Ethiopian beers, with Bedele beer in the centre. Photo via Flickr user stefangeens [Creative Commons]
Members of Ethiopia's largest ethnic group are celebrating online after the Heineken beer company announced that its Ethiopian franchise would cancel sponsorship of pop star Teddy Afro.
The Bedele beer company dropped its support for Teddy Afro's upcoming national tour on Thursday, though it did not give a reason. Ethiopian Oromos have been campaigning to boycott the beer over controversial statements allegedly made by the entertainer.
Oromos were outraged after he allegedly praised Emperor Menelik II, a 19th-century ruler who some see as a unifier and who placed territories belonging to Oromo and other groups under centralised rule. The magazine quoted Teddy Afro as saying, "For me, Menelik's unification campaign was a holy war". The artist's most recent album also has a song dedicated to the emperor, among other popular historical leaders.
Teddy Afro says the quote was falsely attributed to him, writing on Facebook, "Under circumstances unbeknownst to me and due to the error of the magazine, my photo was printed along side a different quote which is not in line with my belief or journey.... The magazine has issued a correction and apologized to us for its error." Some expressed doubt that the comment was an error.