After threatening to sue gay blogs including Bilerico.com and Change.org, Rockstar Energy Drink is performing an about-face — and donating money to gay groups!
Founded by Russell Weiner, the son of bigot radio host Mike Savage, caffeine pusher Rockstar made defamation claims against the sites for intimating Rockstar is tied to Savage, and that Savage profits from Rockstar sales. In fact, Savage only “advised” his son on the drink and not the company, the beverage maker now claims.
And rather than take a few websites to court, Rockstar has pounced on an opportunity to make nice with the community: It says it will donate $100,000 cash, spread amongst the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, GLSEN, and the Trever Project. (The company also notes in a release that it “will continue to offer domestic partnership benefits to LGBT employees, a company policy that has been in place since ROCKSTAR Energy Drink was founded in 2000.”)
Listen up, corporations: This is how you work with the gay community. What we’re impressed with is not only Rockstar’s financial commitment to gay organizations, but that it became publicly angry over any connection made between the company and the vile person that is Mike Savage. Sure, it was a response to bad PR, but it also could have sidestepped the connection between Savage and the company’s founder.
No, threatening a lawsuit is not how to correct the matter, but we’re glad to see a dialogue between Rockstar and the blogs bore this positive outcome.
Though, one (rather significant) question remains: Russell’s mother Janet, who is married to Mike Savage, is still the CFO of the company, right? So in fact Savage does benefit from Rockstar’s sales, if only because his wife draws a salary from the company. In a press release, Russell says, “On behalf of our company and directors, including myself and CFO Janet Weiner, I would like to take this opportunity to disavow any offensive statements directed toward LGBT people, including statements from Michael Savage.” We’re still confused.
(Full press release here.)