BrewDog equity appeal video criticised for ‘transphobia’

James Watt and Martin Dickie
BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie

Scots craft beer company BrewDog has come under fire after LGBT activists said a video promoting its latest equity finance initiative is transphobic.

The YouTube video, which stars BrewDog co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, sees the pair appeal for investors by pretending to raise money in more humiliating ways.

The craft beer maker is raising money through Crowdcube, a UK crowdfunding platform that allows it to offer shares and bonds to online investors. It aims to raise £25 million by April.

According to Mr Watt, the Aberdeenshire firm’s use of crowdfunding techniques - previously covered in Scottish Financial News - is “the driving force behind BrewDog’s epic growth over the last few years”.

However, their video appeal’s light-hearted tone - designed to appeal to the company’s trendy fanbase - appeared to backfire after 8,000 people signed an online petition that says the pair “mock homeless people, trans women and sex workers” in the video.

It calls for the video to be removed and for BrewDog to “change their approach in order to keep their customers”.

The petition further states: “They say, ‘don’t make us do this’ whilst performing as offensive caricatures of people, many of whom already suffer discrimination every day.

“They are mocking the lives and experiences of people who real punks would be defending and helping.

“Worse, this is a fundraising video - they’re using these images in an exploitative manner to make money.”

Speaking to The Drum, Mr Watt responded to the allegations: “It’s a shame that some people have taken offence where none was intended.

“We have a history of supporting and championing the LGBT community, and will continue doing so… watch this space.”

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