why does it seek to throw its client under the bus? So much for respecting a century old client relationship.

LGBTQ Nation argues that one of the agency staff who proposed the campaign was indeed gay himself. Presumably he was offended.

Sadly Nivea felt the need to make an irrelevant statement to defend something completely unnecessary,

We are an international company with more than 20,000 employees with very different genders, ethnicities, orientations, backgrounds and personalities worldwide…Through our products, we touch millions of consumers around the globe every day. We know and cherish  that individuality and diversity in all regards brings inspiration and creativity to our society and to us as a company.”

Do consumers honestly ask themselves how “woke” every brand they buy? It is not dissimilar to ANZ preaching about Maria Folau. Is that in the forefront of the 5 million customers it serves? That is not even taking into account the hypocrisy of a bank which was admonished by the Hayne Royal Commission for unethical behaviour.

If Nivea believe that advertising to the LGBT community is a winner, let it decide because it has far better information than FCB Global about markets, products and segmentation. It shouldn’t feel guilty. Subaru America ran a campaign that targeted the lesbian community. Clearly the brand felt its market position had to differentiate away from the monsters of Toyota and Honda.

Talk about FCB Global cutting off its nose to spite its face. Expect its business to be affected more than Nivea. #GetWokeGoBroke . Interested to see how Gillette’s Q4 trend has been since the disastrous Q3 when P&G reports.

The moral of the story is to let the free market weigh Nivea’s decisions. It hasn’t called for anything other than defending how it serves its client base. Nivea parent company, Beiersdorf AG, has not experienced a share price backlash.