Showing posts with label Commerce Pro Civil Rights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commerce Pro Civil Rights. Show all posts

April 25, 2017

Google Promotes Gay Marriage and Adoptions on Ad

Featured Image
A Google Home ad features two 'dads' with their male and female children.

Google is continuing its attempts to mainstream  the homosexual lifestyle with a 30-second video showing a male couple getting their photogenic children off to grade school.
“It’s just more propaganda,” said Gwen Landolt, the head of REAL Women of Canada. “It’s an attempt to normalize same-sex relationships using children as props. But it is not normal and what they are not telling you is that it is not good for children.”
The ad for Google Home, the company’s personal assistant software, promotes the device’s upgrade to be able to recognize more than one voice. In it, two adult men, Alex and Ross, each ask, “Google, tell me about my day.” A male and a female child offer a cheerful “Hi Daddy” between mouthfuls of cereal. Then the two men negotiate who will take the children to school. The girl throws out a parting “a bientot Papa,” leaving a puzzled Alex to ask, “Hey, Google, what does ‘a bientot’ mean?” “It means ‘see you soon’” comes the robotic response.
REAL Women’s Landolt believes Google is currying favor with left-liberal lobby groups such as the Human Rights Campaign.
“They are part of its kennel of mad dogs,” she told LifeSite. Whenever someone or organization offends against the LGBT cause, said Landolt, “HRC opens the kennel and lets the dogs out.”
Landolt pointed to the corporate assault on the state of North Carolina when it passed legislation protecting the privacy and safety of women in public washrooms.
“By doing what the Human Rights Campaign wants, they can be sure they are safe from attack themselves,” she added.
However, the problem with the ad normalizing same-sex couples is that the social sciences indicates that “Children require a mother and a father. The ad is an abuse of children. Google is supporting an abnormality,” said Landolt.
Landolt cited research by Douglas Allen of Simon Fraser University based on a large and random sample of same-sex and heterosexual couples taken from the Canadian census. Titled “High school graduation rates among children of same-sex couples” and published in 2013, it found children living in same-sex  parented households graduated at two-thirds the rate of children in heterosexual families.
A year earlier, Dr. Mark Regnerus of the University of Texas-Austin released a controversial study finding a wider range of negative outcomes for children raised in same-sex families compared with heterosexual families.

March 17, 2017

In Australia Big Business Backs Same Sex Marriage Marriage

Australia's most senior conservative politician has lambasted a campaign by the chief executives of 30 of the nation's largest companies for the "near-term" legalisation of same-sex marriage, saying they should focus on running their own businesses instead of jamming "politically correct views down our throats".

Immigration minister Peter Dutton was scathing in his response to a co-ordinated attempt by the chief executives of Telstra, Qantas, Holden, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and others to force Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to pass laws legalising same-sex marriage, prompting Liberal defector Cory Bernardi to describe him as Australia's "emerging leader".

"If people want to enter politics, then do that, but don't do it from the office overlooking the harbour on multi-million dollar fees each year. I just think its high time these people pulled back from these moralistic stances and we'd be a better society without them," Mr Dutton told Radio 2GB.

In the biggest unified push by corporate bosses over gay marriage to date, chief executives from across every industry, super funds and major sporting bodies have written to the Prime Minister calling on parliament to pass laws supporting gay marriage.

 ANZ boss Shayne Elliott is among the many business leaders who signed the joint letter which said marriage equality ...
ANZ boss Shayne Elliott is among the many business leaders who signed the joint letter which said marriage equality would be good for customers, business and the nation. Bloomberg
Business leaders say they want the Prime Minister to deal with the issue urgently so he can get on with economic reform.

The move is designed to put pressure on Mr Turnbull to address the political stalemate on gay marriage after the Senate rejected the government's proposed plebiscite on the issue.

Having spent an hour on the phone last week waiting to fix his Telstra home phone, Mr Dutton directed most of his criticism at Telstra chief executive Andy Penn.

"He's a good bloke but he needs to concentrate, and others in the CEO world who are on big dollars need to concentrate, on their businesses and frankly on the improvement in the economy, contribute to that debate

"But the social issues – and as you say whether it's gay marriage or anything else – leave that up to the politicians, to the leaders, to talkback hosts like yourself, to normal people who can have those discussions without the millions of dollars being thrown behind campaigns because somehow it makes the board feel better or meets their social obligation that they've got."

Mr Dutton was particularly incensed at the companies' chiefs straying into political social issues when - in the case of Telstra - its customers were unhappy about call centre outsourcing to the Philippines.

"Now, here's a suggestion for Telstra. Instead of getting caught up and spending your investors' money, your shareholders' money on all these political causes, what about tidying up your own backyard first and providing a proper standard of care and service to your customers – that actually would be a good starting point – and once all that's done, you've then got time on your hands to concentrate on these other fringe issues," Mr Dutton said.

