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Hotelier Doug Manchester Can Keep His Blood Money


When Doug Manchester tried to buy his way back into the good graces of the gay community, plenty of you scoffed. Manchester, who donated $125,000 to support Prop 8, now finds himself wishing he didn’t, which is why he (and his gay publicist Howard Bragman) were so proud to announce they would donate $25,000 to an organization (that supported only civil unions) and offer $100,000 in credits to gay and lesbians to stay at his hotels, which include the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Too bad nobody wants his blood money.

After Manchester’s donation was revealed, a boycott was quickly put in place. Not only did gay and lesbian travels cancel their reservations, but so too did gay-friendly organizations who yanked their conference dollars. One estimate pegs that total losses Manchester suffered at $7 million, which is even more significant for those in the travel industry given the current economy. And making it worse for Manchester? Nobody wants his stinkin’ money. Not even Joe Solmonese! Gay & Lesbian Times:

The Human Rights Campaign announced it would not accept the $25,000, and Fred Karger of Californians Against Hate says his coalition is not budging. Manchester’s offer of $100,000 in hotel credits and services merely seeks to divide the GLBT community on the boycott, he says.

Manchester and Bragman had hoped to bypass such boycott organizers by taking the offer right to gay travel professionals, the press and the blogosphere, and at first some may have been tempted by his offer of $100,000 in free hotel credits to deserving San Diego GLBT groups and puzzled by his sudden concern about local GLBT groups. After all, it’s a very difficult time for nonprofits, and that kind of gesture is not insignificant.

Bragman was banking on groups taking advantage of the free room and meeting credits crossing the picket lines. In turn, he hoped Manchester could claim he was actually helping local groups and thereby marginalize Karger and his coalition.

But Karger and his coalition of community and union leaders stood firm. No local organization would cross a picket line or take money. With the boycott as well known as it is, who would even show up for the event, knowing there is an ongoing GLBT and labor boycott?


Meanwhile, some of the shit in this storm is being thrown at publicist Bragman, a gay man who Manchester hired to get him out of this mess.

He dismisses Manchester’s views as understandable given Manchester’s age (66) and religion (Catholic). And he says lack of bridge building, not donations by wealthy donors such as Manchester, is to blame for Proposition 8’s passage. “That’s why we lost Prop. 8, not enough bridge building,” Bragman said in one press story. Sounds like a feeble attempt to justify working for one of Proposition 8’s biggest supporters. Sadly, Bragman married his partner during the summer and so has every reason to want Proposition 8 to be struck down. But it seems that all the Benjamins Manchester is throwing at him made Bragman forget his own words.

Bragman wrote a commentary for the Huffington Post last November saying, “To my brothers and sisters in the GLBT movement and our friends, I urge you to use every legal and moral tool at your disposal to change hearts and minds. Peaceful protests, boycotts and community organizing are the tools of our trade and ultimately the things that will win this struggle.”

What’s worse: A Catholic bigot like Manchester who thinks he can dupe us in to forgiving him with a little cash? Or Bragman, a member of our own community, who’s perfectly fine accepting cash from folks like Manchester and, previously, Isaiah “Faggot” Washington?

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  • edgyguy1426

    I hope this guy is scorned by all his close gay friends, but then, they’re probably the ones currently staying at Manchester’s hotels.

  • jj

    Age and religion does not excuse harming people’s lives through American law.

  • kevin (not that one)

    Bragman is a part of our community and I would hope people would reserve their venom for the ilks of Maggie Gallagher, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and Michael Savage.

    All of us at one point or another have worked jobs that conflicted with our personal ethics. How many of us knowingly sold homes to people who couldn’t afford them, or work for health insurance companies who purposely deny benefits to the sick so that the company becomes more profitable?

    How many of us work for companies that evict the poor and the disabled from their homes? And how many of us work for corporations that pollute the planet?

    Ignore Bragman. It’s really Manchester who is at fault here. He made a terrible decision to fund a hateful piece of legislation and we should continue to remind him of it. Good for those groups, like HRC (who I’m usually not a fan of), for not crossing the picket line.

  • Joey

    Why aren’t you a fan of the HRC?

  • kevin (not that one)

    @Joey: Their agenda and organization has always been too narrow for my tastes. For example, in the past (perhaps still?) they’ve given favorable ratings to politicians who are somewhat okay on gay (note: not LGBT) issues, but in every other aspect are simply horrendous.

    If Hitler supported domestic partnerships, they’d give him a favorable rating.

