Monday, November 7, 2011

Susan G. Koman Response to Pinkwashing Letter and KFC Buckets

The following post is not intended to offend. I just personally believe that there is an awful lot of lying going on in America, both in the for-profit and the not-for-profit camps. I get really angry when companies con people and play on their weaknesses. And I get even angrier when I learn the money that not-for-profit companies make is not really used for the purposes in which it was intended. Especially when a company like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, that makes $400 million (2010) in earnings per year, spends a miserly 21% or $84 million on actual research. Doesn't it make you just a little bit curious as to where the other $316 million goes?

As a Real Food eater, I am very aware of what processed foods can do to our bodies and how the chemicals used to process them can actually cause us to get sick, sometimes terminally. So, when I saw that Susan G. Komen for the Cure had partnered with KFC, I was outraged. I signed my name to a letter from Breast Cancer Action that indicated my level of angst. I am writing this post so that I can not only share that letter, but the follow-up letter from "some unnamed person" at SGK and my response to that letter. If this is an area that is sensitive for you, you might want to stop reading now.

Original Letter to SGK and KFC
Dear KFC and Susan G. Komen for the Cure,
I am appalled by your “Buckets for the Cure” partnership. I share Breast Cancer Action's shock at this outrageous campaign, which uses the breast cancer epidemic to improve the American public's perception of KFC, and increase the company’s profits from the sale of pink buckets of chicken. There is no doubt in my mind that countless people affected by breast cancer find this campaign offensive and upsetting, as is evident from many blog posts and Facebook pages I have seen.

KFC (with Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s blessing) is engaged in one of the worst examples of pinkwashing. A pinkwasher is a company that purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink-ribboned product while at the same time manufacturing products that contribute to the disease. In this
case, KFC is encouraging people to buy pink buckets of chicken to demonstrate its alleged commitment to ending the breast cancer epidemic. However, KFC's food is unhealthy and much of it is marketed to low-income communities. KFC thus contributes to the significant problem of providing poor food choices
for low-income communities in the United States, who disproportionately suffer from poor breast cancer outcomes and other problems that may be exacerbated by an unhealthy diet.

Instead of partnering with a corporation that sells unhealthy food, I believe that Susan G. Komen for the Cure should work with companies that do not contribute to the breast cancer epidemic.

Response from SGK
Thank you for your email. The KFC partnership in 2010 helped Komen reach women in about 800 communities not currently served by a Komen Affiliate, with the pink buckets and links to a website with breast health information. It also helped us raise more than $4.2 million for cancer research and other
programs.  It has not been continued this year. I hope this is helpful to you.  Please feel free to email back if you need more information.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure

My response back to SGK
Dear Unnamed Person at Susan G. Komen for the Cure:
Thank you for your canned response. But, no, your response was NOT helpful! Encouraging people to eat disgusting fried chicken that 1) has been raised on factory farms and treated with hormones and chemicals that have been shown to contribute to breast cancer, and 2) contributes to obesity which is one of the factors which increases a persons chances of getting breast cancer - all in the name of curing Breast Cancer??? Ludicrous! Do you people even read your own website???

And let's address that $4.2 million that you so proudly admit to earning. How do you justify the fact that only 21% of those funds actually go towards research and finding a "cure"? And quite frankly, I don't think you really do want to find a cure because if you did there are any number of other ways that all those funds could be used rather than supporting Big Pharma and putting more money in their pockets with your support of chemotherapy (chemical poisoning) and radiation (burning).

An article in Oncology Today (2004) reported that the survival rate of women in the US who received chemotherapy was only 2.1%. Michael Boyer, head of Medical Oncology at the Sydney Cancer Centre, disagrees. He says that the survival rate is closer to 5%. And Guy Fague (The War on Cancer: An anatomy of failure, a blueprint for the future. Springer, 2005), concluded that chemotherapy for cancer is based on "flawed premises with an unattainable goal, cytotoxic chemotherapy in its present form will neither eradicate cancer not alleviate suffering." So, I ask, why is SGK focusing on treatment??? I truly think the pharmaceutical companies have the treatment piece covered. Why would an organization that is called, "Susan G. Komen for the Cure" not be funding and contributing 100% OF IT'S PROCEEDS to finding that cure? 

And here's another question for you, where does the other $3.3 million from selling buckets of chicken go???? Salaries, marketing, pinkwashing??? And while we are questioning where the money is spent, is it really necessary for the CEO of a non-profit organization to make $500,000+ a year? That's more than the president of the United States. Even Steve Jobs, past-CEO to one of the most profitable companies in the world, only made $1/year. Sounds like there are a few more things going on at SGK then a "cure" for breast cancer, but that's just me...     

While I am certainly glad to hear that someone at your organization has come to their senses and realized that buckets of greasy, MSG and soy oil soaked chicken is NOT the correct affiliation for breast cancer awareness and cure, I am still stunned that SGK allowed themselves to be aligned with KFC in the first place. And as long as the pinkwashing continues, I will continue working from my side to educate anyone and everyone about who and what SGK for the Cure is really all about.

Again, thank you for your time in providing a canned response. Please don't waste time responding back if you can provide nothing more than SGK rhetoric. I can read all about it on your website.

Please let me know what you SGK doing what they should be in seeking a cure for breast cancer?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you 100%. When I see anybody selling something pink for breast cancer awareness, I stay away. I personally don't believe big pharma is looking for a cure. Cancer is a cash cow for them.