CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY

Business As Usual? How 8 Anti-Gay Companies Are Measuring Up

exxon We told you about Exxon/Mobil’s recent, serial vote against the gays, when for the fourteenth year straight, shareholders refused to adopt formal protections for LGBT employees. They say they don’t discriminate and never would, unless you count not offering benefits to same sex spouses. Gotcha. With that in mind we thought it might be a good time to check in with the rest of corporate America to see how they’re doing and the answer is: pretty good! According to the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2013, 99% of major businesses prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, 89% offer domestic partner benefits, and a healthy 80% demonstrate a public commitment to the LGBT community. Nice stats! Click through to find out which anti-gay companies are cleaning up their acts and which ones are just rolling around in their own corporate filth….

Chick-fil-A

chick-fil-a

2012 was a rotten year for Chick-fil-A, right? CEO Dan Cathy came out against gay marriage, there were boycotts and protests, and late-night comedy jokes, PETA got in on the act, and the company’s sales went up 12%. Wait, what? Any press is good press? Or that chicken is just addicting? Or God really does prefer Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato Fries over fags?

But for every new store that opens there seems to be another that’s shut out of more responsible communities and that’s a good thing. And with C-F-A so inextricably associated with marriage bigotry, even as America embraces marriage equality like never before, their prospects over the long term don’t look good, however many free sandwiches they hand out. And honestly, we’ve had their chicken and it’s not that great.

Brown Forman

brown-forman-products

A few years ago we told you about the discriminatory policies of Brown Forman, a Fortune 1000 company that distributes Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodkas, Fetzer Wines, and Korbel Champagne among other brands. Soon after, we got word from the company’s flak they had changed course:

“Brown-Forman began offering domestic partner benefits in January 2009, amended our EEO policy to include gender identity or expression and have created a GLBT Resource Group, among other GLBT efforts.”

Well done, BF! We may now belly up to the bar for that Jack and Coke without reservation.

Cinemark

cinemark

In 2008, theater chain Cinemark made news when then-CEO and LDS member Alan Stock donated the maximum allowable to the Yes on 8 campaign barring same sex marriage in California. Biopic Milk was coming out at the same time, providing a high-profile protest opportunity for gay marriage advocates and a bunch of bad press for Cinemark. Since then, Stock is out, the COO who had to clean up his mess is in, and the company now offers domestic partner benefits. Progress.

AutoZone

autozonePhoto: Wikimedia Commons

You probably missed it but the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center had a Business Professional Meet & Greet a few weeks ago at the Hilton and AutoZone was there! So we can report some limited progress for the self-described “Autozoners,” including offering domestic partner benefits — but only in California where it’s mandated by law; and only to new hires, or previous hires at the next open enrollment, probably in November this year.

But you’d know that, Autozoner, if you were there at the Memphis meet and greet — except no benefits for you in Tennessee, or anywhere else, really, except the Golden State.  The HRC Index ranks them at 15 for their non-discrimination policy, so there’s that. But Pep Boys gets a 65, so you decide. In the meantime, there’s this amusing AutoZone/Boyzone “collision” from a few years ago.

Wal-Mart and Exxon/Mobil

walmart

It’s a happy fact that the higher a company ranks on Fortune magazine’s list of the most successful businesses, the more likely it is to rank high on the HRC Index, with two major exceptions. Wal-Mart and Exxon/Mobil have traded the top spot on the Fortune 10 for the last several years, but neither offers domestic partner benefits. In spite of that, Wally World manages to earn a 60 on the Index with a limited prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, among other criteria.

Exxon

As for Exxon/Mobil? Try the only company to receive a negative score on the HRC Index — despite the fact that nine out of ten Fortune 10 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, six prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and eight provide partner health benefits. Exxon/Mobil chart their own course, we guess, like a tanker wandering aimlessly through Prince William Sound.

Domino’s

Dominos_pizza_outlet

If you’re conflicted about Domino’s, well so were we. On one greasy, cheese-covered hand there’s the chain’s founder, Tom Monaghan, a devout Roman Catholic, who has used his pizza megaphone to undermine “immoral” Obamacare and finance a 2001 ballot initiative to remove sexual orientation from a Michigan town’s discrimination ordinance. On the other are pizza drones and moon pizza.

