Groupon Gets Hate Mail Over Charitable Safe-Sex Campaign For Boston LGBT Youth

Former Queerty contributor Joseph Sanchez writes in to tell us about the backlash to a Groupon charity deal arranged by the Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth (BAGLY). Says Sanchez:

For the past few days, BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth) has been running a Groupon campaign in order to provide attendees of their LGBTQ youth prom with free, anonymous health screening (including a rapid HIV/AIDS test) and a safe-sex packet, all for only $12. The latter contains three condoms (including one internal condom), lubrication, and cards that provide information about health topics such as intimate partner violence and smoking cessation.

Unfortunately, some Groupon users have objected to this charitable mission, and they’ve taken to sending hate mail in response to the campaign. I’ve compiled some responses, varying in different degrees of craziness and close-minded blathering.

We’re thinking the charity deal went out to more than just the fairly tolerant Boston area, because some of the responses are downright Podunk (and some reference the fact that they’re confused why they received the offer because they don’t live in Boston).

Without further adieu ado, the hate mail.

1. “If Karma was involved, [Groupon] would be reincarnated as a bacteria in a steaming pile of crap.”

2. “As an advertiser, you become morally liable for the ads you run, and the people you lead astray or confirm in their sin.”

3. “LGBT proms are not cute or fun to many that currently use your services.”

See seven more pieces of this Groupon-backlash hate mail over at Joseph Sanchez’s Tumblr.

UPDATE: Here’s a statement from BAGLY’s director of development and marketing, Kurtlan Massarky:

First, I want to thank everyone who HAS supported BAGLY’s campaign to provide Rapid HIV tests and risk reduction packets to young people attending our LGBT Youth Prom. For a grassroots organization, even one with the longevity of BAGLY, we’ve had a wonderful response from many folks. I can’t say that these types of responses are completely surprising, but what signals a new and dangerous critique is the people who would prefer LGBT youth to remain in the dark about their HIV status and prevention methods.

Groupon is walking a fine line, and we can appreciate that.  So far they’ve done very well at honoring their contractual agreement with BAGLY, but we have seen subtle changes. Initially the campaign was supposed to be included in every market’s (except Chicago’s) daily e-mail, but we’ve been told that it would only run 3 out of the 7 days. Groupon has a great history of working with the LGBT community, and I expect they understand the value of that commitment.

Personally, I’m not surprised that Groupon has received these complaints.  My disappointment is increased in conjunction with the consistent denial of resources for LGBT youth whenever sex, sexual health, or substance use, comes in to the conversation. It’s almost as if people are saying that it’s okay that young people identify as part of the LGBT community, as long as they are effectively sexually and culturally sterilized. We know that’s not how young people operate, and to block access to health education and risk reduction to some of THE most marginalized people in our communities, is sending a clear message that these young people are not valued and that their health deserves to be compromised.

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  • Bill

    How easily such hatred and degradation comes from the heterosexual.

    I feel such sorrow for them.

  • dvlaries

    Wake up, America. Teenagers, gay or straight, are going to fuck, whether you like it or not. I did, you did, and today’s teens are doing it too. I can think of no greater, willful ignorance than denying them solid, factual information and safe-sex supplies only to appease the squeamishness of an older generation that now wants to live in the comfort of denial. It seems to me the ultimate in child abuse to risk their lives to coddle one’s own hypocrisy.

  • Jamie

    If they had used the correct term ‘safer-sex supplies’, isntead of safe-sex, I wonder if it would have made a difference for butthead #1.

  • rachel

    Just so someone can fix this for credibility purposes in the article: it’s “without further ado,” not “without further adieu.” Common mistake but a big one!



  • Stephen

    Yey, Groupon.

  • Mk_ultra_again

    Let them show their psychosis. They are their own smear campaign. Let’s just keep on handing them that rope they want to hang themselves with.

  • PTBoat

    It just sounds like crazy NOM, Focus on the Family, and Family Research Council plants. They are not enormous, but they are certainly vocal.


    I’m going to be that annoying guy who comments on a post he’s mentioned in! The link for the Groupon campaign doesn’t work, but you can find it here:


    If you’re able to, please take a moment and support the cause! There’s a possibility that this could have an impact on whether Groupon takes on LGBTQ causes in the future.

  • rahulsouk

    This is really interesting but Groupon only allows one off purchases like a coupon. I think companies like Healthsouk.com which allows for further negotiation of services after the initial appointment to be much better. I have used both models in my private practice and found that http://www.healthsouk.com was more effective (I got more repeat customers) and it was free to use for doctors. Looks like us doctors aren’t going to all just get up and leave private practice altogether any

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