Something cringe-worthy happened this weekend, but I’m not precisely sure what it was.
I do know that Dean Folkvord, owner of Wheat Montana, felt so badly about it that he posted a public apology on his company’s Facebook page.
What I have managed to ascertain so far is that Folkvord and Larry Aasheim put together a video in the same vein as last year’s boost hit “Blue Bobcat Cup.”
It was apparently produced by Mark Zetler of Heroshots Productions in Bozeman and was a song parody like the earlier video, this time riffing on the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” under the title “C.A.T.S.”
It also apparently included a line about “no means no,” a blatant reference to the rapes that garnered loads of attention recently at the University of Montana, which earned UM the nickname (at least among some) of “Rape U.”
All this said, I have not seen the video. It was “disappeared” from the Internet sometime on either Sept. 15 or Sept. 16. The original YouTube upload was removed, as was a second copy of it posted by a member of eGriz.
This is apparently the original description of the video from YouTube:
Larry Aasheim and Dean Folkvord of F&A Productions and producer Markus Zetler/Heroshots Productions, the team that brought you last year’s hit “Blue Bobcat Cup”, are back with “C.A.T.S”! A musical tribute to Montana State University and the fighting Bobcats and a parody of the beloved song “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People.
However, the video began meeting with criticism soon after it was posted, both on YouTube and on Bobcat Nation and eGriz. Commenters felt that the “no means no” line made light of rape and sexual assault.
At 4:48 p.m. on Sept. 15, a user posting under the name Heroshots on Bobcat Nation (who joined the forum on that very day) posted this:
The “CATS” video has been removed from You Tube. There were numerous negative posts mostly centered around the “no means no” comment. I did not write the lyrics but as producer I am sensitive to the public’s perception. For the sake of good public relations my clients decided to pull it.
It’s worth noting that link to the video at all exists in the Bobcat Nation thread titled “C.A.T.S. Music Video,” and the thread is locked.
The next day at 3:51 p.m., the newly created user account fallfootballfan on eGriz posted this message.
Sorry guys…I produced the video and I was asked by the client to remove all sources of the video to minimize public relations damage. HookedonGriz is correct in that it is a little out of hand. Most took the video with a grain of salt. Some, however, were beyond livid to the point of being rabid. It should be noted that this was a private venture and not sanctioned what-so-ever- by MSU of Bobcat Athletics.
A lot of people in Missoula know and respect Larry and Dean, they are good-hearted fans and are extremely generous to BOTH schools. There is not malicious intent in either of these guys. In Bozeman the “no-means-no” reference has been lite, tail-gate fodder. We sometimes forget that for some it is deeply personal. Dean and Larry recognize this immediately, pulled the video and have sincerely apologized to their friends in Missoula.
I have produced hundreds of commercials and music videos over the years and I am truly amazed at the reactions to this video. It is love/hate with no grey area. Overall reviews are 85% positive and 15% negative. Obviously the no-mean-no reference was inappropriate (I did not write it), but half the negative responses center around the structure. Is it the association to the Village People, who were/are obviously gay, that offends some? The video is a parody and is supposed to be corny and fun, it is so bad that it is good.
All I can say is lighten-up people! Relax a little. The video is dead and the world will turn. Dean and Larry’s school spirit and support of both the Bozeman/Missoula communities is un-waivering. Hit or miss at least they try, they do. How much did you raise for your school this year?
…see you at Cat/Griz.
Another YouTube user apparently copied the video at some point but later took it down after being threatened with some vague copyright claims.
User HookedonGriz posted this on Sept. 16 at 12:25 p.m.:
Sorry folks….long story short….I received a somewhat verbal threat from one of the producers or people behind the video demanding that I take it down unless I want to be liable for copyright infringement damages. They made it public in the first place so I’m not sure if I’d be liable for anything, but I don’t really want to find out.
Also the reaction from both sides got a little out-of-hand in my humble opinion, so I took it down. I just truly thought it was a funny video and one that deserved a little fun. I had no idea it would be such a big deal. I thought both Bobcat and Griz fans alike would get a good chuckle out of it…..guess even that is too much to ask for in our rivalry. Sad.
Last evening, Folkvord’s apology appeared on Facebook:
I am issuing this official apology to all Wheat Montana customers, and friends, who have posted comments about the CATS video.
My friend and I did do a despicable thing, with the line “No-means-No”. Accordingly, I’ve embarrassed myself, our company, our public institutions, and my fellow Montanan’s.
I am making this personal apology to you, because it was wrong, and you have made your feelings known.
I am sorry to have caused this condition and am equally sorry to others that I have touched with this cruel statement.
Today I was in personal contact with administrators at UM, and have issued a formal, written, apology to them.
You can be sure that I have learned a lesson.
In Montana we enjoy a rich Cat/Griz rivalry that challenges our two major universities to become better. While attempting to be funny, I clearly crossed the line and pray that you will forgive this one episode of bad judgement and poor taste.
Dean Folkvord, CEO
direct line (406) 582–4561
All other references to the video have been removed from the Wheat Montana page on Facebook, meaning that either the controversy has died down or that the company has someone closely monitoring its page and removing said content.
All parties involved and many members commenting on the two team forums have repeated that this video was produced without involvement from MSU or Bobcat athletics. The boosters are taking the blame.
In a posting on eGriz, the site’s administrator urged UM fans to move on and not delve into dirty pranking of their own:
I’ve spoken with Athletic Department officials regarding the video released over the weekend by Bobcat boosters. Griz fans are encouraged to take the high road and move forward. We are Montana!
If anyone out there has a copy of the video or more information they’d like to provide, please let me know.