Gloria Jean’s bragging backfires

From the Boycott Gloria Jean's Facebook page

When Peter Irvine bought Gloria Jean’s coffees he wanted to make it the ‘most loved and respected coffee company in the world’. The Hillsong elder and former Mercy Ministries head couldn’t have failed harder if he’d tried. His firm proudly has proudly funded or otherwise supported the Australian Christian Lobby, Family First, Hillsong church, Mercy Ministries, Jesus Racing, Hope 103.2 Christian radio and a plethora of other homophobic or fundamentalist Christian causes. Many of these are simply not respectable these days.

When the firm was roundly excoriated for a $30k donation to the rabidly gay-obsessed ACL, the company put its very best Social Media Expert Gurus on the case. On its Facebook page, Gloria Jean’s Coffees apologised for our offense rather than their evil homophobia. They claimed the $30k they gave to the Australian Christian Lobby was simply a fee for advertising, not a donation. They were lying: the Australian Electoral Commission lists it as a donation. Their notpology was co-signed by quite a number of senior GJ’s executives: but notably absent was Peter Irvine. Was he unrepentant? It looked like it.

Further more, Gloria Jean’s ignored any mention of a further donation, one of $10k to anti-gay party Family First. They lied about their affiliation with Hillsong. They claimed no religious affiliation at all, when the opposite was embarrassingly evident.

The Internet was not impressed, and the outraged comments still continue to flood on to every post, faster than they can censor them. Hillsong’s social media strategy could hardly get worse.

But it did. Gloria Jean’s thought now was a great time to start bragging about the donations they make. Leaving out the obvious hate groups, their arrogant boasting used charities such as Variety, Miracle Babies and the Bone Health Foundation to try and fix the PR mess created by Australia’s most hated coffee company.

And (even better!) they did it on Twitter. With a hashtag. A medium thoroughly beyond their control. Apparently their SMEG was off sick when #qantasluxury happened. The #WithHeartLocal hashtag they chose for their public masturbation has been thoroughly claimed for the forces of good.

And it’s fucking glorious.

Gloria Jean’s have to fire their PR firm. They need someone with a real understanding of the 21st century, its rejection of immoral bigotry and its fresh frontiers of digital communication.

I’m happy to volunteer my services. In fact, I will even give them a free sample of my wisdom. Here’s what they must do:

Admit that they donated to the ACL and Family First. Apologise sincerely and humbly for those donations, rather than everyone else’s reaction. Donate at least $50k to Australian Marriage Equality.

They will never, ever be the most loved coffee company in the world. But right now, they seem to be running blindfolded in the opposite direction.

No religious affiliation, Gloria Jean’s?

Not affiliated

Not affiliated

That’s the Jesus Racing ute. Thanks to Shaz who reminded me about it in the comments on my last post.

Not much more to add, is there? From the Australian Christian Lobby, to Family First, to Hillsong to bloody Jesus Racing, wherever there’s Big Jesus, there’s seemingly Gloria Jean’s nearby with a cheque-book.

The denials are wearing thin.

Did Gloria Jean’s donate to Family First, too?


No thanks!

Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive!
-Sir Walter Scott

I wrote earlier about Gloria Jean’s awful attempt to quell the anger at their $30k donation to the vile Australian Christian Lobby. In their statement, they tried to distance themselves from the idea that their contributions were for the purpose of furthering the ACL’s aims:

As a company we hold no position on marriage law, and in line with our values support people’s freedom to choose who they love. We are not homophobic and are proud that our team members come from all walks of life and sexual orientations, and we respect everyone’s opinion and the right to freedom of choice – political, religious, marriage or otherwise.

Again we would like to apologise for any hurt or offence which may have been caused by the paid advertising we undertook for the 2010 prime ministerial debate event, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

The paid advertising was undertaken on a commercial basis only, and it appears that there is now a perception that we endorse the views and values of the ACL. This is not the case. Gloria Jean’s Coffees does not support the independent views and values of the ACL.

