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Circulating Image Implies Heineken Supports Dog Fighting

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Widely circulated image shows a dog fight with a row of Heineken banners visible in the background.


Brief Analysis

The picture is genuine, but Heineken had no knowledge of the dog fighting event and does not endorse or promote dog fighting in any way. The Heineken banners were left in the venue - a nightclub in Mongolia - after an unrelated promotional event the previous night and their presence is not an indication that Heineken supported the dog fighting activity. The venue's management failed to remove the banners before the dog fight was staged reportedly because staff did not have time to do so between the two events. Heineken has since ceased its relationship with the club and ensured that its products will never be sold there again. Heineken is not guilty of the accusations laid against it and sending on this misleading image is unfair and counterproductive.



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Heineken Dog Fight Protest

Please SHARE THE HELL out of this image. Big mistake Heineken, BIG mistake.

Detailed Analysis

This viral image, which depicts a dog fight in progress while a row of Heineken banners hang in the background has generated a great deal of anger and consternation against the famous Dutch brewer . At first glance, the presence of the banners may suggest to viewers that Heineken is thereby actively promoting and supporting the dog fight. The message asks users to share the image as widely as possible to highlight Heineken's "big mistake" in its apparent endorsement of such a cruel and reviled activity.

But, things are not what they seem. The photograph is genuine, but Heineken had no knowledge of the depicted dog fighting event and its banners are not associated with the event in any way. The banners were left displayed in the venue by its management after a totally unrelated Heineken promotion the night before. The dog fighting event was staged at a Mongolian nightclub in 2010. Heineken has denied any involvement or support of the dog fighting event and has responded to the rumors via a statement on its Facebook Page. The statement reads in part:

Images continue to circulate in social media channels showing a dog fight, with Heineken banners clearly visible in the background. This is very distressing and totally unacceptable. As a company and a brand owner, we do not and would never knowingly support any event, outlet or individual involved in this type of activity. It is against our company and brand rules and - more important - against our company values.
Since this matter was brought to our attention via Facebook we have conducted an investigation and now know that
  • The venue is a nightclub in Mongolia
  • The venue hosted a dog fight of which we had no knowledge and were not involved in any way
  • The venue owner has formally confirmed that Heineken banners are visible in the pictures because the previous evening the club had been decorated for a promotional event and he had failed to remove the banners once it was over. This event was in no way related to the dog fight.
Heineken has now ceased its relationship with the club entirely and taken steps to ensure that its products will never be sold there again.

The nightclub owner has also issued an official statement in which he claims that the banners were left up from a previous event because staff did not have time to remove them. He also confirms that the dog fight was not sponsored by Heineken.

Thus, this would-be protest message is directing its angst against the wrong entity. Heineken does not support dog fighting and circulating this misleading protest message is unfair and will do nothing to help stamp out such cruel activities. And perhaps a lesson to the growing hordes who use social media to promote various causes, often without conducting even the most rudimentary research into the veracity of said causes. Supporting a genuine cause you believe in? Fine! Failing to spend a few minutes checking the truth of a protest message before reposting it? BIG mistake!



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Last updated: October 14, 2015
First published: September 4, 2012
By Brett M. Christensen
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Statement Update: Images of dog fighting circulating on the internet
Statement from Club Owner