This week South Australian brewer Coopers became embroiled in the debate after customers boycotted its beer over a marketing tie-up with the Bible Society to create a same-sex marriage video.

The chief executives of Apple, ANZ Banking Group, AGL Energy, Commonwealth Bank, Holden, Qantas, Telstra, Westpac and Wesfarmers were among those who signed the joint letter which said marriage equality would be good for customers, business and the nation.

The bosses of the Business Council of Australia, super funds and sporting bodies like the National Rugby League and Football Federation Australia also signed the joint letter which is backed by more than 1100 businesses. They say they have backed the campaign voluntarily in a personal capacity.

"We believe that equality is everyone's basic human right. Working in an environment where people feel comfortable to make whatever choices are right for them creates a culture of diversity and inclusion. It's cultures like these that foster creativity and often where the very best ideas are formed," Tracy Fellows, the chief executive of digital advertising firm REA Group said.

'Anything less is bad business'

Holden managing director Mark Bernhard said: "We are very proud to have been the first automotive company in Australia to support marriage equality. As a business, and as a team of diverse people, we are committed to lending our voice in support of equal rights for our community."

Todd Greenberg, the National Rugby League chief executive the NRL celebrated diversity: "Enabling loving, committed couples to be married, regardless of their sexual orientation, will help create a more inclusive Australia and as a CEO, that is something I want to support."

Tim Reed, the chief executive of MYOB said: "In a competitive global business environment, nothing is more important than having people be able to be the best that they can be - anything less is just bad business. I'm proud that MYOB supports team members regardless of their sexual orientation, and I call on politicians from all parties to do likewise."

While a growing number of high-profile chief executives such as Qantas chief Alan Joyce and Telstra boss Andy Penn have publicly backed gay marriage since former Prime Minister Tony Abbott opposed legalising the move in 2015, this is the biggest collective statement by business leaders on the issue.

The role of big business in the debate has been a contentious issue, with some chief executives privately worried there would be a backlash against their business if they spoke out. The Catholic Church last year asked some companies to drop their marriage equality campaigns.

Lobby group Australia Marriage Equality (AME) approached corporate Australia in 2015 when the Abbott government opposed legalising gay marriage. The latest campaign is being headed by AME co-chair and a former senior JP Morgan executive Janine Middleton.

"This is the first time that they have come together to support the cause. It is not just gay CEOs. Most of these people are straight," Ms Middleton, who describes herself as a "conservative, Catholic, Liberal-voter" who supports marriage equality, told The Australian Financial Review.

"The bigger version of the conservative voice is corporate Australia and we started the corporate campaign and we now have more than 1100 businesses of all shapes and sizes right across the company who signed.Canberra needs to hear the different voices.

"The letter is important because the CEOs have done so in their personal capacity, they are not singing on behalf of companies."

Brewer Coopers was embroiled in the debate this week after a marketing tie-up with the Bible Society Australia to create a video on same-sex marriage backfired, resulting in pubs boycotting the beer.

The role of big business in the gay marriage debate has been a contentious issue with some executives privately concerned speaking up on the issue could hurt their business. Telstra last year backflipped on its support for marriage equality following pressure from the Catholic Church but later rejoined the campaign.

The business leaders said they believed marriage equality was good for their employees, customers, Australia's global reputation and for their business because companies that embraced diversity performed better than others.

Mr Turnbull has backed a national plebiscite on same-sex marriage, which was opposed by many in the gay and lesbian community in favour of a free parliamentary vote. Labor and the Greens blocked legislation to conduct a plebiscite on the issue.


June 8, 2016

At Least 3 Major Companies Refuse Ad Money from Trump


FILE - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers questions during a news conference in New York, May 31, 2016.
VOA News
A popular U.S. entertainment and news website is saying no to advertising money from the Republican Party because of Donald Trump, the party’s presumptive nominee for president.
In an email to employees Monday, BuzzFeed founder and CEO Jonah Peretti said the company would pull out of $1.3 million advertising deal with the Republican National Committee that was signed in April.
"We certainly do not like to turn away revenue that funds all the important work we do across the company," Peretti wrote. "However, in some cases we must make business exceptions: we don't run cigarette ads because they are hazardous to our health, and we won't accept Trump ads for the exact same reason."
Peretti cited the real estate mogul’s stances on Muslims, immigrants and other policies as reasons for pulling out of the deal.
"We don't need to and do not expect to agree with the positions or values of all our advertisers. And as you know, there is a wall between our business and editorial operations. This decision to cancel this ad buy will have no influence on our continuing coverage of the campaign," Peretti wrote.
The RNC responded with a statement to CNN, saying they “never intended” to use the ad space.
"Space was reserved on many platforms, but we never intended to use BuzzFeed," said RNC chief strategist and spokesman Sean Spicer in the statement. "It is ironic that they have not ruled out taking money from a candidate currently under investigation by the FBI."
The Trump campaign has yet to respond.
BuzzFeed is not the only company getting cold feet about the Trump campaign.
CBS News reports many corporate sponsors for the Republican convention in Cleveland are getting pressured to stay away.
The Color of Change PAC, a civil rights group, has been pressuring past sponsors of the convention to hold onto their money this time.Microsoft said it will not sponsor the convention and Coca-Cola, which gave nearly $700,000 in 2012 will only give $75,000 this year.
Tech company Hewlett-Packard has said it will not sponsor either party’s convention. Fellow tech companies Facebook and Google remain sponsors of the convention.
The RNC told CBS that despite some of the losses, it has secured about 90 percent of its $64 million budget.