  • Bruno

    I guess I’m still unclear as to whether or not Bragman’s intentions are to bridge the gap between the likes of Manchester and the LGBT community, or simply take their big bucks to make some sort of show of that. I hate to say that I’m leaning towards the latter…it’s not like Bragman is doing pro bono work here.

    Doug Manchester played a big role in putting Bragman’s marriage in jeopardy, and all he seems to care about are Manchester’s dollars. That’s shameful.

  • Dave

    Bragman clearly has no conviction to the words he said in the past. Clearly an opportunist and he is definitely not building these magical bridges…he’s building his bank account on the backs of LGBT community and their rights. Oh Judas…

  • KyleR

    All I can wonder about is, when the fiances get tight for this douche, who will be the first to face the ax? Would it be those that are LGBT in retaliation for the boycott?

    And that publicist took a job. At a time when jobs are rare. I would like to think that he would have said no, out of solidarity. But right now, work is work.

  • kevin (not that one)

    @Dave: To be honest, I’d never heard of him until this article. I know absolutely nothing about him. However, Bragman must have reasons for working for this guy. Somewhere in his mind, it’s justified. As a married gay man, he is a victim of his employers decision and I doubt the irony isn’t lost on him.

    Is he in it just for the money and notoriety? Perhaps. But let’s just all remember the thing about boycotts: they aren’t meant to last forever. They’re meant to achieve a political aim. Bragman’s political aim may be the same as those who are now calling him a “Judas”.

    Like I said, I know nothing about him, but generosity requires giving someone the benefit of the doubt before judging them.

  • atdleft

    @Bruno: Who knows? I just find it pathetic that Bragman is doing this. Oh, and I definitely can’t see how his husband is happy about this… Unless he’s also getting a furlough from Manchester.

  • ggreen

    @kevin (not that one):
    Bragman is not some semi-skilled homosexual that must work at Walmart because there isn’t another employer within 100 miles.

    This guy is most likely a millionaire who picks and chooses his clients based on their ability to pay.

    Bragman and his husband have enough money to shield them from any kind of real discrimination. (Funny how money does that).

    As far as Bragman being part of “our community”. Walk up to him the next time you see him and watch how fast he calls for security to get you out of his community.

  • Sandogg

    Bragman is a whore. No further explanation needed.

  • Betrue

    The Manchester Hotel Boycott continue unabated even after marriage equality is achieved as a signal nationally and internationally to all other entrepreneurs and politicians who market and solicit the LGBT community, while simultaneously using their profits to deny them equal rights. It is a kin to apartheid.

    The power of capitalism is perhaps the most effective tool to achieve social reform.

    Since Manchester is so happy using his money to take away other people’s rights, his capital resources should vanish in correspondence. The age of special interests’ hold over our government and society is over. Manchester obviously didn’t get the memo.

    After this is said and done, what prevents Manchester from blocking LGBT reform at the federal level, or funding another state campaign against LGBT rights? The Hyatt should also be held absolutely accountable as a funding channel for Manchester’s discriminatory tactics.

    May the Hyatt Boycott Spread Nationally Until It Terminates It’s Relationship with Manchester.

    Bravo Manchester Boycott, KEEP UP THE FIGHT!!

  • Brian Miller

    The power of capitalism is perhaps the most effective tool to achieve social reform.

    That’s right!

    Yet too few LGBT people use it, and too many wait for Big Daddy Obama to take care of us.

  • Justin

    @Betrue: That sounds wonderful, it really does, if it weren’t for one problem…Hyatt as a national company is extremely gay-friendly. I understand why a national boycott would make sense, but we’d be hurting a company that’s been an ally fot a long time.

  • Attmay

    @kevin (not that one): “If Hitler supported domestic partnerships, they’d give him a favorable rating.”

    Quoted for truth.

  • Cam

    I don’t care if he spends a million dollars to fund a gay community center in my name, I would never stay in one of his hotels. If he wants to win gays back, here is an idea. how about donating $150,000 to pass a resolution to get marriage Re-Legalized in CA? That would bring back my business.

  • yeson8won

    Great to see all you homosexuals activists demonstrating your hateful, bigoted, intolerant attitude towards people who exercise the freedom to oppose your attempts to redefine marriage.

    Of course if the situation was reversed and traditional marriage supporters were trying to close down businesses run by homosexuals, trying to get homosexuals kicked out of their jobs, attacking homosexuals in the street etc, then you would be wailing like school girls and demanding even more ‘anti-discrimination’ laws!

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