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Alcohol ban will rob us of our livelihoods – Arnold to FDA

Entertainment pundit Arnold Asamoah Baidoo has criticized the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) for its recent decision to ban celebrities from advertising alcohol.

He argued that this move is detrimental to the entertainment industry, as many celebrities depend on endorsement deals with alcoholic beverage companies for income.

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Arnold expressed concerns that the FDA’s decision could affect the revenue streams of the industry by hindering beverage companies from sponsoring events and productions. He contended that the FDA’s efforts to promote decency are, in fact, having a negative impact on the entertainment sector.

“Most of these alcoholic beverage companies take on celebrities as brand ambassadors, and you and I know for a fact that one of the biggest revenue-generating points for these celebrities is endorsement deals.

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“If you cut such an avenue, you are killing the entertainment industry. Beverage companies can’t sponsor events and productions. The FDA thinks it’s creating sanity in society, but it’s destroying the entertainment industry,” he said.

Arnold Asamoah Baidoo highlighted that certain international brands, such as Heineken, effectively advertise their products without explicitly featuring celebrities consuming alcohol.

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He questioned why a similar approach couldn’t be adopted in Ghana, suggesting that a more nuanced and creative strategy could be employed to promote products without violating the FDA’s guidelines.

“If you look at the adverts by Heineken, they do the adverts without showing the celebrities actually drinking them. So why can’t we do the same?” he questioned.

Arnold Asamoah Baidoo commended the Gaming Commission and the National Lottery Authority for their approach of involving celebrities instead of opting for a ban. He underscored the positive role that celebrities could play in educating children about responsible drinking if utilized appropriately.

Expressing his frustration, Baidoo criticized regulatory bodies like the FDA, asserting that decisions are often made without transparent justifications or data. He endorsed the idea of a potential lawsuit, suggesting that allowing the court to decide could be the most suitable course of action.

“The likes of the Gaming Commission and the NLA are actually using these celebrities instead of banning them. Look at the progress they’ve made. This is because these celebrities have influence and following.

“If your mandate is to protect the children, why not use these celebs to educate the children in that light. But right now you’re killing the industry,” he said.

Mark Darlington Osae, the artist manager of Reggie ‘N’ Bollie and Skrewfaze, has initiated legal action against the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Attorney General Godfred Yeboah Dame over the ban on celebrities endorsing alcohol-related products.

The FDA had prohibited celebrities from endorsing alcoholic products, citing concerns about inappropriate influence on the youth.

Osae filed a writ of summons on November 11, 2022, asserting that the 2015 FDA recommendations are unjust to the creative arts sector.

“No well-known individual or professional may be utilised in advertising for alcoholic beverages; this is against the 1992 Constitution’s provisions 17(1) and 17 (2).

“Articles 17(1) and 17 (2) of the 1992 Constitution guarantee quality before the law and prohibit discrimination against persons on grounds of social or economic status, occupation, among others, and consequently null, void, and unenforceable,” the FDA guidelines read.

Before the initiation of this lawsuit, several celebrities, including Camidoh, Brother Sammy, Wendy Shay, Shatta Wale, and Kuami Eugene, voiced their opposition to the law and called for the repeal of the regulations.

However, the hearing, originally set for November 15 and anticipated to be overseen by a seven-member panel of judges, has been adjourned to January 17.

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