So it was just a good advertising deal, right? Definitely not a political donation to further the homophobic aims of the christian right, despite what the Australian Electoral Commission might think. What do they know about coffee, anyway?

Well now here’s the weird thing. The other day, when Gloria Jeans were claimingit is important to reiterate that we are not religiously affiliated‘, I remembered (as did Chrys Stevenson), that Gloria Jean’s holding company is called JIREH International Pty Ltd. If that doesn’t ring any bells, check out Genesis 22. Jehovah-jireh is the site where Abraham was all down for killing his son because the voice in his head told him to. And Gloria Jean’s owners thought that was a fitting thing to commemorate by selling coffee. If that doesn’t strike you as mad-as-a-box-of-frogs religious, then their American subsidiary is much less subtle: Praise International.

I chuckled at the obvious untruth, and filed it away in the back of my mind.

And then today, it struck me as interesting that the ACL donation was listed by the AEC as coming from ‘Gloria Jean’s Coffees International’, not their parent company Jireh. I had a hunch, just as I had when I checked the Google cache for Hillsong Conference sponsors.

Had JIREH International Pty Ltd made any political donations, I wondered?

Boom! In 2004, Gloria Jean’s holding company donated to the NSW Liberals and an entity called Families Australia. Pulling up the return [PDF] for Families Australia, we see that it received $105,000 in three donations, promptly donating that same sum on to…

Family First.

And whose name do we find next to one of those donations? $10,000 came from:


Jireh donates to Families Australia

Jireh donates to Families Australia

So unless I’m mistaken, in 2005 Gloria Jean’s donated $10k to the Family First party, via GJ’s parent company and a thin wrapper around the political party.

Which is a pretty big sum to give to an anti-SSM party while claiming to have no opinion on the issue, eh?

Gloria Jean’s is not affiliated with Hillsong

I apologise for the hurt and offence this picture may cause

I apologise for the hurt and offence this picture may cause

Gloria Jeans has responded to community disgust at its funding of the Australian Christian Lobby hate group. At close of business on Friday night, GJ’s quietly tried to bury the bad news.

Again we would like to apologise for any hurt or offence which may have been caused by the paid advertising we undertook for the 2010 prime ministerial debate event, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

A classic notpology: Gloria Jean’s is sorry everyone’s pissed off at them. They haven’t, you’ll notice, apologised for handing over $30,000 to an anti-gay lobby group. They also claimed the $30k donation was not a donation, though the Australian Electoral Commission clearly seems to think it was a donation, and I don’t know who to trust because Gloria Jean’s wouldn’t lie, would they?

The best bit, though, was this:

We are not affiliated with Hillsong, however we do support a wide range of charities and churches in the communities in which our coffees houses operate including Hillsong.

So Gloria Jean’s support Hillsong, but they are not affiliated with them.

Remember the way Gloria Jean’s suddenly disappeared from the list of ‘major partners’ for the Hillsong Conference? Well they’re back now.

Majorly unaffiliated

Majorly unaffiliated

Gloria Jean’s is a major partner of Hillsong, but they are not affiliated with them.

As it happens, I’ve been to Hillsong. When I went to their Hills campus, first-time visitors were given a voucher for their first free coffee. But only the first coffee on the first visit. Coffee doesn’t grow on trees, you know!

It was all a far cry from the Church of England, which fucked up my childhood but at least gave me free tea.

Oh, now where do you suppose you buy this coffee at Hillsong? Why, from Starbucks of course!

Only kidding. It’s Gloria Jean’s. I bet you knew that. Here’s a picture of the Gloria Jean’s-branded coffee cart at Hillsong itself.

Not affiliated. Not affiliated. Not affiliated.

Not affiliated. Not affiliated. Not affiliated.

(Image credit)

Gloria Jean’s has a coffee cart actually at the Hillsong church, but they are not affiliated with them.

Look closely, and you can see the Gloria Jean’s logo there on the coffee cup, just chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool and all not affiliated with the young lady at the till there. The one in the ‘Hillsong team’ t-shirt.

