City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Roller Derby Queens Drum Up Outrage for a Good Cause?

36The Drew Barrymore movie "Whip It" didn't turn the nation roller-derby crazy. So maybe the DC Rollergirls could use a good scandal. Or a bad scandal. Any scandal will do!

Even one of the manufactured variety.

So, we'll bite. We've got digital column inches to spare. And it's for a good cause.

This Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. the Rollergirls will be on their skates at Don Beyer Subaru in Alexandria collecting eatables for the Capital Area Food Bank and pumping up their sport. A commercial promoting the cooperative event has run on local cable TV during recent "Monday Night Football" telecasts.

Thus, the scandal!

In the spot, the Rollergirls show up in costume and in character, and mingle with Beyer Subaru staffers in the showroom to pump up holiday spirit. Roller Derby queens, like most pro wrestlers, use made-up names when in action.

So among the spokeswomen to take turns saying what this time of year means to them are "Dyke Diggler" of the Scare Force One squad, and "Five-Ho," who rolls with the Cherry Blossom Bombshells.

Ms. Diggler gets the most screen time in the 60-second commercial, with her arm around a referee as she delivers her semi-line — " we think, feel and drive around every day." The much tattooed Five-Ho gets to say: "So we're asking all of you, fans and friends..." As they talk, the screens show a Chyron appears at the bottom of the screen with those names, giggly or outrageous as they are.

Team officials, who asked that their names not be used because, well, that's how they roll when trying to break a scandal, will tell anybody that's listening that the ads generated lots of complaints from viewers to Subaru's corporate offices.

And, goes this story line, most of the folks were upset about "Dyke," while "Ho" got a relative ho-hum. The "dyke" complaints, Rollergirls officials claim,  caused Subaru brass to request that Don Beyer Subaru remove the offending portions of the ad.

"But Don Beyer Subaru told us they'd leave the commercials as they are, no censorship," says a Rollergirls official. "I was very impressed with the way they handled this at Don Beyer. They said we can leave it."

Perhaps it wasn't too hard for Beyer Subaru to stand strong.

"We haven't heard a thing about this," says Heather Ward, manager of  corporate communications for Subaru America, when the Beyer Subaru commercials and alleged controversy was described to her. No word of whatever anger "Dyke" and "Ho" have fostered has yet to reach corporate headquarters.

But, Ward says, she's going to start making some calls today to see if anybody else in the Subaru family caught a whiff of outrage.

Stay tuned to Cheap Seats Daily for all the breaking news in DykeHoGate™. (If there's gonna be a scandal, it's gonna need a name.)

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  • Mike Licht

    Sorry. Flat track roller derby doesn't cut it. Bring back the banked track!

    Remember: Only the Jammers can score!

  • Petey Mo

    "If there's gonna be a scandal, it's gonna need a name."

    *That* should be trademarked.

  • DC Rollergirls

    The DC Rollergirls Executive Board would like to state unequivocally that we do not consider this a "scandal," nor was our league shopping around a scandal story, real or otherwise. We value our relationships with all of our sponsors, including Don Beyer Subaru, and want to ensure that their association with our sport is beneficial to their brand.

    We were told the same story about people calling to complain about the ad after its first airing. We realize not everyone shares the roller derby sense of humor, so our skaters agreed to have their names modified for future airings of the commercial, even though the sponsor did not require us to do so.

    Thanks for blogging about the business side of roller derby and we hope to see you trackside at one of our bouts sometime!