by Stuart Hopson
A Google search for “Downtown Daiquiri” will produce a plethora of results, with the first link being a Facebook page titled, “Boycott Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory.” The page is only a month old, but as of Feb. 14 already had roughly 4,200 likes and 5,000 people talking about it. The response from the Spokane community leads to one establishment, the Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory.
The public outcry came from a rum and Kool-Aid-based drink called “Date Grape Koolaid.” The name has struck a nerve in the community and even has received national news coverage from media sources such as TIME magazine and Cosmopolitan.
When senior Gabrielle Perez first heard about the “Date Grape” drink, she was disturbed by the news, she said.
“I was saddened,” Perez said. “It was really embarrassing for Spokane. [The Daiquiri Factory is] making light of a very serious issue.”
As a downtown establishment, the Daiquiri Factory is representing Spokane in an unfortunate way, she said.
Since first learning about the drink name, Perez has become active in the community protests of the Daiquiri Factory. She participated in the first protest, where she wore a T-shirt she designed with a permanent marker that read, “There’s nothing ‘funny’ about rape.”
Since wearing her handmade shirt to the protest, Perez has begun selling similar screen-printed shirts. The profits from those shirts go to Fields of Diamonds House of Blessings, a local transitional home for women and children.
Perez is not the only Whitworth student getting involved in the protest efforts. Senior Hannah Wiltsey was also angered by the “Date Grape” drink name.
“I was incensed; it’s perpetuating a rape culture,” Wiltsey said.
Like Perez, Wiltsey has attended protests. She has also spent time contacting copyright holders such as Kraft — who owns Kool-Aid — and Victoria’s Secret about drinks names that violate their copyrights.
In contacting those companies, Wiltsey hoped to encourage them to support removing their trademarks from the Daiquiri Factory drink names.
Others have put forth similar efforts to convince the company to change the name of the drink.
More students and faculty at Whitworth are becoming involved in the protests because they are concerned about “combating rape culture in a tangible way,” Wiltsey said.
“Rape culture is an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture,” according to the Women’s Center at Marshall University.
Definitions of “rape culture” tend to highlight not only media, but also misogynistic culture and objectification of women’s bodies as part of what creates the culture.
Statistics show that 57 percent of rapes happen on dates, and 75 percent of the men and 55 percent of the women involved in acquaintance rapes were drinking or taking drugs just before the attack, according to www.oneinfourusa.org.
The Green Dot on Whitworth’s campus was initiated to limit those occurrences. The Whitworth website states, “The Green Dot movement is about gaining a critical mass of students, staff and faculty who are willing and equipped to do their small part to reduce power-based personal violence and make our world a safer place for everyone.”
“Date Rape is one of the primary concerns. It is the reason we have Green Dot,” said Nichole Bogarosh, women and gender studies lecturer.
Jamie Pendleton, the owner of Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory, changed the name to the “Date Grape” drink, placing a “banned” banner over the word “Date” and changing “Koolaid” to “#Q-laid” on the bar menu.
However, he refuses to fully change the name of the drink because he finds it humorous.
Pendleton also owns Pendleton Broadcasting and operates 104.5 FM Jamz radio station.
Pendleton posted on his Facebook page, “When you have a Grape amount of haters! Sometimes you have to swim through a river of shit and come out looking like a rose. #Watchme”
Pendleton also posted, “We Getting Graped Tonight!” Feb. 9.
Pendleton has repeatedly played on the word “grape” on his Facebook page in response to complaints and to advertise upcoming events. Many local businesses such as Findlay Mazda, Buffalo Wild Wings and Smoov Cutz have removed their support of The Spokane Daiquiri Factory and 104.5 Jamz because of Pendleton’s overt responses. His reactions to the public have caused uproar amongst the Whitworth community.
“I’m more angered by how they [Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory] responded,” Bogarosh said. “It’s the equivalent to shaming the victim.”
Pendleton has made personal, verbal and written attacks toward many of the protesters, including personal information about individual protesters.
“I fear I may become a target of harassment due to how visible I am with my support,” Perez said.
Supporters of the Spokane Downtown Daiquiri Factory have said that the drink name is provocative, not offensive.
“When [language] focuses on violence, it crosses over from free speech to hate speech,” Bogarosh said.
Contact Stuart Hopson at email@example.com