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For the last year, Brewdog—a Scottish brewpub and restaurant—has sold their Pink IPA at a 20% discount for women in an attempt to highlight the gender pay gap.
Now, in a truly stunning case of missing the point, a man has successfully sued them for gender discrimination.
Correct headline: “Court Case Reveals World’s Pettiest Man”— Paul Anthony Jones (@paulanthjones) June 18, 2019
Unwilling to simply buy another beer or pay the extra pound charged to male clientele for the drink, Dr. Thomas Bower “felt forced to identify as female” in order to get the beer at the discounted price.
This was apparently humiliating for Bower and, unsatisfied with Brewdog’s explanation that this was national policy as part of a social awareness campaign, took them to small claims court.
Unfortunately for everyone, the judge found in his favor, awarding him more than $1,200 in damages and agreeing that fraudulently identifying as female in order to make use of a discount must have been humiliating and “an unpleasant experience for him.”
At least he got to experience what it’s like to be a woman pic.twitter.com/zI7lTBnGa6— Jody G (@fruitdance) June 18, 2019
While the judge may be correct in that gender-based discounts do technically violate the Equalities Act, men and women on Twitter came together to celebrate the pettiness of a man suing over a campaign designed to combat gender equality.
wow imagine being such a fucking asshole that you sue a company who is making a statement against a very real, illegal and sexist issue of the gender pay gap all over £1. Just pay for your fucking beer with the extra money you get paid and get over it https://t.co/rgfpJE9JmD— Mia (@_miacarter_) June 18, 2019
The man is a tool. Missed the point spectacularly and made it all about him.— Gordon T (@gasbaggrt) June 18, 2019
Let this be a warning to any companies wishing to raise awareness for an important social issue. Some utter cunt will ruin it.— Ian Hill (@irhill) June 18, 2019
Others pointed out the irony of his win given the usual victims of gender discrimination
London clubs list includes several men only clubs: will the whinger who sued @BrewDog over its promotion highlighting the pay gap be fighting to get me into any of them? I know a rights campaigner from a self-serving opportunist, which is how I see him https://t.co/edaR0FvVP5— Sue Kelly (@SueKelly10) June 18, 2019
Crikey. Imagine how fucked up the courts would be if every woman who had ever experienced gender discrimination (and for more than a sodding quid) decided to sue.— Scheenagh Harrington (@Scheenagh) June 18, 2019
And the memes were out in force
And there were some truly scathing assessments of the man.
'Dr. Bower, single, from Cardiff'— Trouble (@Droow) June 18, 2019
But when is it International Manbaby Day?— BadgEUr Meinhof (@Badger5000) June 18, 2019
“When is straight pride?”— Shaun (@OhShaun) June 18, 2019
It’s not all fun and games however, as the idea of men falsely identifying as female to get what they want is a stick used to beat the trans community. Cases of people actually doing that are incredibly rare, but by creating one, he’s fed into that narrative regardless of his intentions.
Just had someone sealioning in my mentions asking how the Brewdog guy was transphobic but I'm not going to respond directly.— Antifa Lockhart (@actuallyalice) June 18, 2019
If people can't see how trivialising trans identities just to get a pound off a beer is transphobic then nothing I can say will ever reach them.
cool that he successfully sued for discrimination despite being a transphobe— clubTropicana (@scunnerfisk) June 18, 2019
IT'S A BEER. IT IS LITERALLY A DRINK THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE. Hope this bloke is ashamed of his sexist/transphobic pettiness.— Grace Edwards (@GraceCREd) June 18, 2019
Bizarrely, he’s gone on to donate half of his winnings to the Young Women’s Trust, a charity that attempts to tackle the wage gap, and the other half to male suicide prevention. Hopefully, this means he’s learned a thing or two about the issue.
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Siobhan Ball is a historian, archivist, and journalist. She also writes for Autostraddle and bi.org