Showing posts with label Boycott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boycott. Show all posts

October 4, 2013

Toronto Gay Bar Dumps Stoli in Protest and Why The Boycott is Rightfull



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 Toronto gay bar dumps Stolichnaya vodka in protest of country's anti-gay laws
Russia’s anti-gay laws have prompted widespread calls for various boycotts this week. Now, the manager of Toronto gay bar Wayla has pulled Russian products from its shelves.
It's the latest in a growing chorus of bar and restaurant owners announcing that their establishments will no longer sell Russian products in protest of the country’s new anti-gay law and increasingly hostile anti-gay climate -- just as the world begins to turn its attention to the next Olympic games, which will be hosted in Sochi, Russia, in six months.
Brian Duvale says boycotting Stolichnaya vodka, a brand with corporate and production ties to both Latvia and Russia, sends a very strong message. Wayla uses about two to three bottles a week. He says Wayla also sells a Russian brandy that will not be re-stocked.
“The pictures from Russia are terrifying. So, it was a no brainer for us,” he says. “I posted the announcement on Facebook because I want to know which bars will be selling Russian vodka. I would like to see other bars do the same.
“I won’t be buying anymore Russian products from now on. This is an issue that hits very close to home for me. This is the least we can do.”
Duvale would like to see those profiting from Stoli speak out strongly against the Russian government's anti-gay laws and escalating violence against LGBT people. “I know it’s not Stoli that is imposing these laws, but this is the one thing we can do right now.”
In the latest shocking incident, there are reports of a Russian neo-Nazi group luring gay teens online in a disturbing campaign to catch them to torture them. A 20-minute video circulating the web shows one gay youth being interrogated, assualted and urinated on, then the video hauntingly cuts out. 
Some Twitter users have taken up the hashtags #DumpStoli and #DumpRussianVodka. Meanwhile, the CEO of the SPI Group, which owns the brand, posted a letter on the company’s website. “Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community,” Val Mendeleev wrote. Mendeleev then lists several partnerships with LGBT events, such as Miami Gay Pride Week.
Despite this, the boycott seems to be catching on. Chicago’s Sidetrack, one of the city’s most popular gay bars, is now one of several in that city no longer serving Russian vodka. The Fountainhead, a Vancouver bar, joined the boycott on July 23. Owners of several gay bars in West Hollywood announced July 26 they are removing Stoli and other Russian brands from their shelves, the LA Times reports. In the UK, London’s KU bar and G-A-Y nightclub are also reportedly ditching Russian vodka.
Duvale is also considering a boycott of the major Olympic sponsors, beginning with Coca-Cola, one the main sponsors of the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games.
“That’s certainly the next step,” he says. “First I want hear from all the sponsors, like Samsung and Proctor and Gamble and others. If they don’t speak out, [boycott] is definitely the next step.”
But one prominent Russian gay activist and lawyer, Nikolai Alekseev, head of the Moscow Pride organizing committee, is telling international activists that there’s “no point” in boycotting Russian vodka, Gay Star News reports. 
“And what is the aim of this boycott? The producers, even if they become bankrupt because of the boycott (which is unlikely) will not be able to influence Russian politics and President Putin as well as the decisions of the State Duma,” he states.
Alekseev said if people want to support Russian gays they should target homophobic lawmakers. He also calls on people to write to world leaders. "Pressure your governments to put the authors of those laws on the black lists for the entrance visas . . . This is the only thing which can effectively work.”
But long-time gay rights activist Cleve Jones says boycotts should not be dismissed. Jones, best known as the creator of the AIDS Memorial Quilt, is calling for a complete boycott and divestment of all Russian products. He also wants global participation in an international day of protest against Russia at sunset on August 3.
Activist and columnist Dan Savage has also called for a worldwide boycott of Russian vodka. 
Jones says he knows from firsthand experience that boycotts work. He tells Xtra says queer people and their allies should do everything possible to make noise on this issue: boycott, march, protest at Russian consulates and press leaders to speak out. “And we should use the Games as a way to increase the pressure.”
Jones worked with Harvey Milk on his successful boycott of Coors in San Francisco gay bars in 1974. In 2008 he launched a boycott of the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, whose owner was giving substantial amounts of money toward the campaign to get Proposition 8 on the ballot. 
“Within months we pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars in business out of that one hotel, and by the time the boycott concluded, about two years later, we’d pulled about $7 million in convention business out of that hotel,” he says. “We didn’t even calculate how much business we pulled from individual travellers, and there were many gay and lesbian customers . . . Boycotts can be very useful and cost your opponent significant money and keep the story out there.”
A combination of protests, boycotts and divestments ultimately made a huge difference in ending South Africa's apartheid regime, says Jones.
“People are spending a lot of time right now arguing what works and what doesn’t work, but the reality is that it all works. All actions are effective if they are done well,” he says. “The bottom line is we should not be sending any money to Russia. Don’t buy Russian products and don’t travel to Russia. 
“And we need to raise hell around the winter games and do everything to shine a global spotlight on this horrendous evil that is unfolding in that country right now."
However, some activists have taken to social media to argue that boycotting Stoli in particular is misguided because the vodka is no longer manufactured in Russia. But Jones says that’s not entirely true. “Here in the US we have manufacturing plants that make Toyotas and Hondas . . . but no one would argue that Honda and Toyota are not Japanese car companies,” he says. “So, this discussion about whether Stoli is Russian is just ridiculous. Of course it’s Russian and I’m not going to buy it anymore.”
Stolichnaya was produced by the state during the Soviet years and was reportedly the favourite vodka of Boris Yeltsin.  The Luxembourg-based SPI Group now produces Stoli in Latvia using Russian ingredients despite an attempt by Russia to regain the brand about 10 years ago.
Jones says while the vodka boycott is only days old, news of it is already making its way to the Russian people. The international boycott was a top story in some Moscow media on July 26. “That means that ordinary Russian people, gay and straight alike, are reading news of international condemnation of their anti-LGBT laws. It's a start,” Jones says.
When it comes to boycotting the Olympic sponsors - such as Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Samsumg, Panasonic and VISA - Jones urges people to contact the companies and press for a statement.

