15 June 2011

Local News Post-Mortem on the Hooters Cancellation

Media closure has been achieved on the cancelled Hooters "Dine and Donate" event for St. Patrick Center. Yesterday, on a tip from Life is a Prayer, I posted about the extreme inappropriateness of St. Patrick Center partnering with that particular restaurant. There was a mini-brouhaha, and the event was cancelled.

Fox 2 in St. Louis did a story on the cancellation, and some of the predictions I made came about. The link to the video is here, but I must warn you ahead of time that part of the footage consists of a fairly pathetic scene where some young woman is working a hula hoop while wearing the typical hooters outfit. Maybe I'm jaded, but I don't think that the (rueful) chuckle I emitted was the reaction they go for with this bit. It was just sad.

Apparently, some local goody two-shoes have ruined what would have been a multi-million dollar fundraising event that would have ensured a better life for the less fortunate. In the video, the story ends with a teaser about getting to the bottom of just how much money was lost to St. Patrick Center.

Anyway here is the story, and I couldn't resist a few comments:

Catholic Charities Says 'No' to Hooters Girls

A benefit for the homeless at the Downtown St. Louis Hooters restaurant drew fire and was ultimately shot down, Tuesday.

The St. Patrick's Center's "Dine or Donate" event was set for Thursday night.

St. Patrick's Center cancelled the event after receiving what a spokeswoman said were a "few dozen" complaints.

St. Patrick's Center is a Catholic charity that helps provide food, clothing, shelter, and job training for close to 9,000 people in need in the St. Louis area every year.

The event's opponents felt the Hooters image of scantily clad waitresses serving food, was hardly in keeping with the Catholic faith. Waitresses in ultra tight tank tops and short shorts rode a scooter and twirled a hula hoop outside the restaurant to lure customers Tuesday night.
There is more to the story: for years in St. Louis, "Hooters Girls" have been serving the homeless around them; volunteering at St. Patrick's Center, serving lunches there in the proper attire; donating time and food to the St. Patrick's Center's mega-fundraiser, the annual Sports Trivia Championship.

But the line was drawn at holding an event for St. Patrick's Center at the restaurant, with the waitresses clad in their skimpy uniforms.

"I don't think they should have cancelled it," said customer, Cheryl Waltrip, a non-Catholic visiting St. Louis. "I think that any opportunity to raise money especially in our times with people being homeless and jobless. I think they should take every opportunity they get to raise money."
(Drink! This matches the required media template I wrote about yesterday: "Of course, all that matters is that money is raised for the charity, right? If this story...gets picked up by the mainstream press in this town, look for commenters ... to say exactly that.")

She said her husband, who is Catholic, would not object.
(Just let that one sink in. Wait. Wait... OK. Oh baby.)

"He loves Hooters," she laughed.
(I mean, why would he object, he LOOOOOOOOVES HOOOTERS!!!!! And why wouldn't he? He's Catholic!)

"I think that was wrong [to cancel the event]," said Steve Brown, a homeless man. "They're looking at the religious part of it instead of the beneficiary part of it. You and I would benefit from that. Me, being homeless, I go there [St. Patrick's Center] all the time trying to find a job, clothing, and everything else."

"Let it happen," said another homeless man.

But the homeless who might benefit aren't calling the shots here.

An e-mail "blast" alerting people to the fundraiser, prompted dozens of complaints on-line and over the phone.

One blog, posting a concern about "encouraging the lusts of men ... To get a few bucks for charity". (Huh? Which blog is that? Sounds pretty pretentious. Who writes like that?)

St. Patrick's center cancelled the event. A volunteer for the homeless in St. Louis concedes, "hooters" heart may be in the right place - but --

"But when you hear the name hooters what's the first thing you think about ? Little shorts white top. It just doesn't fit the bill. But i think it was really great that they wanted to do something like that. That really speaks highly of them."

A statement from st. Patrick's center says in part -- "we reached out to local restaurants
That have helped st. Patrick center in the past to participate in a series of 'dine and donate' events. 16 restaurants agreed to participate."

Hooters was just one of the restaurants.

The key word there : "was" -- not anymore.

And be assured that the comments at the print story online follow the usual template.


Patrick Kinsale said...

So the Hooters girls serve the homeless in "proper attire." Does that mean the reporter considers their other attire improper?

Anonymous said...

Obviously, you are very heartless and without compassion. Some old guys living on the streets not getting out to work want the event to occur? Of course. This event would have fed so many of their needs.

A one night event would NOT have yielded some untold amounts of money, for goodness sake. Good on you Timman, though you are heartless of course...;^D

Dad29 said...

FWIW, a quick story with a tiny connection to this.

Was in St Louis to interview someone, took a cab from airport to hotel, didn't have a rental car.

After the interview, I'm looking for dinner. Hotel doesn't have a dining room; ask the clerk 'where's the nearest restaurant?' which turns out to be Hooters, a 2-block walk.


Go there, ignore the surroundings (hungry AND married), munch salad and half a burger, get violently ill.

Salad bar was poison, folks.

I've only been food-poisoned twice in my life; that was the first one.

Anonymous said...

This brouhaha has created some bad press for Holy Mother Church, not terrible press, but bad press, something to be avoided IN THE FIRST PLACE. I want to know - and I'm flamin' mad about this - who in the hell is the dummy, the idiot, the moron at Saint Patrick's who allowed this to go beyond first base in the first place? We now have an "incident" that is newsworthy. We now probably even have Hooters waitresses who, as the story gets told, were sometimes volunteering on their own time for Saint Patrick's and who've probably felt gratuitously insulted over this whole episode. And for what? Because some dummy wasn't quick enough to realize that the words "Catholic" and "Hooters" don't fit into the same sentence!!! God, I want to hear that a head rolled over this one. (And thetimman, I know you'll probably whitewash this down a bit FOR MY OWN GOOD; go ahead if you must; I'll probably end up appreciating it. Just let my anger still shine through, OK buddy?)

Anonymous said...

Well done, thetimman!

thetimman said...

"Angry" anonymous,

I get your point. But I don't mind getting flamed in a combox for standing up for the right thing here. I know you know this, and that you would feel the same way. But further to my point, I think it is "good" press when the Archbishop so quickly and clearly sets the record straight to a charity that needs to live out its mission. And I think people need to see that even if no one else cares, the Catholic Church is willing to take an unpopular position for the truth, and for moral behavior.

So, yes, it is an opportunity for some to vent their spleen. Not great. But recall the price of real love every time you look at that crucifix. And He told us, "The time will come when everyone who kills you thinks he does a service to God."

He told us so as to warn us. And here it comes. If there is such hatred over not going to a Hooters for the homeless event, think about the repercussions when the Church really makes it uncomfortable for them.