Advertisers Pull Out Over Backlash Against Sorority Sisters


The power of Twitter is strong. Especially when people band together to complain about a television show that’s not to their liking and deemed unacceptable. On Monday, VH1 premiered its newest reality-TV show, Sorority Sisters, and the reception didn’t go too well at all.

Sorority Sisters, in the same vein as Love & Hip Hop and Basketball Wives, is filled with everything people hate about reality television, but with the addition of black Greek organizations. Many feel that the show is portraying black Greek organizations in a negative light, and they took to social media to voice their disapproval.


Apparently that disapproval didn’t go unnoticed. Companies like Carmex, Hallmark, Honda and Crayola have all pulled their ads from the network that air during episodes of Sorority Sisters.

In a statement, VH1 said the premiere was successful and seen by 1.3 million people; it was also No. 1 in viewership among women between the ages of 18 and 49.

“There are currently no plans to change the series, and it seems to be connecting with its audience,” the network said through a spokeswoman.


“Due to the confidential nature of our agreements with our advertising partners, we never speak to specifics about clients and their media plans,” she added. “But we do enjoy successful, long-term partnerships with our advertisers and are happy to honor any requests to move spots to other parts of our schedule.”

Earlier this year, a petition was formed to urge VH1 to end production of the show, but it apparently didn’t work. Since so many people actually tuned in on Monday, a lot probably out of hate watching, I’m quite sure VH1 will go full steam ahead with the series.

What people fail to realize is that watching something you hate, just to make complaints and noise about it, will still boost the ratings of the program. The only way to effect change when it comes to shows you disagree with is to not watch them at all. And in the age of social media, tweeting about a show during its airing is pretty much the same as watching it. The show became a trending topic on Twitter, which is a measure many companies use nowadays.


But there are those who feel that black Greek organizations shouldn’t feel that they’re exempt from being cast in a negative light. Some want to know where the hoopla and petitions have been when shows like Basketball Wives and Love & Hip Hop also air season after season.

And that’s where respectabiliity politics come into play. Is it wrong for black Greek organizations not to want to be perceived in a negative light? There’s the saying that one bad apple ruins the bunch, and apparently VH1 found a couple of bad apples for the show. And I’m sure there are other bad apples in black Greek organizations, but at least they have the common sense to keep their mess off television.


People shouldn’t hate the fact that these organizations are trying to do something about their image. What they should hate is that other people aren’t trying hard enough to do something about the other shows on air as well. No one is stopping anyone from starting petitions—or contacting the sponsors of shows like Basketball Wives, Real Housewives or even Love & Hip Hop—on Twitter. And for the record, countless petitions have been created against these shows. People express their displeasure year, after year. 

But once again, will it even matter in the long run, as long as people watch a show just to complain about it?

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