Then last year we shared a letter from the pizza chain’s  VP Communications Tim McIntyre, who brought us up to date on his version of all things Domino’s:

“Mr. Monaghan… sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998. [We have] a large number of gay and lesbian employees, franchise owners and executives in our company, including two vice presidents. We recently began providing benefits to all married couples, same-sex or otherwise. What Mr. Monaghan stands for and does is his business, but he does not represent Domino’s Pizza.”

Still, the HRC Index ranks the restaurant chain at just a 35, so we suggest a pizza summit to give everyone a chance to further explain themselves and we like sausage and pepperoni.

Urban Outfitters

urban-outfitters-shop

Another big company, another big opportunity for a conservative CEO to advance his own social agenda. Such was the case of Richard Hayne, 262nd richest man in America and founder of Urban Outfitters with his (now) ex-wife in 1970. A native of Pennsylvania, Hayne was a regular contributor to Senator Rick Santorum (of the frothy mix) and then got his company some bad press when a t-shirt advocating same-sex marriage (completely the Urban Outfitters M.O.) was pulled from shelves in the heat of the Prop 8 campaign.

Since then the company wised-up and teamed with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California to make pro-marriage equality unisex tees with profits going to support, well, marriage equality. Smart, we said, but still, they only rate a 15 on the HRC Index for their policy of non-discrimination. No benefits for same-sex partners after the t-shirt business? That’s more irritating than a cheap poly-cotton blend.

Don't forget to share:

Help make sure LGBTQ+ stories are being told...

We can't rely on mainstream media to tell our stories. That's why we don't lock Queerty articles behind a paywall. Will you support our mission with a contribution today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

24 Comments*

  • Cam

    I’ve seen two different instances where people at certain companies put in requests that food ordered for meetings NOT come from Chik Fil Et, as soon as they explained why it was done. Many of these meetings were for 30 people or more and took place more than once a week for different groups so a big loss for the local stores, And Emory University dumped the Chik Fil Et branch that was on their campus.

    So they can say things are going great, but it’s never good when you are being kicked off campuses and companies are telling employees that your food can’t be brought in for meetings.

  • CleJoke

    A corporation buy it’s vary nature and construct is a SOULLESS creature. It’s the person that leads the corporation that has a soul to save or not save. Just have the board oust the leaders of these companies. Boycotting a soulless entity is just a waste of time.

  • im2bused

    Domino’s has got to be the worst pizza in the world.

  • greigetbd

    Actually you are mistaken about Urban Outfitters related to same sex partner benefits. I’ve been on Urban Outfitters benefit plans since 2007 as the same sex partner of an Urban employee. Great insurance for a very reasonable employee contribution.

  • Atomicrob

    Time for a National Exxon/Mobil Credit Card Cut-Up Day?

  • car

    Actually you are mistaken…welcome to online blogging and the factless world of information. While do doubt, much of this is true, so much out there is nonsense. The fact is, people take this VERY seriously. I was in a an Urban Outfitter and in the back of mind, I”m thinking, “probably shouldn’t support this company with my dollars.” This is because somewhere in time, i read that they were not a gay-friendly company.
    In the event a company changes its policy, does that get reported. The point here is that this blog and a few others have enormous powers of persuasion, which should not get taken lightly.
    Contact griegetbd and get the facts; maybe I can shop Urban Outfitters afterall.

  • Thad1527

    It’s a shame about ExxonMobil. Before the merger, Mobil was one of the best companies for lesbian and gay employees; Exxon was always awful. Since the merger, I’m afraid the good Mobil attitudes were just tossed out.

  • DBBromberg

    I think I lot of these places their attitude is local I do not shop at safeway because of being threatened by managers and district manager sticking up for a fat cow of a woman who felt that me a gay male, twice her age coming into the store being friendly to people, talking to people, being pleasant is harrassment.

    I see stuff all the time online, on here about Walmart? In my area the walmarts employees openly gay, lesbian, transgender people. I have asked them siting some of the information I had seen online and been told they have no complaints that the company is great to work for?

  • hyhybt

    So… what’s with the “what do you think of this post” thing that only offers ONE OPTION?

  • Jerry12

    Keep updating the list so we never forget who NOT to give money to when there are so many other companies that do support equality for all.

  • David in Houston

    @CleJoke: Boycotting is not a waste of time. Giving a company your money when you know they are discriminating against LGBT people would be repugnant. As much as I enjoyed a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and carrot raisin salad, they haven’t seen a dime of my money for years… and they never will again.

