Cleve Jones: Harvey Milk ‘Would Be Appalled’ With HRC Moving Into Castro Street Camera Store

Joe Solmonese, who’s facing a renewed call to resign amidst his utter incompetence and absent leadership on DADT repeal, also has smaller-ish matters to deal with. Like the growing outcry over HRC squatting in Harvey Milk’s Castro Street camera store … to sell merch. Dustin Lance Black and Cleve Jones have already lashed out at the Gay Inc. group moving into unfriendly territory, given the wholly different activist strategies of the two: where Milk favored grassroots activism, HRC favors getting into bed with corporate sponsors and letting lawmakers drive tractor trailers over the gays with applause.

Last night San Francisco’s KTVU interviewed Jones — who’s apparently working with the group to find some common ground, whatever that means, before the January move-in date — and HRC’s creative director Don Kiser, who insists the city doesn’t hold exclusive claim to Milk’s legacy. You know, the legacy that involves selling coffee mugs and t-shirts emblazoned with his face, of which a “portion” of the proceeds will go to the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy.

Says Jones: “I think Harvey would be appalled by this. I resent it, I find it offensive, and I intend to do everything I can to stop it.” Here’s an idea: A grassroots protest against HRC!

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  • AndrewW

    Why doesn’t Cleve rent the space? Money talks.

  • Larry

    @AndrewW: I agree.

    Cleve Jones is overreacting.

    HRC may not have been Harvey Milk’s first choice for a tenant, but I’m confident he would prefer the HRC over a lease by some right-wing organization.

    Yes, this is a sacred and historical spot.

    The space has been vacant for a year. Why haven’t Cleve Jones and some of Harvey Milk’s remaining friends spearheaded a plan to turn it into something they think Milk would have applauded — perhaps a gay coffee house, resource center for gay adolescents, political action office, etc. They could have done any number of things with this space. I see nothing wrong with the HRC leasing it.

    Andrew is right. Cleve Jones needs to put his money where his mouth is.

  • Cam

    I do find it interesting, Black origionally was attending all the HRC events. Many others as well who have dealt with them are getting as dissillusioned with them as the grass roots folks are. Joe may have to cut his clothing budget soon.

  • Michael

    Nobody wanted this space, like forever, and now Hollywood is foaming? Not understanding this.

  • Joe

    The reason why people have a problem with HRC moving in, is basically a lap dog for Obama. Not to mention more than half of the people who send money to the HRC can only afford 5 dollars or less.
    Did you know that Solmonese earns $307,000 per year? And that the top 13 people at the HRC earn in excess of 2 million? For what?
    On top of it all Solmonese ONLY flies first class?
    Is that enough for you, yet?

    Why should Solmonese earn more money than the president of the United States?

    The HRC is a money making scam.

  • Jerry Pritikin

    I knew Harvey Milk, and I completely disagree with Cleve Jones about what Harvey’s reactions would be. In fact, worse than the HRC becoming the tenant at the Landmark 575 Castro location is the story behind the Owner of the bar that bares Harvey’s name at 18th and Castro. Paul Langley’s real estate company was Harvey’s landlord, and raised Harvey’s rest so high, that Harvey was forced to move to another location on Market near Castro in early 1978. In the early 1980s, Langley raised the rent on the well known Elephant Walk Bar & Restaurant from $6,000 to 12,000 a month and forced them out of business. He took over the Elephant Walk’s spot,and had the Chutzpah to rename it Harvey’s. Paul wanted to buy some of my iconic images of Harvey Milk, but I declined, because I knew the story behind his involvement in Harvey’s move, and Langley’s forcing the E-W out of business. It is ironic,that a month ago, I received an email from HRC, asking for permission to use one of my Milk images. Right off the bat, I told them that I had mixed emotions, because I was not happy about HRC stance on leaving the trans-gender segment of the gay community out of recent HRC agendas, as well as their many Black-tie events, because they price gay students and seniors, as well as the average hourly waged gay worker. However… I rather have HRC in Harvey’s old location, rather than a franchise coffee shop or x-rated magazine shop. With or without my image, I feel that the HRC is in the right spot and time to continue the work of Harvey Milk, and they can atone, for their mistakes in the past. [img][/img]

