🌊 Tough Luck, Bud

Bud Light marketing exec goes on leave, Baby sumo bawling contest returns, and French Spiderman

Happy final week of April, Roca Nation. Okay, fine, and happy Pigs-in-a-Blanket Day to all who celebrate. Before getting into today’s news, we wanted to say thank you for all of the encouraging emails you send us every day. We do not take our community for granted. The fact that you all care about our mission as much as we do gives us all the fuel we need.

  • Bud Light marketing exec goes on leave

  • Baby sumo bawling contest returns

  • French Spiderman

 🔑 Key Stories

Bed, Bath, and Bankruptcy

 Bed, Bath, & Beyond filed for bankruptcy on Sunday

  • In 1971, 2 New Jersey businessmen launched Bed ‘n Bath, a linen store; the following decade, they rebranded it as “Bed, Bath, & Beyond.” The company went public in 1992 with 38 stores and ~$200M in sales; by 2000, it operated 1k stores and made ~$8B

  • But the company lost ground to online retailers like Amazon and discount stores like Walmart

  • In January, the company warned of “substantial doubt” about its future; on Sunday, it declared bankruptcy. Some stores will remain open while the company decides next steps; others will start closing on Wednesday

    Dig Deeper

  • While online retailers recorded record sales during lockdowns, Bed, Bath, & Beyond was forced to close its stores. Its sales shrunk 17% in 2020 and 15% in 2021. It now operates 360 main locations and 120 baby-oriented stores

Abortion Pill Lawsuit

The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruled that a common abortion pill must remain accessible for now

  • Mifepristone, an abortion pill, was approved by The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. In November, a pro-life group filed a lawsuit in federal court asking it to rescind mifepristone’s FDA approval

  • This month, a judge overturned the FDA’s approval of mifepristone; since then, the the Justice Department and a company that makes the pill submitted emergency requests to SCOTUS to prevent a ban on the drug

  • On Friday, SCOTUS ruled 7-2 that the drug will remain accessible for now, while a lower court decides its ruling

Dig Deeper

  • The 2 dissenting justices said that the Texas court’s ban should have been allowed to stand. The Biden administration praised SCOTUS’ decision and pledged to continue to fight any ban

Bud Light Controversy

Anheuser-Busch put 2 executives on leave over Bud Light’s recent Dylan Mulvaney ad campaign

  • Anheuser-Busch owns Bud Light, the US’ best-selling beer

  • Bud Light has long had a male-oriented marketing strategy. Last year, it appointed its first female head of marketing, Alissa Heinerscheid. She said she had a “clear job” to make the brand “truly inclusive.” She called Bud Light “fratty” and “out-of-touch”

  • In April, Bud Light sponsored an Instagram post by Dylan Mulvaney, a trans influencer. That led to calls for a Bud Light boycott. The company’s stock subsequently fell 5%

  • Heinerscheid & her boss are now on involuntary leave

South Park Controversy

A legal battle over South Park escalated, with Paramount countersuing Warner Bros. Discovery

  • In 2019, Viacom agreed to give HBO Max — owned by Warner — South Park rights until 2025. Viacom then merged into Paramount, which launched an HBO Max rival — Paramount+ — and created its own South Park content

  • In February, Warner sued Paramount, accusing it of violating the 2019 contract by making South Park movies and not giving it enough episodes

  • Paramount is now counter-suing

Dig Deeper

  • Warner Bros. Discovery has accused Paramount of using “verbal trickery” to “side step” its agreement and engaging “in an illicit scheme to unfairly and deceptively divert to its nascent streaming platform ‘South Park’ content belonging exclusively to Warner/HBO”

  • Paramount accuses Warner of trying to get out of a deal it regrets

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🍿 Popcorn


  • Deja vu all over again: The CEO of NBCUniversal is stepping down due to an “inappropriate relationship” he had with a “woman in the company." She was reportedly a CNBC anchor

  • Wahoo! Movie time! The Super Mario Bros. Movie has grossed $871M globally and is on pace to become 2023's first $1B movie

  • Any given Sundar: Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai received a total compensation package of $226M in 2022, mostly in the form of stock 


  • Phil calls Bulls-**t: 11-time NBA champion head coach Phil Jackson said he stopped watching the NBA in 2020 after it became too political

  • We’ll finish this lager: A professional soccer match in Germany was suspended after an angry fan doused a referee in beer at halftime 

  • Let’s play bawl! Japan’s crying baby sumo festival has returned after a 4-year break. It’s a competition where babies face off in a ring and the first to bawl wins

👇 What do you think?

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🌯 Roca Wrap

Last Wednesday, a 60-year-old French man climbed a 38-story skyscraper in Paris with no harness.

“I'm here to tell [French President] Emmanuel Macron to come back down to earth,” he told spectators.

Alain Robert – also known as the “French Spiderman” – was born in France in 1962. He excelled at climbing from a young age, and was known as one of France’s best climbers by age 19.

Robert climbed cliffs, walls, and other obstacles. When he was 19, though, he fell 50 feet when a rope failed. He shattered his wrists, heel, and nose and had to undergo 3 operations.

That same year – 1982 – he experienced what he later described as his worst fall ever when his rope failed while he repelled down a cliff face. 

He fractured both forearms, his elbow, his pelvis, and nose. After spending 5 days in a coma, the accident left him with long-term epilepsy and vertigo. He remains partially paralyzed by it today.

Following that accident, Robert says his climbing career was in ruins. To recover, he climbed a 10ft-high, ~2,600-foot long wall every day, with the goal of being able to travel its entire length without stopping. Each day he would mark his progress in chalk; after 2 years, he finally traversed the whole wall.

Robert returned to climbing, but in 1993 fell again, shattering both wrists and reentering a coma. After recovering, he decided to confront a new obstacle: Skyscrapers.

In 1995, Robert climbed the Empire State Building without a harness; the following year, he climbed the Golden Gate Bridge, for which he was arrested. That same year, he climbed the Eiffel Tower in a record-breaking 45 minutes.

In 1997, he climbed Malaysia’s 88-story Petronas I Tower, but was arrested on the 60th floor. In 1999, he climbed Chicago’s 110-story Sears Tower with nothing but climbing shoes and chalk.

In 2003, the United Arab Emirates paid Robert to climb the 656-ft National Bank of Abu Dhabi before an audience of 100,000. Later that year, he was paid to climb a London skyscraper to promote a Spider Man movie. In 2011, he climbed the 163-story Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in 6 hours.

Beyond sport, Robert has used his climbs to protest.

In 2003, he climbed a French tower wearing an anti-Iraq war shirt. 5 years later, he was arrested for climbing the New York Times building and unfurling a banner that read: “Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week.” In 2019, he climbed a skyscraper to raise money for renovations for the Notre Dame cathedral.

Last Wednesday, he climbed a 38-story Paris skyscraper to protest the French government's plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.

“I'm here to show my support for those who oppose the pension reform,” he said before beginning. “I'm here to tell Emmanuel Macron to come back down to earth...by climbing with no safety net.”

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Do you think you drink enough water each day?

Yes: 49%

No: 51%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Final Thoughts

Because you never know, we want to officially warn everyone against scaling skyscrapers like the French Spiderman. Before climbing the Empire State Building, try climbing that 10-foot wall for a mile and a half.

Hope you have great Mondays!

–Max and Max