“They entered into these contracts long before this issue blew up,” he says. “But I know Coca-Cola does huge business in Russia. I am calling on people to contact the corporate sponsors and ask for their statements first.”
Russia’s new anti-gay propaganda law was passed unanimously by both chambers of Russian government and was signed into law by Vladimir Putin June 30.

As to those that say what the company now avows, that they are not Russian Anymore. They have spent so much money in showing the world the connection between them and Russia just like it says on the label.  Now that is going bad for Well known Russian brands, they have changed their tune. “Wait a minute! We are from every where except  Russia.  Yes we know the bottle says Russian Vodka, but who believes what company writes on bottles?”

The bottom of the bottle is that they made their money saying they were Russian related, now that Putin show how ignorant he is and the world is not liking what he is doing with the gays.  Today the gays tomorrow someone else just like it went with the third reich. They made the money thanks to the connection with Russia, wether political or otherwise Now pay the piper, because that is life and there is nothing free in this world. If they meant what they say they will remove Russia from the bottle and join the rest of the world publicly telling how idiotic this law is But like most companies they will see if they can have their cake and eat it too. They will try to wait this out and then they will be proud of being Russian heritage again.
Adam Gonzalez
BY 
dailyxtra.com

September 28, 2013

Barilla is in Deep Dark Ugly Sauce with the Gay Community



Packs of Barilla pasta are seen in the kitchen of a restaurant in Rome September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Tony Gentile

NEW YORK 
 U.S. and international gay rights supporters called on Friday for a boycott of Italian pasta maker Barilla, whose chairman said he would never feature a gay family in its advertising.
tomatopasta1