  • SmartManbear

    This kind of article really pisses me off, as it’s obviously clickbait-trolling by the site admins when they bring up some companies who have mended their ways. If you’re posting a headline such as the one that is on this page, make sure the article lives up to the headline. Otherwise, this is just National Enquirer for queers.

    MEH!

  • Bronze Guy10

    I grew up in Atlanta in the 80s The founder Mr Cathy went to my church he help with contributions when it was built.I had a Chic-Fila sandwich every youth group meeting.I was even asked to do an internship at there main offices.The first time I ever saw an employment application this was 1982 the first thing it ask you is are you a Christian even thou I was baptized I was questioning my own sexuality at the time.I went home and thought about it and thought I didn’t want to work for a church.I also went to summer camp with children of Mr Cathy and I can tell you how many boys where having sex at a very young age with each other.My first Gsy excepreince was at this camp.And after high school and I started going to Gay clubs I was shocked to see how many people I knew from church.I personally know two gay males that own several Chic-Filas and they would never fire someone for being Gay

  • rand503

    CFA is headed for a slow decline. With their strong identification with the religious right and against gays in general, it’s going to be difficult in the future to find new franchisees. Additionally, at corporate HQ, it’s going to be much harder to recruit qualified MBAs and other people they need to grow the company. Who would want to associate themselves with such a company? Religious extremists are very few in the upper ranks of highly qualified managers.

    So they will go in slow decline, I predict, as they make small errors, miss opportunities, and have generally mediocre management from top to bottom. The only people they can attract at this point are the strongly anti-gay people, which pretty much eliminates the whole next generation.

    I’m not worried — there are plenty of other fast food restaurants eager to steal their market share, and they will.

  • Avenger

    LOL@the slanted and subjective reporting. Chick-Fil-A’s business has not significantly suffered…in fact, their profit earnings have *increased* over the past year. I suspect if they hold another CFA appreciation day that it’ll probably be as much of a success as last years. Queerty is merely projecting. The general public as a whole isn’t anal retentive enough about gay issues to stop eating anywhere they previously enjoyed JUST BECAUSE the company isn’t a “friend” to the gay community.

  • Danny

    I think it is unfair to suggest that Walmart is anti-gay. Basically, they dump on ALL their employees. They are equal opportunity when it comes to treating their employees badly. It’s how they keep their prices lower than the competition, and their profits high. Well, besides buying their non-grocery items from places that employ slave labor, like China and Bangladesh.

  • Beachbum-Florida

    Why even mention Domino’s? Where have you QUEERTY people been for the last 15 years? The fact that Tom Monaghan sold Domino’s has been discussed in gay forums since the last century. Are you up to speed on the Coors boycott? Did you know that men no longer wear wing-collars and Derby hats? Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender aboard a battleship in Tokyo Bay. Bustles and hoopskirts are no longer in style for lesbians. Judy Garland is dead. The Berlin Wall was knocked down.

  • zydezyde

    Boycott Chick-Fil-A! http://www.boycottchickfila.com

  • BikerPup

    Both are total douchebag corporations and probably always will be.
    I buy nothing from either of them.

  • ScaryRussianHeather

    At the same time you bash AWFUL mega corporations who have actually changed their policy, you post an article about Disney Gay Days with nothing more than a pictorial spread of guys in bathing suits.

    Disney has provided LGBT partner benefits since 1995. Good ignoring, Queerty.

  • OutMaturity

    @Cam: I’m happy to read about those actions being taken. I wish my workplace would take such a stand, but alas it won’t!

    OutMaturity

  • OutMaturity

    @David in Houston: Same here David in Houston!

    OutMaturity

  • mcflyer54

    Walmart is an equal opportunity employer – they treat all of their employees the same and believe me that’s not a good thing in their case. These folks at WalMart treat employees, customers, suppliers, communities, etc., etc., etc., all like crap and yet they’re the wold’s largest retailer … go figure.

  • mcflyer54

    @Beachbum-Florida: did you even bother to read past the word Domino’s? It clearly explains and acknowledges the changes in ownership and policy … this is an article about businesses with a history of, and continue, anti-gay behavior as well as those who have made changes. You might at least want to read something before you start ranting about it – it tends to make you look stupid.

Comments are closed.