Jan 05, 2011 at 04:06 PM
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Sponsor Takes Stage To Talk About $2.5 M Ballet Sponsorship, Gets Booed

John Gapper of the Financial Times has an interesting sponsor cautionary tale from a recent trip to see ABT's Nutcracker at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

"The excitement started even before the show when David H. Koch, the co-owner of Koch Industries, the largest privately-own industrial conglomerate in the US, came out on stage to talk about his $2.5m sponsorship of the production.

Most people applauded but there were also boos from near where I sat in the balcony, followed by an angry debate in the row in front of me, with one of the booers declaring “he’s an evil man” and a couple next to her telling her to “shut up” and to leave the theatre."

These types of announcements don't usually draw a reaction one way or another, so what was the dispute? Aside from Koch being Libertarian in a solidly Democrat environment, Gapper says that the crowd may have also taken issue with the fact that Koch Industries, which operates oil refineries among other things, "has been accused of being an industrial polluter."

Alas, Gapper says that "once Mr Koch had left the stage, the booing stopped and the ballet started."


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