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MillerCoors drops controversial Puerto Rican flag beer campaign, but cans stay on shelves

Posted at 1:04 PM, May 30, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-30 15:03:11-04

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A MillerCoors spokeswoman has told PIX 11 News that effective Friday the company will no longer be producing or distributing the  controversial Puerto Rican flag cans.

MillerCoors also apologized to the Puerto Rican community.

“We apologize if the graphics on our promotional  packaging inadvertently offended you or any other members of the Puerto Rican community.

A MillerCoors spokeswoman told PIX11 News that the company “does not have legal permission to take the cans down.”  In a subsequent email, MillerCoors said that the product “is no longer our property or that of the distributor once it reaches retail.”

“City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito told PIX 11 News Thursday that the campaign was “deplorable.”

“Today’s announcement that Coors will cease all production of products bearing the Puerto Rican flag is yet another incredible victory for our community, which was brought about solely by sustained pressure at the grassroots. The National Puerto Rican Day Parade’s irresponsibility in not only authorizing this campaign, but then dismissing the community’s response has been deeply disturbing and calls for a re-evaluation of the Board of Directors’ leadership,” Mark-Viverito said in a statement.

READ THE LETTER FROM COORS

MillerCoors added it has a long history of supporting Latinos, and has funded  scholarships for Latino youth.

That history includes the controversial “emboriquate” campaign from the spring of 2011, that was also done in connection with the Puerto Rican Day parade.

PIX11 News was the first to expose what some saw as a connection between the word “emborachar” (or to get drunk ) and Boriqua (or Puerto Rican).

As a result, all promotional campaigns for the parade were pulled down.

National Puerto Rican Day Parade said the organization has worked with MillerCoors “to ensure that the activists’ concerns are heard and properly addressed. “

The statement, issued by Madelyn Lugo, president of the parade group, continued: “Simultaneously, the Board of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade has started to discuss and develop new guidelines for logo use and display by third parties, and/or re-creation which might result in resemblance to any official Puerto Rican symbol, such as the Puerto Rican flag.”