March 3, 2016

New Airline from Iceland Naming Its new Plane ‘TF-Gay” for LGBT Support

An airline from Iceland is naming its new plane 'TF-GAY' to support the LGBT community. 
WOW Airlines' CEO says the name was suggested by a pilot to mark their new flight route to San Francisco. The US city is famous for its gay scene.
The plane will join WOW's existing "family" of aircraft, which have names like TF-MOM, TF-DAD, TF-SIS. 
Skuli Mogensen says: "I immediately thought it was a great idea."
He says it fits "with our approach of using words relating to family members in the spirit of inclusiveness."   
WOW Air founder and CEO Skuli Mogensen
Image caption WOW Air founder and CEO Skuli Mogensen
He believes it's all part of supporting gay people's rights, "just as we support equal rights for everybody, no matter their gender, religion, ethnicity or culture".
"By making it possible for everybody to travel with us, we'll hopefully manage to make the world slightly smaller, and better," he tells GayIceland
He also says he's not bothered if people don't like the name.
"If I were worried or scared of what people might say about me or what I do, then WOW air wouldn't exist," he says.

March 31, 2015

Apple’s CEO Warn About Discrimination Sweeping the World

A local television station captured an awkward moment afterward between Cook and the Republican governor of Alabama, Robert Bentley, who audibly took umbrage at Cook’s comments. Don Logan, an Alabamian who is a former CEO of Time Inc. (Fortune’s owner), was in the audience at the state capitol in Montgomery. “Tim is a very courageous guy,” says Logan, a fellow Auburn University alum, who notes that the state legislature had only recently passed a bill to not allow gay marriage. “He knew he was speaking into the wind and that most people in the room didn’t agree with him.”
A few days later Cook announced publicly, in an essay in Bloomberg Businessweek, that he is gay. With no further comment from him or Apple, the disclosure set off a media frenzy, most of it favorable. Looking back, he says that he primarily acted out of concern for kids who were bullied at school, some to the point of suicide, and because of the many states that still allow employers to fire workers over their sexual orientation. Also, whereas U.S. courts were moving surprisingly quickly on the issue, “I didn’t feel like business was exactly leading the way in the executive suite.”

Tim Cook, Apple CEO photographed in Cupertino, CA. March 2015
“I’m not running for office. I don’t need your vote. I have to feel myself doing what’s right. If I’m the arbiter of that,” says Cook, rather than worrying about what critics say about his decisions, “then I think that’s a much better way to live.”Courtesy of Apple

