Sony Goatgate: Talkability or notoriety?
"Sony threw a party with a dead goat. You may have heard. Anyways, as the source of the ALARM was the less-than-credible Daily Mail (or to be precise it's Sunday edition the Mail on Sunday), we figured it was best to get both sides of the story before beheading Sony's PR and feasting on their insides. SCEE just got back to us, and (in summary) had this to say:
# The party was held on March 1, and attended by around twenty European journalists (none from the UK).
# The actual article in the Official PlayStation mag was written by a guy who wasn't in attendance; the piece was done on the basis of the party's invite, "which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance".
# The goat in question had already been killed (ie it wasn't killed at the party), and had been sourced from a local butcher.
# The goat's "entrails" were actually bowls of traditional Greek meat soup. At no stage was anyone allowed to touch the goat, nor did anyone eat or drink anything from inside the goat. After the party, the carcass was returned to the butcher.
# SCEE say that they first saw the photo last Thursday and immediately ordered it to be pulled from the magazine, and on Friday Official PlayStation Mag agreed. The magazine never reached general circulation, but subscribers did receive the issue with the offending picture included.
# SCEE closed by saying: "We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM."
So the party was held nearly two months ago and twenty journalists were served traditional soup. That doesn't excuse Sony - a dead goat is still a bit off - and it definitely doesn't excuse OPSM, but it's hardly the orgy of decadence the Daily Mail and now other media outlets would have you believe, either.
If you're interested, the full SCEE statement is after the jump."
The event did take place, in Athens on 1st March. Approximately 20 journalists from European countries attended the event from a variety of gaming and lifestyle media - although none were from the UK.
The article in UK Official PlayStation Magazine (OPSM), from which the Mail on Sunday article was sourced, was written by a journalist who did not attend and done on the basis of the invitation for the event, which employed a degree of hyperbole in order to encourage attendance - the journalist chose to take it as fact!
The photograph was one of many supplied to the magazine to provide a balanced view of the event. Unfortunately, the article was sensationalised and focused on a picture that was unrepresentative of the wider event.
When we saw the article for the first time on Thursday of last week we contacted the Publisher of OPSM who accepted that the article was not appropriate for their broad audience. On Friday, before we had received any contact from the media, they agreed to remove the centre page article before the magazine goes on general sale.
The event was a theatrical dramatisation with a Greek mythological theme and, as part of the set dressing, a dead goat was sourced by the production company from a local butcher. Following the mainstream popularity of shows such as 'I'm a Celebrity, Get me out of here' a series of challenges were set for the journalists. The 'warm entrails' referred to in the invitation and in the Mail on Sunday article was actually a meat soup, made to a traditional Greek recipe and served to attendees in china bowls direct from the caterers. There was never any question of journalists being able to touch the goat, or indeed eat the soup direct from the body of the goat, as one report has alleged. The goat was returned to the butcher at the end of the event.
We recognise that the use of a dead goat was in poor taste and fell below the high standards of conduct we set ourselves. We are conducting an enquiry to establish the circumstances behind the event in order to ensure this does not happen again. We also apologise to anyone offended by the article in the OPSM (subscription copies were sent out ahead of street date).
Director of Corporate Communications
Sony Computer Entertainment Europe"
How a small launch party made international news and caused a blog storm. It's certainly been talked about...