  • 2 cents

    I really don’t understand this. Let’s start protesting our own? Yes, because the enemy is us. There’s people literally killing gays out in the streets, stripping all our rights and you all are all jumping on the “gay on gay” crimes. Our enemies is not each other. All your anger is misdirected. Go do something productive like fight the REAL enemies (hating hetrosexuals) not wasting time bickering on who has the most muscle. RIDICULOUS. I’d never ridicule any GAY RIGHTS ORGINIZATION…when they are an gay rights orginization. There’s enough ANTI gay movements to protest out there. If I didn’t like the method inwhich a gay rights campaign evolved, I’d simply form my own, NOT try to take them out of business. That’s dumb, counter productive and a total time waster which could be devoted to targeting those who are truly against us.

  • 2 cents

    @Larry: Amen! If the plce is as holy as they say (and I believe it to be. Very historic and as a matter of fact, I look forward to visiting) why haven’t all these people protesting HRC moving in rented the places themselves?!!? Made something productive, useful and beneficiary to HOMELESS GAY YOUTH. Or a gay advocacy group for gay teenagers/bully victims in this time. Rather it be a gay orginization there than a damn hetro run generic establishment, or frozen yogurt shop!

  • Joe

    @2 cents: I’d much rather see a run of the mill chain selling yogurt because that way you know what your’e getting. With the HRC people give money only to fatten the executive staff who pocket it.
    People’s head would spin if the knew what the HRC spends money on.
    And NO, Joe Solomese should NOT be traveling first class!!!!!
    If he needs first class let him open up his wallet and pay the difference himself.
    All across the country people are being laid off. And the HRC feel that they are above it all.

  • Jason

    Cleve Jones is a self-serving douchebag. STFU. You made money off of Harvey. You spent that money on yourself. STFU.

    HRC may not be a prize, but they aren’t as small and selfish as you.

  • Jason

    And another thing. I rwad on one of the SF Blogs how “pissed off” Robin McGehee was about this. STFU Robin – you made $110,000 last year being an activist – why didn’t you rent the space? You are just as phony as Cleve Jones. Congratulations.

    Some people who say they are trying to achieve our equality are only in it for the cash.

  • customartist

    AFER (American Foundation for Equal Rights) is fighting the fight for the Rights of Gays on the front line in the Prop 8 Case.

    They do not have a team of executives making $3ook+ nor do they fly first class. They PRODUCE Visible Rezults! And for this, THEY are my preferred organization to contribute to.

    Aren’t Rezults really what matters?

    Please support Successful advocates of the Gay community, not greedy ones.

  • Kat

    “I feel that the HRC is in the right spot and time to continue the work of Harvey Milk, and they can atone, for their mistakes in the past.”


    They can’t even admit to them.

    Solmonese has yet to acknowledge that he lied through his teeth to trans people in 2007.

  • Marlene

    I’d rather see a Starbucks go in to the space, rather than have HRC’s money-making scam artists fill the space.

    HRC is a fraud, and a shill for professional gays.

    As to Jason’s infantile rant against Robin McGehee, at least Robin and Get Equal *does* things!

    I don’t see HRC’s elite going out and blocking the Las Vegas strip, or getting supporters to chain themselves to the White House fence! They’d get their $500 suits dirty! They may even have to sit in a prison cell with *shudder* common people!

    It’s time professional gays STFU, get off your lazy white asses and leave so some *real* activists can run HRC the way it’s *supposed* to be!

  • LezGetStupid

    Marlene is right – we won’t win this fight until we make enough people mad or inconvenience them. People have to be irritated by us or we make no progress. HRC is too nice to people, we need to beat the crap out of people until they submit to our demands.

    I’m done asking for my rights, I’m going to start taking hostages.

  • Beck

    Hey, my name is Beck and i have worked for 3 years providing services to homeless queer youth in the castro, downtown, tenderloin, and mission neighborhoods. That space should be funded by a collective of nonprofits to provide services to queer and transgender homeless youth. San Francisco just recently began criminalizing the act of sitting or lying on the ground, a blatant attack on our most vulnerable people. If I had the money, I’d rent the space and turn it into an intergenerational community support space where seniors and elders learned computers from youth, and youth learned the history of the lgbt movement from our elders. And so much more. So much more than selling mugs and t-shirts. That’s my 2 cents.