Cook says that he’d come to the decision of coming out “quite some time ago” and that his announcement was viewed internally at Apple, where his sexual orientation was more or less well known, as a “yawner.” Speaking out so publicly was a big step for Cook, though, who has described himself as intensely private and who is rare among big-company CEOs for being genuinely ill at ease talking about himself. “To be honest, if I would not have come to the conclusion that it would likely help other people, I would have never done it,” he says. “There’s no joy in me putting my life in view.” Referencing the often-cited line that “to whom much is given, much is required,” Cook says, “I’ve certainly been given a lot.”
The move made Cook famous for more than being the person running Steve Jobs’ company. Mike Sullivan is a San Francisco lawyer with the global law firm Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman who advises startup technology companies. Like Cook, he views his sexual orientation as a point of pride and affiliation but something that doesn’t define him professionally. “We have 500 CEOs in the Fortune 500 out there, and I can guarantee you some of them are gay,” he says. “The message Tim sent is, ‘It’s okay to be yourself. You don’t have to lead with it. But you don’t have to hide it either.’ ”
Cook has become so ubiquitous that it’s tough to remember when he wasn’t so visible. On an early March trip to Europe he huddled in Berlin with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and in Brussels with Andrus Ansip, the former Prime Minister of Estonia and now the European Commission’s top regulator on digital issues. He is featured in a new book by the former Fortune journalists Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, who report that Cook offered Jobs a piece of his healthy liver for a transplant. (Jobs turned him down.) In March, Cook even phoned in to a surprised—and delighted—Jim Cramer during a live airing of the 10th anniversary of the broadcaster’s financial shoutfest on CNBC.
Representing their companies publicly is obligatory for CEOs, but Cook takes public stands on issues including stopping the transmission of AIDS, human rights, and immigration reform. He sees them as opportunities for leadership. “You want to be the pebble in the pond that creates the ripple for change,” he says, adding that Apple’s people have long cared about such issues even if they haven’t previously spoken so openly about them. To Cook, changing the world always has been higher on Apple’s agenda than making money. He plans to give away all his wealth, after providing for the college education of his 10-year-old nephew. There should be plenty left over to fund philanthropic projects. Cook’s net worth, based on his holdings of Apple stock, is currently about $120 million. He also holds restricted stock worth $665 million if it were to be fully vested. Cook says that he has already begun donating money quietly, but that he plans to take time to develop a systematic approach to philanthropy rather than simply writing checks.
An irony of Cook’s Apple is that the company is becoming visibly more open under its guarded CEO than it was under the publicity-savvy demigod who ran Apple before him. Whereas Jobs severely restricted interactions between all his employees and the press, Cook has ushered in a period of glasnost with the news media. It is highly unlikely that Jobs would have tolerated, for example, The New Yorker’s recent 16,000-word profile of Jony Ive, Apple’s chief designer. Cook says such exposure is part of his plan. “My objective is to raise the public profile of several of the folks on the executive team, and others as well. Because I think that’s good for Apple at the end of the day.”
The new openness serves two purposes. First, it ensures that the world continues to talk about Apple. Granting a longer leash to executives with healthy egos also is a valuable retention tool. “A true coach is happy with his star players getting media time,” says Gassée, the ex-Apple executive. “Tim Cook is a true impresario who takes care of his prime donne. As long as the box office is good, the impresario will do that.”
Building for the Future
Tim cook is standing atop a giant mountain of dirt. He has come to tour the construction site in Cupertino that by the end of 2016, if all goes as planned, will be Apple’s new corporate campus. The dirt has been excavated from the massive pit below, and the pile is just about eye level with where the rooftop will be over the four-story, ringed building that will soon rise here. The building’s doughnut-shaped design has sparked many comparisons to a spaceship. Looking down as trucks and workers scurry to and fro, Cook begins to talk about one of the subjects that really gets him going: where people work. It always amazes him, he says, how drab workspaces are in metropolitan office skyscrapers. Apple’s new home will not be like that. “It shouldn’t be a place that doesn’t turn on your creative juices,” he says, musing about how future college recruits will feel when they first visit. Visible in the distance are Apple’s existing Cupertino campus, downtown San Jose, and Levi’s Stadium, where the San Francisco 49ers play and which, incidentally, would fit into the 30-acre park that will be at the center of the main spaceship building.

Apple construction, new corporate campus. Cupertino, CA
The building site of what will be Apple’s new corporate campus, photographed March 3, 2015. Cook calls the high-tech complex “the mother of all products.”Courtesy of Apple

