Beer Company Would Rather Not Be Associated with an Alleged Cannibal Killer

Of all the photos Luka Magnotta posted to the web before he was arrested for allegedly killing and dismembering a Chinese student in Montreal, Labatt Beer really wishes the Montreal Gazette had chosen one that didn't prominently feature one of its bottles.

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Of all the photos Luka Magnotta posted to the web, Labatt Beer really wishes the Montreal Gazette had chosen one that didn't prominently feature one of its bottles. And the company's threatening to sue the paper to get the photo taken down. Magnotta, nabbed in Berlin and heading back to Canada (he says he won't fight extradition from Germany), is currently best known as the disgruntled fame-seeker who is alleged to have filmed himself killing, dismembering, and eating 32-year-old Jun Lin and then mailing the body parts to Canadian political parties in some kind of perverse quest for the limelight.

Canada's Globe and Mail got the story about Labatt, quoting company counsel Karyn Sullivan's letter to the Gazette: "As I am sure you can understand, this image is highly denigrating to our brand, and we are disturbed that this image remains on your site despite repeated requests and the many images available of this person." The letter "threatens to pursue 'legal avenues if required,' arguing that the photo could easily be replaced with another," the Globe and Mail reported. But the Gazette is not backing down because it says the photograph was publicly available on Magnotta's Facebook page. In its story from last week the photograph is credited to a "handout." And on Tuesday, the Gazette ran a thumbnail of the photo in its index of Magnotta coverage:

Marketing professor Alan Middleton made the obvious point to the Globe and Mail that Labatt was making too big a deal out of the photo for the company's own good, drawing attention to the association when it should be ignoring it. He's right, but such is the repulsion already associated with Magnotta's mug that Labatt apparently can't help itself.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.