Posted by: mutantpoodle | February 3, 2012

Surrender the Pink

I am not an expert, but if you are a five-star brand charity with a name that induces numerous corporations – including the NFL, fer chrissake – to throw money at you, maybe rebranding yourself as a starkly political organization isn’t the best idea?

It was bad enough that Komen pulled future grants to Planned Parenthood on the threadbare rationalization that they were under an anti-choice political investigation.  But they did so after internal push-back, including the resignation of their top public health official, Mollie Williams, who has said that she won’t come back, even with Komen’s apparent – but not entirely fervent – change of heart.

And now they’ve reversed course.

In the meantime, people have discovered that Komen also has a problem with stem cell research, which reinforces a narrative of ideology over effectiveness.  And their founder and just shy of $500k-a-year CEO, Nancy Brinker, isn’t looking so good, either:

…Brinker held a news conference Thursday and insisted that the organization’s decision had nothing to do with abortion or politics. Rather, she said, it resulted from improved grant-making procedures and was not intended to make a target of Planned Parenthood.

“We think this is the right thing to do from a stewardships standpoint,” Ms. Brinker said.

Her comments directly contradicted those of John D. Raffaelli, a Komen board member and Washington lobbyist, who told The New York Times on Wednesday that Komen made the changes to its grant-making process specifically to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood. Mr. Raffaelli said that Komen had become increasingly worried that an investigation of Planned Parenthood by Representative Cliff Stearns, Republican of Florida, would damage Komen’s credibility with donors.

Well, it’s a good thing they dodged THAT bullet.

Ed from Gin and Tacos has, as he put it, had Komen “on my personal shitlist for many years.”

If this is what it takes to get you on the heretofore lonely Screw Komen bandwagon, so be it. But you should not have a low opinion of Komentm because of their announcement on Wednesday. You should have a low opinion of them because they’re a fake charity run like any other company with a product to sell. In this case the product is a combination of guilt, pity, and hope dissolved in a weak acid and dyed a nauseating pink.

Full disclosure: I ran a Komen 5k last year in Los Angeles, raising over $2,000. The race was quite a scene, and I don’t want to minimize the spirit and community that Komen events create.  It’s boisterous and impressive.

But I’m done with them.  I certainly hope a large number of their corporate sponsors are done with them, too.

P.S. Bonus nugget (via Balloon Juice): Komen’s communication strategy for this clusterfuck was directed, in part, by none other than Ari Fleischer.


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