Beer giant Coopers says it did not give permission for its Premium Light beer to feature in or sponsor a new video series by The Bible Society which features two federal MPs debating marriage equality.
The first instalment of the video series, titled ‘Keeping it Light’, features Liberal conservative Christian MP Andrew Hastie and agnostic gay MP Tim Wilson discussing same-sex marriage while drinking Coopers Premium Light beer.
Here’s The Bible Society’s take on Coopers involvement in the video series (according to its website):
Australia’s national conversation has become fraught with shallowness and contempt for those who have a differing opinion. From yelling matches on ABC’s Q&A to screed on Twitter, we just don’t seem to be able to talk anymore. And the more important the topic, the less we actually hear each other.
To speak into this, Bible Society Australia has teamed up with Coopers Premium Light to ask Australians to try ‘Keeping it Light’ – a creative campaign to reach even more Australians with God’s word – and this time we’re doing so in a rather unexpected way.
As part of this partnership, Bible Society Australia has accepted a Bicentenary tribute from Coopers Brewery to produce a Bicentenary limited edition Premium Light beer, and we’ve also hosted some light discussions on the heaviest topics. Starting with the topic of same-sex marriage.
Coopers then tried to clarify its involvement in the campaign with this statement:
With regards to the ‘Keeping it Light’ video from the Bible Society featuring Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson, this is a light hearted but balanced debate about an important topic within Australia. As a mature community, it’s a debate we need to have but in a good-spirited and good-natured way. That’s how we’ve done business for a 154 years.
Coopers isn’t trying to push religious messages or change your beliefs by celebrating 200 years of charitable work undertaken by the Bible Society. In fact, over the years we have produced a number of different celebratory cans to recognise the historical achievements of a vast array of different organisations.
However, the beer brand has since distanced itself from the campaign, issuing another statement:
Coopers have released commemorative cans of Premium Light beer to celebrate The Bible Society’s 200th anniversary. In doing so, we aren’t trying to push a religious message, we see these commemorative cans as a celebration of the Bible Society’s 200 years of charitable work in Australia.
We want you to know that Coopers did not give permission for our Premium Light beer to feature in, or ‘sponsor’ the Bible Society’s ‘Keeping it Light’ video featuring Andrew Hastie and Tim Wilson.
We respect the beliefs of our community and do not wish to try and change them. Our family brewery is made up of individuals from a number of different backgrounds, all of whom hold differing views on politics and religion, which we think is reflective of the wider community.
We would like all Coopers fans to know that we support and embrace all of our beer drinking community.