The comments sparked a firestorm of protest on social media and resulted in online petitions in English, German and Italian, including one by Italian playwright and Nobel Prize winner Dario Fo.
A MoveOn.org petition started by Beth Allen, a Takoma Park, Maryland, mother of two and a lesbian, garnered 85,000 signatures by Friday evening.
"Guido Barilla made it clear how he felt about families like mine by saying that he'd never show gay families in advertisements for Barilla," Allen said in her petition.
"He said that gays could eat another pasta if they didn't like his message. I'm taking him up on that and so should you," she said.
Chairman Guido Barilla, 55, sparked the controversy with comments on Wednesday to an Italian radio station.
"I would never do (a commercial) with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect but because we don't agree with them. Ours is a classic family where the woman plays a fundamental role," he said.
Barilla also said he was unconcerned with whether gay consumers would stop buying pasta from the privately held company that is the world's biggest pasta maker.
If gays "like our pasta and our advertising, they'll eat our pasta. If they don't like it, then they will not eat it and they will eat another brand," he said.
The U.S.-based Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, rallied behind the petition of an Italian-American mother in Connecticut who has a gay son. (Petition: r.reuters.com/qaz43v)
Consumers can express their opinions with their shopping dollars and forgo products from Barilla, one of the world's best-known makers of pasta and ready-made sauce, the group urged.
Nobel laureate Fo urged Barilla to make up for the remarks by creating an advertisement that featured a same-sex couple or parents.
The Washington, D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equal rights group, posted a list on its website of five Barilla competitors that are gay and lesbian-friendly. (Barilla alternatives: r.reuters.com/saz43v)
"Now, more than ever, consumers are sending a message that they are watching to see if the business they patronize understand and honor issues important to them," it said.
Shoppers in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, an area popular with the gay community, said Barilla's comments could weigh into their decision to buy the brand.
"Making a comment is one thing," said Melissa Beyer, 40. "To me, the thing that takes it one step further is whether or not a company gives money to support some policy I don't agree with."
Christopher Houlihan, 26, a concert organist, said he saw the comments as a questionable business move.
"He can have an opinion, but he should keep it to himself," Houlihan said. "It's not just gay people that aren't going to buy it. It's friends and family members."
Barilla issued apologies on Thursday and on Friday, the company chairman posted a video in English on Facebook saying he respected everyone, "including gays and their families." (Barilla video: r.reuters.com/raz43v)
"I have heard the countless reactions to my words in the world which have depressed and saddened me. It is clear that I have a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family," he said.
Guido Barilla runs the 140-year-old pasta company with brothers Luca and Paolo. The company employs 8,000 people and its 30 production sites manufacture 1.7 million tons of products each year.
Last year, fast food chain Chick-fil-A angered gay rights groups after President Dan Cathy made remarks opposing same-sex marriage.
Thousands of people pledged to boycott its 1,700 stores, while Cathy supporters staged a Chick-fil-A "Appreciation Day.”
NEW YORk
REUTERS
(Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

September 27, 2013

Calls to Boycott “Barilla" After Chairman Makes Anti Gay Comments


People are calling for a boycott of Barilla, the world’s biggest pasta maker, after the company said they would never feature gay people in their advertisements.
Company chairman Guido Barilla provoked outrage when he said that his idea of the ‘traditional families’ where the woman played a central part was ‘sacred’.
If gay people didn’t like it they could eat another brand of pasta, he said.


Mr Barilla told Italian radio Radio 24: ‘Our concept is not that of a gay family.

Worldwide fury: Mr Barilla provoked further anger when he added that if gay people did not approve of his views 'they could eat another brand of pasta'
Worldwide fury: Mr Barilla provoked further anger when he added that if gay people did not approve of his views 'they could eat another brand of pasta'
'For us, the concept of the nuclear family is a fundamental value of the company.'
When the interviewer pointed out that gay people also eat pasta he said: ‘Okay, if they like our pasta and our branding let them eat it, otherwise they can choose another pasta.
‘You can’t always please everyone. ‘
Mr Barilla also remarked that he was against gay adoption although he did support gay marriage.
The comments followed the launch of an initiative by Parliament Speaker, Laura Boldrini, on the role of women in advertising, in particular the prevalence of mothers serving the family at the table.
Aurelio Mancuso, from the campaign group Equality of Italy, called the remarks 'an offensive provocation ' and demanded an immediate boycott of Barilla products.
As a wave of Italian MPs threatened to resign in support of Silvio Berlusconi, openly gay parliamentarian Alessandro Zan said: ‘I adhere to the boycott of Barilla and I urge other MPs, at least those who do not resign, to do the same ‘
The comments caused a storm on the web with Twitter #boicottabarilla (boycott Barilla) trending.
Mr Barilla later apologised saying he had ‘maximum respect’ for gays.