Steve Jobs spent a considerable amount of the last two years of his life planning the campus, including hiring the British architect Norman Foster to design it. Everything about the site is large scale, and Cook, a numbers man, can recite most of the figures by heart. The main building itself will be 2.8 million square feet and will house 13,000 employees. About 2,000 more workers will fill up adjacent buildings on the site, which will include a 100,000-square-foot fitness and wellness center, a café that will serve 15,000 lunches a day, and more than 8,000 trees, all native to the Santa Clara Valley.
Cook visits the work site periodically
—including twice already with Apple’s board—and he exhibits an engineer’s glee at watching the 22 construction cranes that dot the landscape. He says Apple hasn’t decided yet exactly what it will call “Apple Campus 2,” the current internal designation. Some naming element of the buildings or the entire locale will almost certainly include an homage to Jobs, depending on his family’s wishes, says Cook. 
On a 90-minute tour of the site, Cook dishes out details of the campus, which he calls “the mother of all products.” For instance, Apple is investing in cutting-edge technology to manage tasks as mundane as parking. A system of sensors and apps will play traffic cop for employees as they enter the facility, eliminating the fuel-wasting hunt for a parking place. Just as it has done for its retail stores, Apple has built entire mockups of wings of the building to see how they look—and then torn them down. As to why Apple isn’t building higher than four stories, the same height as its existing campus, Cook says, “When we mocked up five we didn’t like the looks of it.” He is particularly excited about the mostly below-ground, 1,000-seat auditorium in the southeast corner of the campus, which will be the company’s new site for all its public presentations other than its annual developers conference. “No more scheduling months ahead of time around other people’s schedules,” says Cook enthusiastically.
In talking about the new campus, Cook is particularly ornery about one label for it. “I hate the word ‘headquarters,’ ” he says. “There’s real work going on here. It isn’t overhead, and we’re not bureaucrats.” Indeed, among Apple’s employees there is considerable speculation as to which groups will be assigned to the new building—and which will be relegated to the existing real estate. “We’ve decided three times,” says Cook. “And we’ll probably decide it three times more.”
On the drive back to Cook’s current office at 1 Infinite Loop, his Apple Watch emits a chiming sound that sounds like the ding! from a symphonic triangle. Cook is wearing the entry-level Sport version of the watch, with a white plastic wristband. It’s the first time in nearly two hours that he’s received a notification, and he says it’s a text message from his assistant that Al Gore, an Apple board member, would like to speak with him. 
The electronic interruption doesn’t require Cook to extract his iPhone from his pocket, one of the key attributes Apple believes will drive adoption of the watch. It does give him an opportunity to show off some of the watch’s features, including the iconic Mickey Mouse watch face, cleverly updated so that the Disney mascot cheerfully taps his feet at the rate of one per second. A self-described fitness nut, Cook proudly shows off his daily physical activity as measured by the watch. So far he has clocked 50 minutes of exercise and has traveled 8,139 steps, or about four miles. An early riser, he has been on his feet for 12 hours, and it’s not quite 3:30 p.m. His workday, and his job leading Apple, are far from over.
 This story is from the April 1, 2015 issue of Fortune. It originally stated that the Siri product launch occurred days after Steve Jobs died. The event was the day before his death.

October 10, 2014

The US has so much More to Go in Gay Rights Compare to others Civilized Peoples’

Our topic du jour: the latest stunning milestone in the march toward gay equality.
No, the other stunning milestone.
We will get around to what the Supreme Court did (more accurately, declined to do) in a moment. But first: Have you seen the new Cheerios commercial? It broke online a few days ago, a spot starring these two gay French Canadian men and their adopted daughter, a brown-skinned toddler named Raphaelle.
In the three-minute clip, Andre and Jonathan talk about the love at first sight blind date that brought them together and how they thought they could never be dads because they are gay. All the while, Raphaelle is squirming, eating Cheerios, leaning from one father to the other and otherwise committing shameless acts of cuteness. Jonathan tells us that the day they adopted her as an infant, he cradled her in his arms and said, "Dad is here. Daddy is here now."
As you may gather from the foregoing description, the spot is brutally sweet and lethally adorable. Made for the Canadian market, it has yet to run in the United States. Maybe that shouldn't surprise us. You may recall the furor that attended a 2013 Cheerios ad that dared to present an interracial family — black dad, white mom, daughter a bit of both — as normal. So perhaps with this commercial, the cereal maker decided to spare itself a similar headache.
Not that it matters. North of the border or south, the simple existence of this spot makes a statement. There are few things more quintessentially middle American than a bowl of Cheerios. For the cereal to lend its name to a campaign presenting a family with two dads and a toddler as — here's that word again — "normal," speaks to the great progress we have made in defusing the terror with which too many of us once regarded gay men and lesbians.
And it provides an interesting lens through which to view the high court's recent inaction. While the tribunal had been widely expected to agree to decide the constitutionality of lower court rulings allowing same-sex marriage in five states, it chose instead to allow the rulings to stand without comment, effectively sanctioning the unions in Indiana, Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and 19 other states and the District of Columbia, where they are allowed.
In avoiding a decision, the court makes a decision, if only the decision to tacitly acknowledge what already is. If one might have preferred a declarative statement supporting marriage equality in all 50 states to an implicit recognition of marriage equality in the places it already exists, well this non-ruling is still seismic. Small wonder supporters of marriage equality are using words like "watershed" to describe it. At least one opponent chose other words. "Tragic and indefensible," said Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican. It is, perhaps, more noteworthy that other conservatives have been loud in their silence.
One suspects they feel a certain kinship with polar bears trapped on melting ice. Similarly, conservatives now find themselves stuck on shrinking islands of intolerance in a swirling sea of change. It was not so long ago that they won elections handily by touting what they called "family values," widely understood as code for a white, middle-class, Judeo-Christian, heterosexual couple raising white, middle-class, Judeo-Christian heterosexual children on apple pie and 1950s gender roles.
You know, "normal" people.
But there are many routes to normal, something we have learned since the family values days; something the Supreme Court grudgingly accepts even as Cheerios celebrates it with joy. It's hard not to share that joy, hard not to feel a little gooey inside as Raphaelle coos, secure in the embrace of her two dads. And why not?
Love is the best family value of all.

