The Komen Fiasco Keeps Getting Bigger… And Bigger

Filed in National by on February 2, 2012

What a public relations disaster.  You’d think Komen would have a better spokeswoman, but alas…

Via TPM:

“Well, let me just for the record tell you, Karen did not have anything to do with this decision,” Brinker responded. “This was decided at the board level and also by our mission, Andrea.” Binker said that the decision was based on rejiggering the grant program to expand help for women. “Everything that we get up and do every day is about the mission, to provide women, vulnerable populations, with care, treatment, and screening.” This explanation omits the one given Tuesday, when the organization attributed the decision to the fact that Planned Parenthood was under investigation by Congress and they would no longer give grants to organizations under governmental investigation. Throughout the interview, Brinker denied any political motivation.

The video is painful to watch.  Binker is completely unbelievable.  And this story is exploding.  Everywhere.

My prediction:  This is not going to end well for the Komen brand.


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A stay-at-home mom with an obsession for National politics.

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  1. Komen’s Betrayal : Delaware Liberal | February 3, 2012
  1. JP Connor Jr says:

    Pink Fibbin’: Susan G. Komen’s Lies About Breast Cancer. Can you trust a breast cancer organization whose staff and board lie about medical science, including breast cancer?” asks Jodi Jacobson of RH Reality Check.

    What has the powder pink fundraising powerhouse done to undermine its crediblity lately? Here’s a list for your reference.

    1. Cut off funding to Planned Parenthood for breast health programs for high-risk women.

    2. Hired Karen Handel as Senior Vice President for Policy. A career anti-choice pol, Handel spread lies about Planned Parenthood during her unsuccessful campaign for governor. We don’t know if Handel decided to cut Planned Parenthood loose as Komen SVP, but we know she promised to cut off PP if she were elected governor of Georgia: “since I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood … In fact, state and federal law prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for abortions or abortion related services and I strongly support those laws. Since grants like these are from the state I’ll eliminate them as your next Governor.” Handel is also an avowed supporter of crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs), which nurture the myth that abortion causes breast cancer.

    3. Elected Jane Abraham, the General Chairman of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List, to the SGK board despite the fact that SBA is notorious for spreading misinformation about federal funding for abortion to further its attempts to elect Republicans. Abraham has close ties to the Nurturing Network, a network of “crisis pregnancy centers.” CPCs are propaganda outlets that outwardly mimick women’s health clinics, but actually exist purely to dissuade women from having abortions, by deception, if necessary. A favorite CPC tactic is to tell women that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer, a myth which has been rejected by the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the Institutes of Medicine, amongst other authorities.

    4. Denied the link between the endocrine disruptor BPA and breast cancer while accepting donations from corporations that use BPA in their products, including Coca-Cola and General Mills. Komen even commissioned a special pink BPA-containing cap for bottles of DS Water.

    5. Helped generate headlines like, “KFC Fights Breast Cancer With Fried Chicken,” by making a pact with Kentucky Fried Chicken which guaranteed SGK a share of the proceeds from specially marked pink buckets of chicken. Other breast cancer activists criticized Komen for “pinkwashing” a fast food chain whose cuisine is a byword for unhealthy eating. Any food can be part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation. However, it is disconcerting that the promotion was expected to raise $8 million, which would have made it the largest single corporate donation in the organization’s history. An organization that is supposed to be an independent advocate for women’s health should not be so closely tied to corporations whose entire business model hinges on maintaining unhealthy eating habits at the societal level. Kentucky Fried Chicken does not want to sell fried chicken in moderation, it wants to keep KFC as a fixture of our national diet. It’s downright cheap to pay Susan G. Komen $8 million for the pastel pink imprimatur of fighting breast cancer and carry on business as usual. If its stance on BPA is any indication, Komen may even be less motivated to “raise awareness” about any future discoveries regarding diet and breast cancer.

  2. cassandra m says:

    Not sure if this was linked to yet, but Mother Jones finds that Penn State is getting $7.5M/year and is under investigation by the feds, the state of PA and locals. Even with all of that (very serious) investigation going on, the grant to Penn State hasn’t been withdrawn.

    This is quite a disaster and the pressure has to be kept up. I know when Glenn Beck was acting the fool, Color of Change led the charge to get his advertisers to withdraw. Has anyone heard of an effort to get people like New Balance, etc to stop supporting this group?

  3. pandora says:

    Komen is toast. They either have to hold their ground and we turn our backs on them, or change their mind and have the pro-lifers go after them.

    Like I said PR disaster.

    I am done with them. Unfortunately for them this is one of the biggest stories in the news… and it shows no signs of dying out.

  4. And here’s more. They spend big bucks going after small not-for-profits:


    Schadenfreude. It’s a beautiful thing.

  5. JP Connor Jr says:

    This was the stuff that first brought them to my attention about a year ago. They act like they own the color pink:)

  6. MJ says:

    All good stuff. Like I said earlier, they really screwed the pooch. And SGK’s chief had such a bad interview on MSNBC and NBC News tonight.

