“Date Grape Kool-Aid” and a White Hat Lawyer

[Photos: Facebook, KHQ]

[Photos: Facebook, KHQ]

This is not a joke. This is the name that a bar in Spokane, Washington has decided to give to one of their daiquiri drinks.

Daughter 1, who is nearly through law school, brought this to my attention and disclosed that she had decided to take this on. She said on Facebook, “Date Grape Kool-Aid is not a clever or funny name. It is offensive and condones sexual assault.” She received over 2,000 “likes” on that comment alone. But she wasn’t finished.

Her next move was to alert Kool-Aid (Kraft Foods) to the misuse of their brand through their Facebook page.

She posted the following:

“Others have mentioned it, but I thought I would add my voice to those of the other concerned people. I am sure you know now that your product name is being used in a drink called “Date Grape Kool-Aid” by a bar in Spokane, Washington, called the Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory. When this business was informed of the inappropriate nature of the drink’s name, they refused to change it, and have reacted gleefully to their press attention. They have mocked victims of sexual assault who bravely shared their stories to show how inappropriate and offensive it is. This drink makes light of sexual violence and the name of your product is included every time it is mentioned. The story about it has been picked up, both by local papers and national publications like Jezebel and Cosmopolitan. Please consider taking legal action regarding the use of your product name, and disassociate yourself from this product.”

Kool-Aid responded.

“We at Kool-Aid are as appalled as you. Kool-Aid does not support or condone this drink and finds its existence to be highly insensitive to a serious issue. The blatant misuse of the Kool-Aid trademark is offensive to so many, including us, and we are making it our top priority to address the situation ASAP.”

What happened next? The people of Spokane (including rape survivors) are protesting the drink name, the media has picked up the story, an Austin lawyer who is familiar with the work of the Texas Advocacy Project where my daughter volunteered on a Christmas break, offered his firm’s Spokane office’s pro bono services to help any way he could, and Kraft Foods is indeed pursuing this matter.

However, as recently as yesterday, the bar in question issued a statement that “they will not change the name of the drink, which they say is inspired by an entry on UrbanDictionary.com.”  Today, the local Spokane paper spoke out, in an editorial that decried the behavior of the bar, saying “So are the critics just a bunch of uptight, do-right Spokanites who don’t know how to have a good time? No, many of them are rape victims, or just understand the searing impact of that violent crime. There’s nothing funny about it.” The editorial noted that Kraft Foods has demanded that the bar cease invoking the company’s trademarked name.

How will this end? I really don’t know, but I do know that I am very proud of my daughter for wading in and defending victims of sexual assault.  It is clear to me that in the words of the late Executive Director of Texas Advocacy Project, Andrea Sloan…she behaved like a “White Hat Lawyer.”

Let the rodeo begin, and down with “Date Grape.”

Update- February 11, 2014:

Continuation of the story as advertisers and business associates of the nightclub begin distancing themselves from the self-destructive owner of both the Daiquiri Factory and a local radio station.

http://www.khq.com/story/24686991/local-businesses-pull-sponsorship-of-daiquiri-factory-1045-jamz-because-of-date-grape-kool-aid

Update – June 2014: The Daiquiri Factory owners are evicted.

http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2014/jun/24/daiquiri-factory-controversial-spokane-bar-gets/

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