I'm not attending the main New York conference, which is the subject of the controversy, but my mother and I are attending the October food conference in San Francisco, as we co-author Fab Frugal Food. Information about sponsorship for that event has not, as far as I can find, been released yet, so I thought all the better to make my voice heard NOW (though as a member of BlogHer, I feel I'd have a right to my opinion regardless of conference attendance anyway). So, I sent this missive off to BlogHer today:
I'm writing regarding the BlogHer Food 2010 conference, which I'm very much looking forward to attending with my mom and co-blogger, for our joint food blog Fab Frugal Food. It came to my attention today that the main BlogHer conference in New York has Stouffer's - and thus Nestle - as a sponsor. Were I planning to attend this, I would be facing a huge ethical dilemma, as I have boycotted Nestle for years due to their outrageously unethical marketing practices and WHO Code violations. I realize that that it's impossible to please absolutely everyone, but Nestle is absolutely notorious for its flagrant irresponsibility, and is known for being a lightning rod in the blogging community, as we saw with last year's Nestle Family Event debacle (addressed by Annie of
Some blogging friends who are already registered for the conference still plan to attend despite their misgivings, for many reasons, including the fact that they're already committed to their own ethical, responsible sponsors. Some others may drop out. Whatever their reasons, I can understand their decision either way - but I'm frustrated that they have to wrestle with their principles over this matter in the first place.
I am disappointed in BlogHer for choosing such an unethical company to sponsor their main conference in the first place, when so many of their members specifically reject Nestle advertising themselves and participate in the general Nestle boycott, but I hope it's not too late to have an impact on upcoming conferences, including (and especially, for my own purposes) BlogHer Food. I do understand that it may be too late to drop them from the main conference, but if there is a possibility that they may sponsor BlogHer Food as well, I am asking you to please, please reconsider.
Fab Frugal Foodie
Updated to add Annie of PhD in Parenting's full response to this situation.