Leonard Pitts Jr./Miami Herald
Leonard Pitts Jr. is a columnist for the Miami Herald. Contact him at

February 5, 2014

Brew Dog Beer With New Beer “Hello My Name Is Vladimir”

 British independent brewery BrewDog has launched a beer protesting against Russia’s “gay propaganda” law in the run-up to the Sochi Winter Olympics.
Named “Hello My Name Is Vladimir”, the beer’s label features artwork of the Russian president wearing lipstick and eye shadow, and carries the slogan “not for gays”.
The not-especially publicity-shy brewery said in a blog post: “The sick, twisted legislation brought about in Russia that prevents people from living their true lives is something we didn’t want to just sit back and not have an opinion on.”
The company says they will be donating 50% of the profits to “charitable organisations that support like minded individuals wishing to express themselves freely without prejudice.”
Watt told PR Week: “As Hello My Name Is Vladimir is clearly marked ‘notforgays’ we should bypass the legislation introduced by Putin outlawing supposed ‘homosexual propaganda’, so Vlad shouldn’t have an issue with it.”
The brewery says they have sent a case of the beer to the Kremlin, just in case.

February 3, 2014

Coca Cola Changes Mind Airs Gay Family Commercial at Super Bowl

Coca-Cola broke new ground on Sunday night when it aired the first Super Bowl ad featuring a family led by a gay couple. The ad, titled “It’s Beautiful,” features a rendition of “America the Beautiful” sung in different languages as the camera pans through diverse racial and ethnic communities.
“The only thing more beautiful than this country are the people who live here,” reads a statement on the commercial’s YouTube page. “Watch and discover why #AmericaIsBeautiful.”
The soft-drink corporation posted online a five-minute behind-the-scenes special that includes interviews with the participants, including the gay dads and their kids. “”Today I see people asking us to hold hands, people embracing us as a family and respecting us,” one of the men tells the camera.”
Coca-Cola sochiWhile the ad is certainly a positive one, it’s not likely to garner kudos on either side of the political spectrum. In fact, xenophobes have already begun voicing their disdain on social media: “THE Worst commercial all night. Never drinking Coke again,” wrote one commenter. “Hey @CocaCola this is America. We speak English. Quit slapping real Americans in the face with your offensive commercials. #BoycottCoke”tweeted another.
Many in the LGBT community, meanwhile, are angry at Coke for being a major sponsor of the Winter Olympics in Sochi while Russia still enforces anti-gay laws.
Dan Savage tweeted: “Love your endorsement of diversity and tolerance in the USA, @CocaCola—how about some support for Russian LGBT people? #CheersToSochi”
 The #CheersToSochi hashtag was originated by McDonald’s but was overtaken by activists hoping to draw attention to the fast-food company’s responsibility to Russia’s LGBT community.
The “It’s Beautiful” ad will run again during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
On Friday, GLAAD and dozens of other organizations called on Olympic sponsors out against the violence, discrimination and laws targeting Russia’s LGBT citizens

December 1, 2013

Nike Takes UP Front Position on Gay Marriage

In this Sept. 29, 2006 file photo, the red Nike swoosh marks the entrance to the company's headquarters campus in Beaverton. 