  • Jerry Pritikin

    @2cents… I believe that should be the work of the community Center… that gets its funding for programs for youth and seniors. HRC is providing funds from the sale of T-shirts,etc. to other worthy causes. @Marlene… blocking streets may get a 5 second play on TV, but it seldom is a tool for bringing the attention of problems within the gay community.It may have worked during the Vietnam war, or with Harvey for Anita Bryant… but this is the 21st [email protected] Kat… no group is perfect… and protest should come with solutions, instead of complaints. And I have found that being a one man army is better than knocking groups. Many groups have started OUT in the right direction, but were taken over from within. However, calling people or groups names has never worked… only people with ideas that bring people together,provide the best solutions… now stop your bitching… and put your ideas to work, and we’ll all have a better tomorrow and a Happier New Year.

  • Marlene

    Sorry, Jerry…. your assimilationist tripe won’t wash with me! We need to be in the streets marching and protesting against all forms of prejudice and bigotry!

    AFAIC, Get Equal has done more for the community in their short time than Gay Inc.’s DC schmoozing and partying! Yes, they have their place, but they’re being seen as do-nothings!

    How many leaders from HRC chained themselves to the White House gates? How many times has “Uncle Joe” and the HRC royalty gone out to support them? How many protest marches have they been a part of or supported? Not one damn bit!

    You and the rest of Gay Inc. remind me of those who tried to stop Dr. King from marching to protest Jim Crow, claiming that their quiet ways would create results. Dr. King more or less told the mice in the SCLC to grow a pair and get out there if they wanted their rights!

  • Jerry Pritikin

    @Marlene… How wrong you are… I have been involved for over 40 years… fighting for equal,human,civil and gay rights. It takes imagination to make change. It takes more then balls… it takes communication to make changes.In the early days of gay rights… there were those who advocated open gay sex in movie theaters, or public parks… I realize then, and now that name calling is ugly. I have met many bigoted gays, yelling the loudest for rights… I never wanted anything more, or less than equal rights. Wasting time is the worst solution. Actions do speak louder than words, but deeds prevail overall. AND FOR THE RECORD… I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN OUT, IN A CROWD OF STRANGERS AND FRIENDS. I OUTED MYSELF NATIONALLY IN 1977, VIA UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL WHEN I CREATED THE ANITA BRYANT’S HUSBAND IS A HOMO SAPIEN! T-shirt… and gave a buck out of a $5. T-shirt to fight Anita Bryant. I have contributed to books,documentaries and exhibits in both the gay and straight world… but I never assimilated.

  • Jeffree

    @Marlene: I forwarded copies of your supportive posts (and Tyler’s identical posts) to Robin at GetEqual. She’ll be glad to hear you’ve gone from being a critic to acting as an advocate. AndrewW will be proud!

    You should also post over at Pam’s and Bilierico to share your message, Oh wait, maybe they won’t let you…..You’ve been banned, haven’t you?

  • Kevin

    @Jerry Pritikin: We shouldn’t be paying activists. Most protesters are authentic and well-intentioned – they don’t need to be paid.

    GetEqual blew $1 million last year doing 7-8 protests. That’s a huge waste of money that could have gone to meaningful organizations. I’m glad they can’t raise any money, they don’t deserve it.

  • Jerry Pritikin

    @ Kevin… I remember reading about the President of the Red Cross… in the 1960s getting paid $100,000. a year. I felt it would be better to pay 5 people $20,000. I was told, that the President would of made more if he was in the private sector.
    When large sums of money are involved… it is best to have a qualified person… however in Chicago, the Board of a gay run 501
    non-profit wasted large sums of money as well as lined their pockets. It’s almost a no win. Volunteers should get rewarded for their time… free tickets to events, etc.

  • Marlene

    @Jerry Pritikin: Jerry — That’s great that you’ve been an activist for so long… but what have *you* done to ensure that *I* as a transwoman have the same rights as everyone else?

  • Marlene

    @Jeffree: Jeff — I’ve *never*been a opponent of GetEqual… in fact, afaic, they’ve done more for the movement in their short history than Gay, Inc. has done in *decades*!

    As to PHB, I’ve been posting there for about three or four years. I’ve never been banned, but have been suspended from commenting for a week once. I consider Autumn to be a friend and would love to meet her one day as well as Pam.

Comments are closed.