The Irish rugby team’s Six Nations campaign has patriotism in full swing, and pub tables are sagging under the weight of creamy pints of Guinness. But an ad combining the two was accused of disrespecting diversity.
Guinness is an Irish institution, and a sponsor of the Six Nations rugby tournament. With the tournament underway, the stout-maker found itself in hot water with immigration activists for a series of seemingly innocuous advertisements placed around Dublin last week.
The billboards reading “You don’t pick a side. Your grandparents have done that already”’ appeared ahead of Ireland’s opening match of the tournament against England in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium on Saturday.
Proving that some people will try to ruin everything, journalist Mark Tighe and the taxpayer-funded Immigrant Council of Ireland savaged the company for failing to recognize the “huge benefit our diversity brings.”
Tighe pointed out that two players on the Irish team: South African CJ Stander and Kiwi Bundee Aki are in fact, immigrants, as is Samoan Manu Tuilagi, who played for the British and Irish lions after winning a deportation appeal in the UK in 2010.
Guinness immediately apologized for the billboards, and said they would be replaced within days.
“The billboard was meant to show the competitive nature of the Guinness Six Nations,” a spokeswoman for parent company Diageo said. “It was to convey the passion with which people follow the team they support, be it because of where they were born, where they live or familial ties…we regret if the billboard caused offence or confusion. This was absolutely not our intention.”
The Immigrant Council congratulated Guinness on pulling the ads, and council CEO Brian Killoran touted Guinness’ work in employing refugees in its Dublin brewery as proof of the company’s woke credentials.