For the past while, there has been a story circulating on the online progressive news circuit pertaining to the Susan G Koman foundation partnering with oil and gas fracking company Baker Hughes for a donation of $100,000 back in October. The donation was part of a campaign called “Doing Our Bit For The Cure”, where 1000 of its drilling bits were painted pink in honer of breast cancer awareness month (October).
While this story made good headway in the realm of many progressive and alternative online news sources, it will have gotten a huge surge of publicity after being covered by Jon Stewert on a recent episode of “The Daily Show” (I have yet to see the segment).
All in all, this does not surprise me one bit. I have written about the concept of Pinkwashing in a past post , after being made aware of it on a good documentary called “Pink Ribbons INC” (available on Netflix).
This action by Susan G Koman is not the first time the charity has been busted for seemingly being hypocritical, but it is by for the most outrageous of them all.
However, this whole story brings to mind a past controversy (if you can call it that) involving the charity. Around a year or so ago, the organization was approached by the popular internet porn website “pornhub”, who offered to donate a portion of the revenue generated by videos in various “breast” video categories for the month of October 2012.
The story became somewhat of a controversy because the organization turned down the money and asked the company to stop using its name. The response did not directly state it, but between the lines, it seemed like the charity was seeing some sort of moral or ethical line being crossed in accepting those donations. After being turned down, the site still kept the money allocated, however asked for another breast cancer awareness charity to step forward to claim the donation. I have not looked much into it, but as far as I know, no one charity wanted the money.
When it comes to Susan B Koman, this partnership with the fracking firm is not its first “deal with the devil”. It has been outed by various organizations for partnering with various companies pedalling all sorts of consumer products that are later found contain various carcinogens (particularly cosmetics manufacturers).
So the question I would ask is, how can a breast cancer awareness charity seemingly reject a donation from a porn site on ethical and moral grounds, when they are more then willing to help the peddlers of many poisons THAT CAUSE BREAST (AND OTHER) CANCERS make a profit?
I understand that there is a large segment of the female population that will see a problem in accepting such a donation. As mainstream as its consumption is, the pornographic industry is still very taboo all over. Not to mention that 3ed wave feminism (and the women s rights movement in general) are sure to be opposed to this. Somewhat ironically as it is (no pornhub actors or actresses are forced to participate, as far as I know)
But all of that huge hurdle aside, what is a worse move?
1.) Accepting donations from a porn website that makes money from (seemingly) the exploitation of women
2.) Accepting money from a company that makes money from selling products that may cause (or worsen) the affects of the very illness your bringing awareness to
Though the pink bit campaign is ridiculous and should be exposed for the stupidity that it is, people should not stop there. In the culture of pinkwashing, that is but the TIP of the ugly pink iceberg.