  7. Liberal Elite says:

    What an ugly organization… (self enriching, greedy, nasty politics,…)

    Looking at the whole picture, it’s easy to see this as a betrayal of women.

    I’m guessing well see a lot less of those little pink ribbons. Maybe they should switch to pink nooses?

    Yea.. Someone needs to photoshop a pink noose with the words “Race for abjure”

  8. Jason330 says:

    I just hard the Andrea Mitchell interview with founder. Pretty miserable. She was spinning like crazy (e.g. “We aren’t defunding Planned Parenthood. We have grants out to them that will run throughout this year.”) …while not backing down from the line that this decision had nothing to do with the politics of reproduction.

    Also, since the founder had been a Ambassador, Mitchell was sickeningly girlfriend-ing it up because I guess they worked together in Washington at some point.

  9. SussexAnon says:

    Perhaps we should have a 5k “Race for the Remedy” or “Race against the Problem”

    The Remedy being continuing funding for breast screenings at PP.

    Or the Problem being the Komen foundation (and cancer)

    Going to register those domain names right now.

  10. puck says:

    Maybe they should switch to pink nooses?

    Or a pink coat hanger.

  11. pandora says:

    Here you go, Liberal Elite.

    And your choice of the word betrayed sums it up. I feel another post coming on…

  12. Perhaps my favorite screed on SGK yet:

    I think he’s nailed it:

    “And that’s all Komen is – a consulting firm that helps large corporate clients sell more of their products through pinkwashing campaigns. By slathering everything from pasta to baseball bats to perfume to fast food with the Pink Imprimatur, consumers are led to believe that their purchases are making meaningful contributions to breast cancer research. Somewhere down the line a few cents per purchase may trickle into those bloated coffers, but the immediate and motivating effect of that pink packaging is to get you to buy things. In short, Komentm is a group of salespeople selling image. Whatever money benefits the sick, researchers, or recovering patients is ancillary. Getting those big, fat tax-exempt checks from their Partners for the Curetm is what drives their business model.

    Am I too cynical? Consider their lack of discretion in choosing Partnerstm. Nothing says “We’re serious about stomping out cancer!” like a pink bucket of fried chicken or pink bags of deep fried snacks. It’s ridiculous on that “Earth Day brought to you by Ford” level.”

  13. puck says:

    Chris Coons signed the Senate letter to SGK. I think the free market and karma will deal with these SGK punks just fine, but it’s nice to hear from the Senate as well. Bravo, Senator Coons!

  14. I agree that the Free Market will deal with this.

    Think about it. Up until this week, associating with SGK was a corporate freebie. Literally. They got the ‘feel-good’ rub with their association, and their contributions were tax-exempt. There was no perceived political agenda associated with SGK, although we’ve come to learn that there was, only it had been underreported, if reported at all.

    It’s no longer a freebie. Unless these corporate sponsors only want to make money from right-wing anti-choice zealots who support this position, they’ll have no choice but to cut ties. Which, ironically, will likely piss off anti-choice zealots.

    I’d almost shed a tear or two for Corporate America’s conundrum, but, much to my surprise, I’ve discovered that I have no tears to shed on their behalf.

    On the plus side, there are a couple of great, but expensive, Cline Cellars wines at Kreston’s sporting the pink ribbons. Think I’ll wait now ’til they’re discounted…

  15. Jason330 says:

    I’m gratified by the volume and duration of the backlash. It says that wingnut politics cross a very bright line when they jump from crazy redneck legislators giving tributes to religious zealots to imposing their insanity on things that impact actual people.

    As a country we’ve been slow to stir when dealing the crazy, but now everyone’s radar is up.

  16. Liberal Elite says:

    “…imposing their insanity on things that impact actual people.”

    And that’s what has changed. The wingnuts are now accepting deep cuts in the health care for the young, the poor and for minority women as acceptable collateral damage in their war on abortion.

    It’s outrageous… and for this, they need to be punished.

  17. pandora says:

    @Liberal Elite

    Your comment about betrayal last night triggered a post that will show up shortly. This Komen situation has hit me hard, and your words had me pounding the keyboard.

    In reference to Komen’s sponsors… they must be furious. No matter what they do now, Komen has placed them in the position of aligning their products with the abortion fight. If they pull their support they will be labeled pro-choice, if they continue their support they will be labeled pro-life. I bet there are a lot of executives freaking out.

  18. Some things I can just not make up. THIS is one of them (if you click on but one El Somnambulo link today, make it this one):

  19. Jason330 says:

    Support breast cancer research while giving your cheating spouse, or unfaithful meth lab partner an acute case of lead poising.

  20. jpconnorjr says:

    The Komen Board at least had a pretty product with which to shoot themselves in the foot!

  21. puck says:

    It would also help if their spokeswoman didn’t look like Cruella de Vil.