Iowa Oktoberfest pulls Busch Light after company cuts ties with Carson King
Meet Carson King, Iowa's viral 'legend' who's raised over $1 million for charity from a sign requesting beer money. The Des Moines Register
A northeast Iowa festival says it's decided to not serve Busch Light beer this weekend to demonstrate support for Carson King, the football fan who has helped raise close to $2 million for the University of Iowa's children's hospital in the past two weeks.
Chad Shipman of Waterloo's Oktoberfest said that organizers "wanted to support his cause more than we wanted to support a beer product” that says King's online posts as a teenager don't align with the company's values."
“We are the Iowa Oktoberfest," he said, "and we want to support Iowans."
King's celebrity began with a sign he held up requesting beer money during a televised pregame show before Iowa State played Iowa on Sept. 14. After his Venmo account ballooned and he announced plans to donate almost all the money, Busch Light said it would match the funds and provide King, 24, with beer branded with his face and the words "Iowa Legend" for a year.
This week, the company reversed course, saying that it would still donate to the children's hospital but would otherwise cut ties with King over “multiple social media posts that do not align with our values as a brand or as a company.”
A Des Moines Register reporter learned about King's past social media posts while writing a profile about him. But the information didn't become public until King himself called a news conference at 7 p.m. on Tuesday with local TV stations to discuss the posts from 2012 and his remorse about writing them during his high school days.
King told the Register on Wednesday that Busch Light representatives called him early Tuesday afternoon, about seven hours before the Register published its profile online.
A Busch Light spokesman would not tell the Register how it learned about the tweets. King said they didn't hear it from him, and the Register’s reporter did not approach Busch Light with King’s social media posts, the reporter and editors for the Register confirmed.
As for the Waterloo Oktoberfest, “we did some reading of our own besides what’s just being put out there and understand Carson King’s comments and what happened and realized he’s quoting a TV show on a channel that Anheuser-Busch spends a lot of money on," Shipman said, referring to "Tosh.0" on Comedy Central. King said Tuesday that he wrote the tweets after watching the show.
"They cut their ties with a local," Shipman said.
Shipman said members discussed the controversy and the move to pull Busch Light was the organization's best decision for their event and to support King's charitable efforts.
Iowa's Oktoberfest will kick off Friday in downtown Waterloo.
A spokeswoman with Des Moines' Oktoberfest, which is also this weekend, said the festival has not served Busch Light in recent years.