The brewer has been accused of “cheek” for the campaign by an organiser for a hospitality union.
Bryan Simpson, a lead organiser of Unite Hospitality, said: “The treatment of workers in Qatar is an international scandal but Brewdog have a cheek saying anything about workers’ rights when hundreds of their own workers (past and present) signed an open letter detailing a ‘culture of fear’ with workers demanding an apology for ‘harassing, assaulting, belittling, insulting or gaslighting them’.”
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Over 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it was awarded the world cup, while homosexuality is punishable by up to seven years in prison. Labour leader Keir Starmer said he wouldn’t be attending the tournament over Qatar’s human rights record.
Controversies around the World Cup also include allegations of slavery, bribery and corruption.
“The more football you show, the more money YOU make from all the other beers and food you’re selling,” one person wrote on Twitter responding to Brewdog’s announcement. “If you want to make a stand, take a hit. Don’t profit massively while waving your pathetic little ‘values’ flag.”
“Why not just sell Lost Lager during the games, donate ALL profits from ALL beers sold during the games or just not show the games if you are so anti-Qatar ?” wrote another.
Earlier this year BrewDog’s CEO James Watt was accused of making female bartenders feel “uncomfortable” and “powerless” in a BBC documentary. Watt denied the allegations and BrewDog lodged a complaint with broadcast regulator Ofcom over the programme.
Responding to backlash over the Qatar anti-sponsorship, Watt added: “Let’s be honest – people are still going to watch the games – so we want to give them the opportunity to watch the games and raise money to drive positive change at the same time.
“Meaning people can show their love for the game…and their anger at who happens to be hosting it.”
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The BrewDog spokesperson added: “There’s been an incredible response to our Anti-Sponsor of the World F*Cup campaign.
“We thought long and hard about whether we wanted to show matches in our bars but decided to do so for two reasons.
“One, if you love craft beer and you also love football you shouldn’t be denied the chance to enjoy them together just because FIFA is corrupt.
“Two, all profits from Lost Lager sold during the tournament will be donated to human rights charities. We will raise a lot more money if we show the matches in our bars”
Asked which charities were being supported, the spokesperson added: “We are evaluating a number of charity partners. We will only donate to registered charities that demonstrably and directly help those who have been affected by human rights injustices and violations in Qatar. Net profits will be calculated at the end of December and all donations will be made in January 2023.”