On Saturday morning, following seeing further unsavoury tweets, I asked the question:
As soon as I’d posted it I thought I’d asked a stupid question; why would anyone want people who discriminate against others at a event they are there to enjoy. But, as the responses and results came in I started thinking that maybe my expectations were off. There was a clear opinion that the event would provide education in the ongoing diversity at the forefront of craft beer. I totally get this point. Twitter and other social media platforms often creates a confrontational atmosphere where the points will never sink in with the keyboard warriors so to throw it out there at an event it is unavoidable; constantly sticking two fingers up at those with their negative views.
A handful of responses reverted back to the imagery and attitude (we have to remain aware that this is more than just pumpclips) on show from the breweries. By removing their encouragement of these views and allowing those attending to self-police, was felt to have a bigger impact than refusing their attendance. It would only create more hostility.
Many early comments questioned how it would be managed. A dickhead doesn’t look like a dickhead so you can’t stop them at the door. Tickets are ordered via emails and accounts, that in no way link a person to a specific comment or action they made so that would be futile.
As the results show it was a pretty tight poll finishing 53/47 in banning offenders and I believe many of those ‘Yes’ answers came from a personal preference rather than an ethical social standing and I feel this personal motive is what drove me to ask the question; perfectly summed up by one response questioning personal bias. Personally, I would not want that person; that said that thing; about that other person; which was totally out of order; stood anywhere near me whilst I’m trying to enjoy an event I’ve been looking forward to. Whether it’s straight out racist comments, a lewd sexist comment or any other discriminatory action I don’t think I personally want you there. Does that make me just as bad?
Socially it is more beneficial to educate and it was extremely clear that many believed that without restriction it created healthy discussion and debate which in turn further develops understand of the complex nature surrounding what deems each individual to garner their own opinion. This stance is difficult to argue and illustrates the ethical diversity within the craft beer bubble and its aim to continue fighting this battle in many interesting and creative ways.
I want to thank all those that contributed to this discussion whatever your stance. It definitely gave me something to think about.