We will be periodically updating this page for use with quick links to answers and evidence; last update 1/2/2020.
Q: Who is Diageo?
A: Diageo is a global company that owns Bulleit and several other brands. LINK to more details and brands
Q: Who owns Bulleit (bourbon, rye, 10year, 12year, cask strength, etc)?
A: Diageo owns Bulleit. BUT in the past they have referred to the brand's former owner, Tom Bulleit, as a "partner". Diageo has also said that "the family and the brand are one and the same." When Diageo acquired the brand they executed multiple contracts with Tom Bulleit (covering further involvement and payment). It is unknown as to what their relationship is specifically, and if Tom Bulleit somehow has ownership over the brand in other ways contractually. LINK to more details
Q: Who is Tom Bulleit?
A: Tom Bulleit is a guy who sold his last name to a company as a name for a bourbon. You can see by his affidavit (click here) that by his own admission he was a part-time consultant for the brand, he has no proof of documentation of his ancestry or recipes, he is not a master distiller (even though he still claims to be one), and his "founder" duties are vague at best.
Q: Who is Hollis Bulleit?
A: Hollis Bulleit™ is the first and only employee of the Bulleit Distilling Company prior to its acquisition by Seagrams and then Diageo. She was the only other family member to be hired by Diageo to represent Bulleit Bourbon, with the title of World Ambassador of Bulleit Brands. Hollis completed the same duties as her father, in addition to others (event planning, viral marketing, V.I.P. experiences and products, boards, and charities). There has been push back by Diageo and Tom & Betsy Bulleit in the press as to whether or not Hollis qualifies as a "co-founder", even though she was a "co-creator" of the brand. She is the daughter from Tom Bulleit's first marriage. LINK to more details
Q: Who is Hollis B Worth?
A: Hollis B Worth is Hollis Bulleit.
Q: Who owns Hollis Bulleit™?
A: Hollis B Worth (born Hollis Bulleit) owns the trademark to her likeness, image, and story.
Q: Was Hollis Bulleit an employee of Diageo?
A: Hollis was technically a "vendor". This benefitted Diageo because as Hollis was not an employee she did not benefit from the same safeguards as other employees (like HR). While working for Diageo Hollis Bulleit was on call for 365 days a year any time of day. She worked well beyond 8 hour days without breaks or full coverage overtime. Diageo did not have to pay her overtime, health care, retirement, bonuses, or severance. Diageo treated Hollis Bulleit as a full time employee not as a vendor. While touring on behalf of the brand most people knew Hollis as an educational ambassador. Yet, Hollis performed many functions on behalf of the brand, some similar to Tom's and other duties in addition to Tom's duties as a "founder".
Q: Is Hollis Bulleit the co-founder of Bulleit brands?
A: Yes. Not in title, but her deeds and contributions. Hollis Bulleit was one of two Bulleit family members hired by Diageo and she was on the brand working in many facets of the rye when the Bulleit Rye was launched in 2011. This portfolio expansion took the brand to over 1 millions cases of which Hollis Bulleit benefit from financially.
Q: How did Hollis Bulleit come up with her worth as 2%?
A: Hollis Bulleit believes that her contributions and history with the Bulleit brand is more than 2%. Financially to date, Hollis Bulleit has only received 2% of the Bulleit family royalities through misc. gifts, a downpayment on a home, and a spend thrift trust. Hollis Bulleit received conflicting communication with the actual trust documents. The trust allotment is for less than 1/3 of her former salary and does not allow for a lifetime of C-PTSD healthcare, or living expenses in the event that Tom Bulleit and Diageo continue to disparage her making her unemployable. The trust is housed at Tom Bulleit's second wife's, Betsy Brooks Bulleit, place work Hilliard and Lyons; which is a conflict of interest. The amount of the trust can be substituted with property, and the Bulleit family has enough local pull in Lexington Kentucky to inflate the value of that property. The trust is also invested in companies that are not aligned with Hollis Bulleit's values (nor was she consulted), like Home Depot.
Q: When did Hollis' last contract with Diageo end?
A: In December of 2016, Hollis was instructed by the Diageo legal department that she was not allowed to represent the brand in any way, shape, or form. However, since that time and without Hollis' permission Diageo has continued to use her promote the Bulleit brand positively while also disparaging her depending on the audience. Hollis' team believes that they have a claim for right to publicity against Diageo for misuse and appropriation of her name and brand.
Q: Other people who create products receive royalties whether or not they are working for a company, why has Hollis Bulleit been excluded from this right?
