Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Labatt's backs off threatened suit over alleged killer's beer photo

Labatt's backtracked Tuesday on a fight to get a photo of Luka Rocco Magnotta holding its beer off a newspaper's website, but not before becoming the butt of morbid social media jokes.

The brewer sent a letter to the Montreal Gazette on Monday, asking the paper to remove from its website a photo it found "highly denigrating" to its brand.
Karyn Sullivan, a lawyer for Labatt, wrote in the letter that the company was "disturbed" the Gazette had not removed the photo -- taken from Magnotta's Facebook page -- of the alleged killer holding a bottle of Labatt Blue, despite several prior requests from Labatt.
"We will continue to look into all options available to ensure removal of this image, including all legal avenues if required," Sullivan wrote.
"Nevertheless, we hope that a publication such as the Montreal Gazette would understand that this matter is of utmost importance to our company, and, given the number of other options available not containing a brand image, would remove the image of its own volition."
The Gazette said it would not take the photo down, as it is not in the habit of altering or censoring photos unless legally required to do so, for example in the case of a victim of sexual assault.
"Our editorial decisions are governed by what is newsworthy and what is in the public interest and it's not dictated by commercial considerations," Gazette lawyer Mark Bantey said.
Labatt backed off Tuesday, with the vice-president of corporate affairs saying the company won't be pursuing the issue.

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