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Misogynist shaming effort backfires

Bad Apple Brewhouse in full damage control

by Rebecca Rose

Picture of the woman, posted by Jeff Saunders to the company’s Twitter account. In the tweets he called the woman “unsociable”, “uptight” and a “bitch.”
Picture of the woman, posted by Jeff Saunders to the company’s Twitter account. In the tweets he called the woman “unsociable”, “uptight” and a “bitch.”
The Twitter exchange where Saunders defends the postings.
The Twitter exchange where Saunders defends the postings.
Jeff Saunders, owner of Bad Apple Brewhouse, making the "shocker" gesture. Photo Twitter
Jeff Saunders, owner of Bad Apple Brewhouse, making the "shocker" gesture. Photo Twitter

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Bad Apple Brewhouse, a craft beer brewery in Berwick, Nova Scotia, is doing some serious damage control.

This after posting a picture of a woman that owner Jeff Saunders encountered at a bar in Halifax to the company’s Twitter account. In the tweets he called the woman “unsociable”, “uptight” and a “bitch.”

The photo has since been removed from Bad Apple’s Twitter and the entire Bad Apple Brewhouse Facebook Page has also been taken down.

The Twitter outburst began Wednesday night (Canada Day) after Twitter user Duncan MacKenzie asked Jeff (via the Bad Apple account) where he was going that night. Bad Apple responded with the picture and tweeted “after being thoroughly insulted by some over entitled bitch at the Goat, anywhere seems great. What a way to have a night ruined.”

When Mackenzie called Saunders out for being a “misogynist bullying asshole” the brewster defended his actions claiming that the picture and name-calling were “deserved” because the woman had insulted him and made “derogatory and inflammatory” remarks.

The original post and subsequent defensive tweets reinforce the all too familiar narrative that it is OK to publicly shame and call a woman (often sexist) names when she “insults” a man or “ruins” his night.

The post, and exchange, quickly made the rounds on Twitter and Facebook prompting significant backlash.

Facebook user Beth Pothier wrote on Bad Apple’s page: “This beer lover won’t be buying any of your products anytime soon and I’ll be telling my friends that your company condones online harassment of women. I don’t fund misogyny.” One Twitter user simply tweeted “What the f—ck is wrong with you?”

The next day the woman in the picture took to the Bad Apple Facebook Page. “Please keep sharing,” she wrote. “I know it’s a terrible photo of me (which the guy reminded me of several times last night) but I want the word to get out. Don’t let them get away with this.” The woman declined an interview with the Halifax Media Co-op, citing the amount of time and energy that the incident has already consumed, but said that she is grateful for the attention it is receiving.

Following the negative attention, Saunders took to Twitter to say that he defended himself “inappropriately”, was “aggressive” and needs “to find a better way to respond to people that ruin my night.”

He also tweeted at the woman from the photo saying that he wanted to apologize personally and publicly and asked if she could call him so that he could do so.

She declined, stating that she appreciated the gesture but didn’t feel comfortable with a phone call. She added “a public apology would be appropriate and appreciated by myself and presumably other victims of #cyberbullying.”

Bad Apple has yet to post an apology or take down the tweet in which Saunders refers to the woman as a bitch.

Though Saunders has claimed that he only posted the photo to Bad Apple’s Twitter because he was “upset”, it wasn’t an isolated incident.

On March 2 Saunders used Bad Apple’s Twitter to post a picture (attributed to Greg Nash of Unfiltered Brews) of the back of a woman, again at the Stubborn Goat, who appears to be wearing a backless shirt or tube-top with the caption “Naked girl drinking Box Cutter IPA”. Bad Apple did not respond when Twitter user Natalie Chavarie told the pair that photo and tweet were in “poor taste” if the photo was taken without the woman’s consent.

Not unlike big beer brands, Bad Apple also uses attractive women, and their bodies, to sell beer. “The Goods” section of Bad Apple’s website (used for promoting in-store swag) features a woman wearing a partially unzipped Bad Apple hoodie, revealing a pink lace bra and cleavage.

No surprise coming from a brewery that used to have a beer called “The Shocker”, referring to a sexual act (named such as it’s a “shock”) that involves putting two fingers in the vagina and one in the anus. The tagline “Home of the Shocker!” also appeared on the back of the Bad Apple T-shirts worn by Bad Apple representatives at the brewery’s Stillwell takeover in 2014. Saunders is also making the hand gesture in a picture that Bad Apple re-tweeted in October.

Bad Apple may have deleted Wednesday’s picture, but many local beer lovers likely won’t be sipping a Bad Apple brew anytime soon. James Sampson tweeted: “With all the new breweries in NS, I can save a few bucks now & avoid this one."

Updated on July 8th to clarify that Stillwell staff did not wear Bad Apple T-shirts at the brewery's Stillwell takeover in 2014.


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