  • When Nike decided to support same-sex marriage in Oregon, it could have issued a statement of support.
    Or its executives could have donated directly to Oregon United For Marriage, the group gathering signatures to put the issue to voters in 2014.
    Instead, the Beaverton-based company chose to create its own political action committee called the Nike Equality PAC.
    “This is kind of the rise of the corporation trying to play a much bigger role and much more overt role in politics,” said Jim Moore, a politics professor at Pacific University. “That kind of money seriously suggests that you are going to be running a campaign.”
    Nike seeded its new PAC with $100,000 from the company directly and $180,000 from its executives. To put that in perspective,Oregon United for Marriage has raised nearly $213,000. Protect Marriage Oregon, which opposes same-sex marriage, has about $9,700, and Oregon Family Council Issues PAC has just less than $54,000, according to online records from the secretary of state’s office.
    “We chose to set up the Nike Equality PAC so that Nike, and its employees if they choose, have a specific avenue to support campaign efforts that are directly related to winning marriage equality in Oregon,” the company said in a press release.
    Moore called the decision fascinating because it meant Nike wanted more control over its donation than Oregon United for Marriage could offer.
    “To me it was Nike acting like the state of Oregon was the University of Oregon,” Moore said. “When (Nike owner) Phil Knight gives money to the University of Oregon, he can tell them what to do with it.”
  • Oregon United For Marriage spokeswoman Amy Ruiz said Nike doesn’t plan to run its own commercials or hang its own door tags in support of same-sex marriage complete with Nike swooshes.
  • Ruiz said the company told the campaign it plans to work with them to “figure out the best way to support our campaign.”
  • “At this point, they are raising funds,” Ruiz said. “We are not at the point yet where we are talking about expenditures.”
  • Still, Nike officials have said it’s important the money it raises only be used to overturn Oregon’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and not on other issues.
  • “That sounds like Nike doesn’t trust the people running the campaign,” Moore said.
  • Bill Allison, editorial director at the Sunlight Foundation, said he thinks part of the reason may be that the company wants to control the message and what can be traced back to Nike.
  • “(Retail store) Target gave to a group that was supporting an anti-gay marriage candidate because of clearly economic issues, and they were punished for it,” Allison said.
  • Nike certainly isn’t the first company to create its own PAC, but Allison said it’s likely the first to willingly wade into a vote on a divisive social issue.
  • He and Moore thought Nike’s marketing team probably vetted the PAC idea and decided it would bolster the image the company is trying to cultivate.
  • It could also help the company attract skilled workers. In its press release about the PAC, Nike officials said, “For Oregon businesses to attract and retain the best talent, we need fair and equitable laws that treat all Oregonians equally and prevent discrimination.”
  • One big unanswered question about Nike’s new PAC is what will happen to it once the 2014 election is done. If the PAC proves successful both in terms of fundraising and political goodwill, Moore and Allison said, it’s possible the company will change the PAC’s name and keep it for other issues.
  • “What is this corporate-focused PAC going to do?” Moore asked. “They could be kind of ready at all times with money in the bank.”
  • It also could lead to other companies following in Nike’s footsteps. Moore pointed out that Intel has a huge interest in land-use laws in Oregon.
  • “It’s not a threatening thing right now; it’s just odd,” Moore said. “So we are just going to wait and see what that oddity turns into.” 

November 7, 2013

Gay Community Reaps Benefits from New Whole Food Store

(SF-Bay Area)
 From employment to donations for several local nonprofits in the Castro, the new Whole Foods Market that opened this week on upper Market Street is already producing tangible benefits for the city's LGBT community.
The national grocery chain had a soft opening at its latest location Monday afternoon and held an official bread-breaking ceremony with city officials and neighborhood leaders Wednesday morning to christen the 28,000 square foot store at the corner of Dolores and Market streets. The company's seventh store in San Francisco, it announced in 2008 that it had signed a lease in the ground floor of the new housing development known as 38 Dolores.
Featuring a shoe shine stand, oyster shuck station, a hot foods-to-go bar with Paleo diet selections and Nepalese cuisine from Bini's Kitchen, shoppers will also find several brands from local LGBT food purveyors. The store carries chicken fingers and other offerings from the lesbian-owned Hip Chick Farms based in Sebastopol.
The gay-owned We Love Jam company, launched in 2002 by San Francisco resident Eric Haeberli and his business partner, Phineas Hoang, is also being carried by the Market Street store. They started selling their jams in Whole Foods five years ago, with several of their products carried at the company's Noe Valley location.
"We are approved for the northern California stores. Each store has its own buying discretion," said Haeberli, whose jam was included in gift bags handed out during sneak peek tours of the new location over the weekend.
According to company officials, more than 75 of the 210 team members employed at the Market Street Whole Foods were hired through a job fair held in late September at the LGBT Community Center nearby at 1800 Market Street.
"I feel like Whole Foods, at heart, is very much trying to help its community and its environment," said Kurt Gouldman, 33, who is transgender and attended the job fair at the LGBT center in search of new work. "I was impressed with the job fair. It opened up possibilities and opened up a sense of hope in me."
Prior to being hired as a full-time grocery worker by Whole Foods, Gouldman had quit working as a barista at a national coffee chain due to being miserable in his job. He is now applying for a construction apprenticeship program he also learned about through the LGBT center's workforce development program.
"I didn't even want to go to the job fair but I made myself go. I really felt hope for the first time after going to that," said Gouldman, who moved to the city three years ago and then started transitioning his gender.
Whole Foods helped sponsor the LGBT center's Economic Empowerment Week this year, providing both cash support and food donations for the event. It has designated the nonprofit facility to be one of five beneficiaries of the Market Street store's Week of Giving promotion next week.
Four times a year each Whole Foods Market donates 5 percent of a day's net sales to a local nonprofit. To celebrate its grand opening, the new Market Street store will donate 1 percent of net sales each weekday from November 11-15 to a different community-based agency.
One percent of net sales Wednesday, November 13 will be donated to the LGBT center. In a separate giving program, the store's sushi department will also give $2 from every rainbow roll sold to the LGBT center throughout the month of November.
"We are very excited and very honored. They have been one of the center's partners over the last couple of years, well before the opening of this Castro store," said Rebecca Rolfe, the center's executive director. "They have been very supportive of us and the LGBT community."
The company's relationship with the LGBT center started about five years ago and grew out of its store on California Street at Franklin. In addition to food donations, three Whole Foods stores in the city donated a percentage of their sales to the center as part of a 2012 Pride week promotion that netted $17,000, said Rolfe.
"That is a huge sponsorship for us," she said. "Their financial support of us is great and we truly appreciate it."
Another beneficiary of the Austin, Texas-based grocery chain's largess has been the city's GLBT Historical Society. Whole Foods donated the appetizers served at the archival group's annual gala last month, an estimated $5,000 in-kind contribution for the nonprofit that operates the GLBT History Museum on 18th Street in the heart of the Castro district.
"Over the summer we had a meeting with Whole Foods, showed them the museum, and asked them to support us," said Paul Boneberg, the society's executive director.
The historical society will also financially benefit through the new store's Nickels for Nonprofits initiative, where customers who bring their own bags can choose to donate their five-cent refund per bag to a selected charity. The GLBT Historical Society and the Boys and Girls Club of SF will each receive 50 percent of the nickels raised through January 19.
"Our sense is that will also generate meaningful income for us," said Boneberg. "We think it is most appropriate that large businesses in the Castro upper Market area support the local institutions. We are grateful to Whole Foods for doing that and we need that level of support."
National retailers and chain stores that come before Castro groups seeking their support to open outlets in the gayborhood are routinely asked about their past support of LGBT causes and what plans they have to contribute to the local LGBT community.
"It is really important for businesses that want to do business in San Francisco to be investing resources in our community and our institutions," said gay attorney Rafael Mandelman, who co-chairs the LGBT center's board of directors. "It is good that companies like Whole Foods recognize that, and we are very grateful for their support."
The Market Street store, so far this year, has also been a lead sponsor of the Castro Street Fair and worked with a Dolores Park stewardship group to clean trash from the popular open space.
It is contributing toward the Castro's annual Christmas tree and has teamed with LGBT senior services provider Openhouse to sponsor a breakfast it is hosting in December. Other giving has been directed to Mission High School's urban garden program; local food business incubator La Cocina; and 826 Valencia, a writing program for middle and high school students co-founded by author Dave Eggers and educator N'nive Calegar.
Whole Foods employees say the company has long encouraged its store leaders and employees to be engaged in their communities. The Market Street store team expects to build long-lasting partnerships with a number of local nonprofits now that it has opened its doors.
“We try to look at what an organization is trying to accomplish in the community that aligns with Whole Food's core values, such as quality food and quality living," said Ali O'Sullivan, who oversees the Market Street store's community outreach.

