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Is the event drawcard worth more than our values?

Today in The Guardian I have been reading about a case in Brazil where convicted killer Bruno Fernandes de Souza was released from jail after serving only 7 years of his 22 year conviction for the murder of his former partner and mother of his child, Eliza Samudio. The motive of his crime? Samudio was seeking child support. Samudio’s murder carried out with Bruno’s friends included torture, strangulation and the final degradation, feeding Eliza’s body to Bruno’s dogs.

By Alex Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brasil (Bruno) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Legalities over the delay in the Brazilian courts hearing Bruno's appeal had seem him released from jail and back into the arms of Boa Esporte Football Club and their fans. On his release he was immediately signed and after playing five games this season Bruno has this week been returned to jail to continue to service his sentence and await his appeal.

In 2015 the Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiano fight was one of the world’s biggest in terms of hype, views and money generated. Fans, sponsors and promoters ignored Mayweather’s history of abuse with millions being generated from sponsorship and broadcast rights.

In stark contrast to Boa Esporte, the Brazilian second division club who signed Bruno, another Brazilian club Cruzeiro chose to highlight the plight of women in Brazil on International Women’s Day. Players wore shirts with messages that corresponded to statistics, number 11 read “a rape every 11 minutes” number 30 highlighted that women on average had “salaries 30% lower”.

Australia also has it’s fair share of stars who have been accused, some convicted some not of violence against women, and remain in the game or on the stage. In a show of collective strength in 2016 the Australian Football League, Australian Rugby Union, Netball Australia and National Rugby League all joined forces with Our Watch, a national initiative to put an end to violence against women. All codes are under pressure to ensure their players are appropriate role models however fans themselves such as seen in the popularity for the Mayweather fight don’t seem to hold themselves to the same standard.

Of course violence against women is not confined to the sporting arena, the World Health Organisation estimating 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide experiencing physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Given many event promoters work behind the scenes, while the behaviour of the “talent” may possibly damage the event, it is unlikely that it would negatively affect the promoter’s brand or the future event attending behaviour of the customer. Luckily for event promoters the public appear to have a very short memory and do not hold promoters to account for the behaviour of those they promote.

The question is as event professionals how to weigh up the need for the “star of the show” and their ability to draw the crowds against our values and our ethical responsibility.