Not affiliated in detail

Not affiliated in detail

There’s a lot more that could be said, about how Gloria Jean’s bosses are not affiliated with the church they’re elders of, or about the tangled web of relationships (but not affiliations) surrounding gay-exorcists Mercy Ministries, their financial backer (but not affiliate) Gloria Jean’s, and the Hillsong empire.

But I think I’ve already shown in what sense Gloria Jean’s mean they are ‘not affiliated’ with Hillsong.

In the sense that Ted Haggard is completely heterosexual.

Gloria Jean’s and Hillsong suffer bizarre coincidental website glitch!

UPDATE 15th June 2012 Gloria Jeans are once again ‘major partners’ according to Hillsong. At the same time GJ’s are claiming they are ‘not affiliated’ with Hillsong. I’m not sure what they think ‘affiliated’ means.

Hillsong Conference is a massive fundie meeting run annually by the controversial Hillsong cult. This year, it’s at the Allphones Arena and it costs a mere $279 to attend. A church service at such a bargain basement price clearly needs very generous sponsors to help it scrape by.

Here is what Hillsong’s generous list of sponsors looked like on 9th June (according to the snapshot in Google’s cache from that date):


And here’s what it looks like now, on 13th June:


Seems like some kind of glitch has scrubbed all mention of Gloria Jean’s Coffees from poor Hillsong’s website! Good job I was able to preserve it. After all, Gloria Jeans’s generous contribution to the rabidly anti-gay group might have gone unnoticed!

I’m sure it’s a pure coincidence that this dreadful glitch happened very soon after GJ’s was embarrassingly revealed to be funding another notorious gay-hate group.

Odd, that.

Two Images

The Global Atheist Convention was awesome.

I don’t plan to say much about the program, because my friends Martin Pribble, Godless Business and Chrys Stevenson, as well as many others to whom they link, have done a splendid job. You should particularly read Chrys’s blog, because she called me young.

And much of what I would have said could be expressed as well in just two images.


This picture, of Gregory Storer and Michael Barnett kissing in front of the Muslim protesters was taken by Pete Darwin.

The first ‘Global’ Atheist Convention dealt with the obvious questions: who are we, and why would would we congregate? What do we believe, if not superstitious god-gibberish?

This convention dealt with one question above all others: what to we want to do? Secularism, youth activism, fixing the treatment of women and children, meditation, accepting death and the universe from nothing. Oh, and much, much more. This convention was not about the existence of gods.

It was about life. The good life, in spite of religion. In fact, AtheistCon may as well have been about kissing, regardless of religious butthurt.

When history reflects on my generation, I hope this kiss is not forgotten.

Meanwhile, in the same city, largely ignored by those not involved, stood a crumbling facade. Propped up brutishly and casting an unpleasant shadow, there was plainly nothing behind it but dreams of a renewal. Should the renewal come, it would not remotely resemble the facade’s former home. The best to ever be hoped for: a veneer of what once was. Right now: a mess.

I took a photo of it:


You thought I meant Reason for Faith, right?

AVN survey reveals vast majority are idiots

The Australian Vaccination Network has launched a survey to canvas readers’ opinions on their dreadful newsletter. The newsletter itself is normally just a cash-grab (‘we need your help more than ever before’), and adverts for overpriced Scientology DVDs.

The survey is here. If you get the Nutters’ Newsletter, you might like to fill it out. Stupidly, Meryl has also published a link to the current results.

And I think this question really sums up the AVN’s supporters:

Eight days a week

Eight days a week

That’s right folks! 43% of AVN Newsletter readers would like to receive it on a day of the week that does not exist.

Argumentum ad Comic Sans

It needs cataloguing as a logical fallacy:

You can’t trust it; it’s written in Comic Sans MS.

Of course, inductive reasoning would allow us to at least concede that the stereotype is a great time-saver in most cases.

Story book expressions


Judy Wilyman’s research skills

An amusing quickie. It was quickly noticed in the wake of AVN v HCCC the amazing difference between the reactions of Stop the AVN and the supporters of the Australian Vaccination Network.

On the whole, Stop the AVN pored over the judgment, and consulted the lawyers within its ranks. We worked hard to understand precisely what had happened and what the upshot might be.

