Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Date Grape Koolaid" backlash continues

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 3:32 PM

The mesmerizing and increasingly awkward spiral continues for the Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory. Since we posted about the bar's "Date Grape Koolaid" drink Friday, other local and national media picked it up and a group protested outside the bar Saturday night.

click to enlarge "Date Grape Koolaid" backlash continues
Sarah Wurtz
Protesters gathered on Wall Street on Saturday evening.

The Daiquiri Factory has done most of its communicating on its Facebook page, and has not returned our requests for comment via phone, email or Facebook. Early on, dozens of commenters took to the page to leave negative reviews and ask the bar to change the name, but the bar soon shut down the review function and began hiding or deleting comments. (The negative reviewers have since moved to a Yelp page for the business here and a boycott page has started here.)

But the bar shows no willingness to change the name and at times seems to be reveling in the negative attention. They began their responses Friday by defending the name.

Then by bragging about how many people were loving the drink during opening weekend.

Then came the big-media conspiracy. (For the record, the Inlander is and has always been an independently owned company without any affiliation with any local TV station, including KXLY. We also did not contact the owner's mother.)

The bar then posted this audio "statement," which seems to be an attempt at a faux news report telling people to simply chill out about the rape joke and come down to enjoy some "daiquiri therapy."

Today, they clarified even further. Apparently everyone is just missing the real joke here. (Again, for the record, we included that Urban Dictionary definition in our original story and still don't get why a daiquiri would be named after a wine-inspired hookup. UPDATE: Urban Dictionary has apparently removed the "Date Grape" definition and protesters are discussing that over on the boycott page.) 

Since the whole thing started, protesters and others have notified Kraft, which owns Kool-Aid, of the bar's use of the trademarked name. The company has repeatedly responded, "We are as appalled as you. Kraft does not support or condone this drink, and finds its existence to be highly insensitive to a serious issue. This blatant misuse of the Kool-Aid trademark is offensive to so many, including us, and we are making it our top priority to address the situation ASAP." Some have also been encouraging opponents of the bar to contact other entities (like Victoria's Secret) it uses in its drink names and businesses that advertise on the radio station 104.5 JAMZ, which the owner of the Daiquiri Factory also owns.

Protesters are also organizing another gathering for this weekend, though the time and day haven't yet been finalized.

Meanwhile, some have argued that the drink name is no worse than other racy cocktail or shot names, like "Sex on the Beach." The difference here, of course, is that date rape is a violent crime, not a consensual sex act. The problem is not that the name references sex; it's that, to many, it seems to be clearly referencing rape.

At Monday's Spokane City Council meeting, representatives from the Human Rights Commission and Lutheran Community Services spoke about the effects of normalizing rape. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network estimates that more than 200,000 Americans are victims of sexual assault each year and that about 60 percent of those assaults will go unreported to police.

"Every joke about sexual violence does two very harmful things that no community or individual should tolerate," said Erin Williams Hueter, who works with victims of sexual assault at Lutheran Community Services, at the council meeting. "First, it makes rape more socially acceptable, perpetuating the problem, the prevalence and the impact on each of us as neighbors, friends, coworkers, parents siblings and citizens. Second, it minimizes any survivor's experience. It takes a person who often already feels very small, damaged, frightened, disrespected, shameful and alone and reinforces those feelings. Each time we laugh or turn a deaf ear to these so called jokes, we validate the crime victims' very worst fears. It lets them know that we too find them to be small and insignificant, damaged, not respectable and that they deserve to feel ashamed and alone."

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About The Author

Heidi Groover

Heidi Groover is a staff writer at the Inlander, where she covers city government and drug policy. On the job, she's spent time with prostitutes, "street kids," marriage equality advocates and the family of a 16-year-old organ donor...