Lobbying company tried to wipe out 'wife beater' beer references

References to 'wife beater' on Wikipedia's Stella Artois page were restored by other users

An international lobbying company tried to remove references to a client's brand of lager as the "wife beater" from the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Stella Artois used to market itself under the slogan "reassuringly expensive" but became popularly known in Britain as the "wife beater" beer because of its high alcohol content and perceived connection with aggression and binge drinking.

Now, inquiries by the Labour MP Tom Watson have revealed attempts by Portland Communications, which is run by Tony Blair's former adviser Tim Allan, to improve the brand's online reputation on behalf of its client, the brewer AB InBev.

Under the user name Portlander10 it removed reference to Stella Artois from the Wikipedia page entitled "Wife beater" and replaced it with a generic reference to lager or beer. Portland also tried to remove the reference to wife beater on the Wikipedia page for Stella Artois. But other users spotted the edit and reversed it.

The user Portlander10 also set up the Wikipedia page for Portland Communications and created links from the pages of Tim Allan and fellow Portland executive George Pascoe-Watson to the Portland Communications page.

According to Wikipedia records, the IP address 83.244.252.242 – which has been traced to Portland – was the source of a number of other Wikipedia edits.

These included the pages for the Kazakhstan bank BTA and its former head Mukhtar Ablyazov. BTA is a client of Portland's. Information was added with regard to BTA seeking legal action against Mr Ablyazov for corruption. Mr Ablyazov denies any claims of corruption. On Mr Ablyazov's page someone using the Portland IP address removed references to the impact Mr Ablyazov's request for asylum in the UK was having on UK-Kazakhstan relations.

A spokesman for Portland did not deny it had made the changes, saying they had been done in an open manner and within Wikipedia's rules.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Multi Trade Operative

£22000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An established, family owned de...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An exciting position has risen for a Customer ...

Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

Recruitment Genius: Fundraising Manager / Income Generation Coach

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A smart software company locate...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project