By HANNAH ROBERTS

August 5, 2013

Canada’s Athletes Protest Russian Anti Gay Laws


Vancouver Pride Parade

VANCOUVER, Canada -- With the 2014 Sochi Games only seven months away, Russia's anti-gay laws continue to be a point of concern in the Olympic world.
This weekend, Canadian athletes Mike Janyk and Mercedes Nicoll took part in gay pride festivities that saw thousands jamming the streets of Vancouver on a sunny, bright Sunday.
"Rocking out olympians supporting in the Vancouver pride parade," Janyk tweeted during the day. "Lots of fun with @mercedes nicoll."
The pair drew support from the president of the Canadian Olympic Committee.
"Today, as our Canadian Olympic athletes march in Vancouver Pride 2013, we are reminded that sport is a human right and that everyone - regardless of race, religion, creed or sexual orientation - has the right to participate free of discrimination," Marcel Aubut said in a statement released to various media outlets.
Russia has banned the "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations around minors." That makes it illegal to speak about gay rights and relationships where young people might overhear.
Amid worldwide protests, the International Olympic Committee has said the laws will not be enforced among athletes at the Games.
 By David Wharton

August 1, 2013

Vodka on The Streets of London and New York


Two bottles of Stolichnaya vodka

Popular London gay bars and nightclubs have decided to boycott Russian vodka brands, joining a global campaign launched by North American gay activists in solidarity with the LGBT community in Russia
.
The Same in New York City. Bars and Supporters of the Boycott called it Russian Vodka on the Streets.

Russian Gay rights activist call for more than just Vodka but every single product associated with Russia. Many of us agree that for the pressure to mount we most hit everything Russian. Too bad they don’t have the Yugo anymore, the stupid little car made in was was then the USSR, which still is but in the veil of the Doma and tittles like President and Prime Minister when everyone knows that is Putin who calls the shots! some times literally wether he has a title or not. That little car would have been so easy to boycott.

Talking about easy, there aren’t many things in the United States that we need or use from Russia. Their biggest export is Russians and for some reason a lot of poor ones find their way here contrary to emigration laws that are applied to other countries. Someone that comes in from a friendly country (Russia has gained that status which escape me the why) should be people that can support them selves and not be a drain to the local economies. That’s besides having the sponsor. That has not been followed to the letter in the case of Russsia, I can’t imagine why. One group of people that should have no problem now in getting the ok to be accepted here would be gay russians. It’s easy to see that these are very dangerous times to be gay and in Russia.

One thing to be noted is the President of the United States lack of words on this subject. He has a meeting with Putin coming up which i believe he should cancel or make big headlines like giving him a bottle of American vodka wrapped on a rainbow flag.

On the Olympics I don’t see how we can hold the olympics there with such an environment of violence and homophobia. I would say let them get stuck with the price of the olympics and you’ll see how fast they put their head in the right frame of mind. This is what happens when you drink too much antifreeze, your judgment gets crowded and even your citizens you see as people to be killed for just having the bad luck of being born Russian and gay.


Campaign organisers consider Stolichnaya vodka a national brand
The organisers accuse the Russian authorities of an increasingly aggressive stance towards sexual minorities.
They are angry about a controversial law signed by President Vladimir Putin banning the promotion of "non-traditional values" to children, the refusal to allow gay pride events and harassment of gay activists.
Many conservative Russians suspect gay rights campaigners of trying to undermine traditional family values.
The purpose of the vodka boycott is clear: to harm the image of a product that has become a national brand, symbolising Russia.
Some activists suggest going further by boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympics, due to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi.
 The SPI Group behind the most famous vodka brand in the West - Stolichnaya - has declared its firm support for the LGBT community. 'How can it get any worse?'
The vodka boycott campaign was launched by US writer and activist Dan Savage.
He wrote in his blog that gay bars in Seattle should "dump Stoli... to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecution of gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin's increasingly fascistic Russia".
Savage's initiative generated a swift response in the US and Canada, and then on the other side of the Atlantic.
Jeremy Joseph is co-founder and owner of the G-A-Y Group, which owns a bar chain of the same name. He sees the vodka boycott as an act of solidarity with the Russian LGBT community.
"There are other countries where it is illegal to be lesbian or gay. But this is shocking, because they are taking a step back rather than a step forward. And in the last couple of weeks, looking at some of the videos and stories coming out of Russia - it's so horrific, it's so scary," Mr Joseph said in an interview with BBC Russian.
Moreover, Mr Joseph believes that boycotting Russian vodka may be just the beginning.
"Hopefully, this would lead to not just Russian vodka being banned, but looking at the brands that will be sponsoring the Winter Olympics [who will know that] unless they make a stand, then their products will get banned."
At the same time, the G-A-Y Group owner does not believe that a high-profile campaign in the West will make life worse for LGBT people in Russia.
The bar at an after-party hosted by Stolichnaya vodka in April in New York"How can it get any worse? I would like to hope, not. But what do we do? Sit back and do nothing?" he asks. 