August 29, 2013

Stand Against Russia Treatment of Gays Tell Supporters Like Coke,etc To Help

Stand Against Russia's Brutal Crackdown on Gay Rights: Urge Winter Olympics 2014 Sponsors to Condemn Anti-Gay Laws

Stand Against Russia's Brutal Crackdown on Gay Rights: Urge Winter Olympics 2014 Sponsors to Condemn Anti-Gay Laws

    1. Julianne Howell
    3. Petition by
      Loveland, OH
In Russia, it is basically illegal to say that you are gay. You cannot kiss your partner in public. You can’t have a rainbow flag in public. You can’t even acknowledge that you are gay, or else you face possible imprisonment and fines.
Russia is becoming one of the most anti-gay places in the entire world. But it’s also going to hold the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, where the world is supposed to come together in a spirit of community and togetherness. But how could LGBT people and their families be welcome, when they run the risk of being thrown in jail or fined just for being who they are?
RUSA LGBT, a Russian-speaking American association for members of the gay community, says that LGBT athletes and spectators will not be safe during the 2014 Olympic games. And given the Russian government’s recent actions toward LGBT people -- including violent crackdowns on gay rights rallies and arresting members of the LGBT community -- how could anyone feel safe during these Olympic games?
That’s why I’m asking the major sponsors and partners of the Sochi 2014 Olympic games -- Coca-Cola, Panasonic, Samsung, Procter & Gamble, and Visa -- to condemn Russia’s anti-gay laws, which are some of the most repressive laws in recent history, and pull their sponsorship from Russia’s Olympic games. Do these companies want to be tied to an Olympics where LGBT athletes and spectators are likely to face harsh violence, prison, and brutality?
It’s time for these companies to put their support for LGBT people first, and send a message to Russia that their anti-gay laws are not only contrary to basic human rights, but fly in the face of the spirit of the Olympic Games, which celebrate human dignity and community above all else.
Stand for human rights and pull sponsorship from the 2014 Winter Olympics! State sponsored homophobia should not be endorsed by your company. Tell Putin you do not support imprisoning and endangering the freedoms of gay athletes, fans, family, friends, and citizens!
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