SETTING IT STRAIGHT
The Stoli boycott is the most obviously misguided. First, the company that makes Stoli isn’t based in Russia and the vodka hasn’t been made there for more than a decade. It’s made in Latvia, which is part of the European Union. The owner moved it out of Russia precisely because of his opposition to President Vladimir Putin and the values of his party. In addition, the company that owns Stoli — and is based in Luxembourg — has stated publicly that it stands “strong and proud” with the global LGBT community “against the attitude and actions of the Russian government.”
Clearly, not only does boycotting Stoli hurt a company that actually supports us, but it has about as much impact on Putin’s policies as boycotting borscht!
Most important of all, many Russian LGBT leaders — and LGBT activists in Latvia — have advised that boycotting Stoli is NOT helpful. They’ve said the same thing about an Olympics boycott, as they believe the Games may offer an unprecedented opportunity to impact public opinion among a Russian populace that overwhelmingly opposes LGBT rights.
Calls to boycott Stoli and the Olympics can attract media attention or capture the popular LGBT community’s imagination. But ideas that appeal at first glance to many of us in the U.S. may not actually advance the cause of LGBT equality in Russia. In fact, they could have the opposite effect.”
— Lorri L. Jean, CEO of L.A.’s Gay & Lesbian Center, in “Think First, Act Second to Support LGBT Equality in Russia,” an op-ed she wrote for Huffington Post
[Editor's note: In the spirit of full disclosure, Queerty and our sister site GayCities are producing The Original Stoli Guy program with SPI, which makes and distributes Stoli Premium Vodka worldwide and is headquartered in Luxembourg in Western Europe.]
suck all the dicks Queerty, not that that’s a bad thing. The CEO has acknowledged since this article that he will be donating millions to pro LGBT rights campaigns IN Russia, where the company has been silent up till now, just as this article predicted. Added to the fact that Stoli has admitted to having a distillery with several hundred workers in Russia, and that many of their raw materials are from the mother country, I’d say this boycott, or at least the press surrounding it, have had a positive impact.
@Randy: I’m sorry, I was rash, I take back the dick-sucking comment, that was juvenile.
@Sterling Ericsson: A pretend boycott of a pro-LGBT multinational company like Stoli is simply a distraction to make white gays feel liberal and inclusive while they put “WHITES ONLY” or “BLACKS ONLY” or “no blacks, no Asians” in their social media profiles and don’t say a peep about the ongoing bigotry and segregation in the gay community.
This anti-Stoli slacktivism is a complete joke. Imagine if straight bars had “Asians only” nights or “black hip-hop” nights as often as Jim Crow gay bars do. The world would be up in arms. You can flip through a gay magazine like Out or The Advocate and not see one model who isn’t white. I can’t remember the last time Andrew Christian featured prominently a dude whose not white or a white-looking Asian. Go to a gay bar in West Hollywood and TRY to find bar staff outside of the doormen who aren’t white — you won’t. Blacks are good enough to work the door because they’re scaaaaaary, but apparently they can’t bartend. Don’t even get me started on mainstream gay porn, where minorities are “ghettoized” into segregated studios.
No, Olympic athletes should not take the gay boycott of Russia seriously, until gay people start taking the discrimination amongst themselves seriously. The hypocrisy is stunning.