Global 'act of despair'
Peter Tatchell, a veteran gay rights activist and human rights campaigner, has expressed his support for the vodka boycott.

Peter Tatchell (l) joined protests against a ban on gay pride in Moscow in 2008
"The Russian government has passed a draconian new homophobic law that criminalises any public expression of gay identity or call for gay human rights," Mr Tatchell told BBC Russian.
"In addition, there has been a wave of organised homophobic violence targeting individual LGBT people. Some of the victims have been tortured or killed. The police are doing little or nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice," he adds.
"Russian LGBT organisations and international human rights groups have appealed to the Russian government to scrap the anti-gay laws and crack down on homophobic violence. Their appeals have been ignored, the repression is intensifying", says Mr Tatchell.
Mr Tatchell describes calls to boycott Russian products as an act of despair and expresses hope that "this campaign will go global in the coming weeks".
Stoli's 'equality and diversity'
Val Mendeleev, chief executive officer of the SPI Group, which owns Stolichnaya, said his company "is an apolitical, business-oriented organisation". "However, the LGBT community in the US and worldwide are consumers of Stoli Premium vodka globally, and as such are our stakeholders," he told BBC Russian.
Mr Mendeleev stresses that his company's "corporate values stand for transparency, fairness, equality and diversity".

Earlier he wrote an open letter to the LGBT community, which was published on the SPI Group's website and on Facebook page.
"Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community," he wrote, citing examples of the SPI Group's support for gay events all over the world, including gay pride events in Durban, Tel Aviv and Vienna.
He also said Stolichnaya should not be regarded as a Russian product, since it is produced in Latvia, albeit using Russian ingredients.
Chris Amos, the owner and manager of Manbar in London's Soho, welcomed Mr Mendeleev's statement.
"It's regrettable for them that they are getting the raft of the gay fury and all of this. But at the same time, it will be them and other Russian companies like them who will then go back to the Russian government to argue for our case and support our case," he told BBC Russian.
"That's great that they are doing that [writing the letter], but that doesn't stop the boycott. And the boycott will hopefully go to other Russian companies, who will - like Stoli - issue statements in support of the gay and lesbian population", Mr Amos said.
Sochi Olympics
  
LGBT activists have been discussing another form of protest against the Russian authorities: boycotting the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Jeremy Joseph of the G-A-Y Group is fully behind the idea.
"I personally believe that Russia doesn't have the right to host the Winter Olympics now", he argues. "There is supposed to be an Olympic spirit of everybody joining together as one. How can you have it in a country that is so prejudiced?"
Dan Savage, however, believes that it would be better if athletes from the LGBT community went to Sochi to compete and win, to show the whole world they are not afraid to be themselves.
Last Friday, the International Olympic Committee announced that it had received assurances from the Russian officials that "the [new anti-gay] legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the games".
But immediately after that one of the most prominent Russian anti-gay campaigners, Vitaly Milonov of St Petersburg Legislative Assembly, called on the Russian authorities to refrain from applying the gay-propaganda law inconsistently during the Sochi Olympics.
After all, Mr Milonov actively participated in writing it.
Adam Gonzalez
Sources: BBC, Bloomberg Network

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