On the whole, the AVN said HURR I IS WINNAR.

Here’s a great example by Judy Wilyman, who calls herself a ‘PhD Researcher’ (she means student). The University of Wollongong’s dimmest bulb had this to say:


The AVN is not a healthcare provider as the HCCC finally accepted after a 2 year court case. This is a surprising event because the AVN has clearly represented itself as a consumer group requesting choice in vaccination for almost 20 years. As such, consumers present a range of ethical, political, cultural and scientific reasons (and opinions) why it is necessary to have choice in vaccination and this has been posted on the AVN website.

Perhaps you could inform me why a government body (HCCC) feels it has to suppress the input of consumers by upholding a complaint made by a lobby group against it for 2 years. It is my understanding that the purpose of the HCCC was to investigate consumers concerns about health issues. As someone who has presented valid scientific arguments to the AVN I am intrigued at your assertions that none of the science on the AVN website is valid.

Could you please explain why the HCCC is acting against its remit in this instance? Are you suggesting that consumers have no right to an input into policy decisions (involving a medical procedure) that directly affects the health and well being of the population? Is this topic (that involves injecting substances into the human body) a taboo topic for debate in public forums? It would seem from recent experiences that this is the case. I hope you can explain for me why the HCCC took this action when the AVN is clearly not a healthcare provider.

Clearly Judy did not even bother to read the judgment in AVN v HCCC:

[10] Vaccination is a matter about health. The provision of information about vaccination is a health education service. It is common ground, and I accept, that the plaintiff is a “health service provider” within the meaning of s 4 of the Act since it provides “health education services”.

[30] It submitted that it is sufficient for the purposes of s 7(2) that complaints were made against the plaintiff, which admits that it is a health service provider. [...]

Judy, Judy, Judy. Of the many fails Meryl achieved with her supreme court challenge, one of the most wonderful is that it is now cast in legal stone: The AVN is a health service provider. Even the AVN accepted it.

With skills like this, it will be very interesting to see what becomes of Judy’s career as a ‘PhD researcher’.

AVN v HCCC: a new public warning

The public warning issued against the Australian Vaccination Network by the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission was a fantastic little corner of the web. In one page, on official notepaper it said:

  • The AVN provides information that is solely anti-vaccination
  • Its site contains information that is incorrect and misleading
  • They quote selectively from research to suggest that vaccination may be dangerous
  • The information provided by the AVN should not be read as medical advice
  • The decision about whether or not to vaccinate should be made in consultation with a health care provider

Above all, the warning itself was a smackdown:

The Commission recognises that it is important for there to be debate on the issue of vaccination. However, the AVN provides information that is inaccurate and misleading.

The AVN’s failure to include a notice on its website of the nature recommended by the Commission may result in members of the public making improperly informed decisions about whether or not to vaccinate, and therefore poses a risk to public health and safety.

Because the page was so awesome, many bloggers and journalists linked to it when writing about the AVN. These links in turn signalled to search engines that the page was an important one for AVN-related searches. The upshot? Searching for the AVN, or ‘Australian Vaccination Network’ and a number of other related terms brought the Public Warning right up next to the AVN’s page.

A new warning

Of course, AVN v HCCC has meant the removal of that page. The Supreme Court of NSW held that the HCCC didn’t technically have the jurisdiction to issue the warning about the AVN based on the specific complaints. However, the content of the warning was fine: there was no suggestion that the findings of the HCCC were anything but accurate.

So Stop The AVN has issued its own public warning about the Australian Vaccination Network. The page neatly sums up the content of the  former Warning and the circumstances surrounding its genesis, removal and influence.

Bloggers, we need your help!

If you have links in your posts pointing to the old Public Warning: we would love it if you would point them to the new address.

Old URL:–AVN-/default.aspx

New URL:

If you write about the Australian Vaccination Network please include a link to the URL above. It helps us most if you include the words ‘Australian Vaccination Network’ in the text you link.

If you have a blogroll or list of links on your site, please add a link to the warning page!