The Pink Stink Gets Worse

pink_pistolIt’s long been known that the Susan G. Komen Foundation and its ubiquitous Pink Ribbon campaign is equal parts scam and snake oil marketing. There’s an entire book written on the subject. SGK’s actual donations to The Cure are questionable, and the fraction of the jacked-up price of various ribbon-branded doodads that actually ends up supporting the cause is negligible. There have also been numerous instances of products being licensed to carry the enticing little ribbon that have either been directly or indirectly cancer-causing, or entirely inappropriate (a pink ribbon handgun, anybody?). Every year, we’re assaulted with more pink crap in every isle of the supermarket — random junk, feverishly branded by greedy marketeers, eager to cash in on the guilt and charity felt by frazzled shoppers. Add to that all the runs and walks and skips and jumps “for The Cure” that all come with hefty price tags and donation requirements. 

The reason it’s all so damn Pink and all Komen all the time is because SGK are of the mind that they have a monopoly on the term “The Cure.” And so, much of the money that’s left over after they’ve paid their executives $500K+ each, they elect to spend chasing down other non-profits trying to raise money for breast cancer research and telling them in the shape of lawsuits that they can’t use the term “The Cure.” Really? So, is this about “The Cure” at all, or more about protecting SGK’s uber-branded but essentially vapid little cash cow of a pink ribbon?

In 2009, blogger Jane Hamsher highlighted Hadassah Lieberman’s numerous conflicts of interest working for SGK while at the same time lobbying for some of the biggest pharmaceuticals and being married to Joe — the complete schmuck who has built much of his career on making life miserable for women. Hamsher’s plea for SGK to be honest and let Hadassah go was ignored. 

And now SGK has decided to let a political agenda get in the way of providing much needed preventitive breast cancer screenings for low income women. SGK has announced (not publicly, mind you, just a pink slip to the people on the front line of “The Cure”) that it is ending its funding of breast cancer services offered by Planned Parenthood clinics. This move might have a lot to do with the fact that SGK last year appointed Karen Handel as Senior Vice President for Public Policy. She’s a failed Georgia politician who ran for Governor on a ticket of defunding Planned Parenthood, and she was one of Sarah Palin’s BFFs — not exactly someone you’d want to have involved in *anything* to do with women’s health. 

When October rolls around, and the whole world is once more awash in opportunistic pink crap and endless pleas to give for “The Cure,” it would be worth while remembering that you’d be paying dearly for the product it’s on, dearly for the ribbon, and dearly for the Foundation and for the Foundation’s exceptionally well-paid leadership — and worth remembering, too, that the people managing whatever is left of your donation have now declared that, actually, the provision of breast cancer screening to the women who most need it is not really a priority.

And hopefully you’ll then decide to give to a different cause, or find some other way to support “The Cure.”