A: Tom Bulleit took credit for the creation of the Bulleit brand, and lied about Hollis Bulleit's contributions. Diageo promised Hollis Bulleit a future contract with a provision for royalties, and instead they gave larger royalties directly to Tom Bulleit to share "with the family." To date, beginning in 2016, Tom Bulleit has shared less than 2% of the "family royalities" with Hollis. Both Tom and Diageo continue to profit from increasing sales of Bulleit which are not still not shared with Hollis.
Q: I thought that Hollis Bulleit resolved her issues with Diageo, what happened?
A: Hollis Bulleit was bullied into signing a resolution agreement with Diageo in January 2018. As part of that "agreement" both parties were not to disparage one another. Prior to signing that agreement and after Diageo continued to utilize their vast global network of employees, consultants, and third parties to disparage Hollis. Beginning in 2019 after acquiring new counsel, Hollis rolled back her former statements said under duress. LINK to more details
Q: Are Tom Bulleit and Diageo the same entity?
A: For legal purposes yes, Diageo backs Tom Bulleit financially, legally, and in press. In the event of court proceedings this multi-billionaire company and multi-millionaire man intend to pool their resources against Hollis. SLAPP cases were threatened in 2017 by Diageo, along with libel and slander suits threatened by Tom Bulleit who refused to sign a mutual non-disparagement with Hollis. LINK to more details
Q: Does Diageo have a right to use Hollis' image and likeness, or to use her name to sell whiskey?
A: NO. Diageo turned down the opportunity to license Hollis' likeness and story, effectively erasing her from the history of the brand.
Q: Diageo says that they offered Hollis a multi-year contract, so why didn't she take it?
A: Hollis was given a contract with more work and less pay, and it involved tasks that no one could physically complete. LINK to more information
Q: Did Diageo fire Tom Bulleit?
A: No they did not. Tom still represents the brand in person throughout Kentucky, in the press, and in the legacy story of the brand. He still receives a salary and a royalty.
Q: Did Hollis ask for help?
A: Yes, Hollis asked for help from her company and her family for the abuse that she suffered while at work and on the job beginning as early as 2010. LINK to more details
Q: How can I help Hollis?
A: SIGN THE PETITION on change.org. You can share her story in person and in your social media. If you have personal experience with Hollis, we find that sharing from that point of view is really helpful. MEMES to share are available on this website at the #repost link. Beginning in 2017, if you have heard or read disparaging comments about Hollis or if you have seen Hollis used to sell Bulleit products please contact her via the contact page on this website. Include your experience and any evidence that you might have like screen shots and witness names. Diageo employees include: Diageo in house, Sales & Distributor, Stitzel Weller Distillery and Visitor Center employees, Bulleit Distillery and Visitor Center employees, Proof Media Mix employees, Enthuse/ Inspira employees, World Class employees and consultants, USBG members affiliated with Diageo.
Q: Did Diageo know about the alleged homophobia?
A: Yes. An in-house meeting was held in NYC in 2015 about the matter. LINK to post
Q: Hollis alleges that Tom Bulleit is homophobic. What are those allegations based on? Does she have any proof?
A: The Bulleit family began limiting their interactions with Hollis upon coming out of the closet. Hollis Bulleit believes that her erasure from the history of the brand is continued proof of her family's alienation of her sexual orientation. LINK to post
Q: Hollis alleges that Diageo is homophobic. What are those allegations based on? Does she have any proof?
A: Hollis believes that Diageo's systematic erasure of her brand while working for Diageo and after is homophobic. She thinks that Diageo's continued support of Tom Bulleit after her allegations and proof of being cut out of the family business is also homophobic in nature. Hollis bases her opinion on several experiences of personal exclusion of herself and her wife from family and Diageo run events. LINK to post
Q: Why does the HRC continue to partner with Diageo?
Hollis is aware that the HRC has a relationship with Diageo (product/ financial/ support/ etc) that spans over several of Diageo's liquor brands and benefit Pride events throughout the country. The HRC therefore benefits from their partnership with Diageo and does not want to put that at risk, even for the rights of one of their own or to protect the rights of whom they have built their organization on to protect. In HRC's recent comments to Hollis' attorney's appeal for help "We will not touch that situation."
Q: Did Diageo know about the sexual abuse?
A: Hollis is aware that Diageo knew prior, but they unequivocally knew late June 2019. They did not act until Hollis posted about her experience as a survivor in August 2019.
Q: What are Hollis' sexual abuse allegations against her father, Tom Bulleit?
A: From a young age she was touched and fondled inappropriately, posed for photos naked against her will, explicit sexual language was used when communicating with her, and she was shown age-inappropriate sexual media in several forms. LINK to post
Q: Diageo told the press that Hollis' abuse is unprovable. Tom Bulleit said that he has documents proving his innocence. Tom cites documentation from a custody suit when Hollis was around 13 years old. Does Hollis have any proof that she was abused?
A: Yes, Hollis believes that she does, as she has physical scarring that occurred years after the custody suit. She also has third party witnesses to the domestic abuse that occurred. In the documents provided to Diageo and the press the domestic abuse was seen as inconclusive by the court. LINK to post
Q: Did Diageo and Tom Bulleit violate HIPPA by releasing the documents of a minor to the press?
A: Yes. Diageo and Tom Bulleit continue to use a "blame and shame" strategy that bends and breaks the law in the press. LINK to post
Q: Is Diageo paying the press?
A: Yes. The latest article in a local Lexington Kentucky magazine has adds in all of the latest issues for Bulleit and the distillery. They pay for advertorials and we are aware that Diageo PR guides the text of the articles on Diageo products and issues.
Q: Is Tom Bulleit an Alcoholic?
A: Yes. Hollis has been led to believe by Tom Bulleit that has not had a drink since 1993. LINK to post
Q: Could Tom Bulleit or Diageo have resolved this privately and timely without causing Hollis Bulleit more pain and suffering?
A: Yes. Tom Bulleit had over two years to sign a mutual non-disparagement contract prior to 2019. Hollis' attorney also reached out to Tom Bulleit in April of 2019 to resolve their issues in a private and safe setting. Instead, Tom Bulleit refused and involved Diageo. Diageo had several months to deal with Hollis Bulleit with the respect that should be given to abuse survivors, prior to Hollis Bulleit going public. LINK to post and evidence
Q: Where can I hear Hollis talk about her experiences and these issues?
A: There is a podcast series called "Tea Time with Hollis and Cher" available on the Spirit of Rock network: LINK
Q: What is the symbol that I frequently see on Hollis' memes?
A: The Stitchbaby. Hollis created this symbol based on how she feels about being a survivor of sexual abuse. LINK to post
Q: What is C-PTSD?
A: C-PTSD is short for "Complex Post Traumatic Syndrome". It is not the same as PTSD as some symptoms are similar yet C-PTSD includes additional symptoms. "Complex PTSD comes in response to chronic traumatization over the course of months or, more often, years. This can include emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuses, domestic violence, living in a war zone, being held captive, human trafficking and other organized rings of abuse, and more" (from the website beautyafterbruises.org). C-PTSD symptoms include being easily overwhelmed by emotions, difficulty in self-perception, interruptions in consciousness through intrusive thoughts/ flashbacks/ disassociation, misperceptions of their worth / mobility/ or support in life. Several physical symptoms occur because their bodies break down in response to prolonged stress. C-PTSD is not a subset or related to Bi-Polar/ Manic Depressive. There is no such thing as C-PTSD "highs and lows"; however C-PTSD suffers can be "triggered." A trigger is related to an event, person, or thing while manic depressive "highs and lows" are related to body chemistry. After it was actively covered-up and without support from her family or her company when she was bitten, bruised, and bullied working a Bulleit event, Hollis' cost of therapy for her C-PTSD in 2014 was over $10K. For more information click here
Q: I am a survivor and I need help. Do you have any resources that you recommend?
A: Hollis has utilized many forms of therapy throughout her life from individual to group therapy, to journaling, to creating artwork, to watching media on the subject, to reading several books. Some resources that have helped Hollis are below, healing is different for every individual therefore things that might bring Hollis comfort or clarity might be triggering to others (disclaimer Hollis is not a licensed therapist).
This list will grow, but for now here are some materials with LINKS underlined:
- The Journey: A Roadmap for Self-healing After Narcissistic Abuse by Meredith Miller
- Speaking Out from Within: Speaking Publicly About Sexual Assault (free/ online) a pamphlet published by PCAR (Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape)
- The Great Work: Self-Knowledge and Healing through the Wheel of the Year by Tiffany Lazic
- Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences by Sarah Schulman
- Untouchable (HULU)
Fiction/ TV/ Movies
- The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (also movies)
- Westworld (HBO)
- Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (also series on HBO)
- World War Z (movie)