h8 footprints

If You Buy Anti-Gay Products, Can You ‘Offset’ the Hate?


You’ve heard about carbon offsetting, where your decision to drive a Hummer or fly by private jet can be “offset” by paying a fee to a company like TerraPass to reduce your carbon footprint elsewhere. But what about hate offsetting? As in, if you want to buy a product from somebody who supports anti-gay efforts, can you offset your funding of homophobia by giving money to a pro-gay cause?

No, you cannot. And it’s ridiculous to assume you could.

Except that’s what the website GayGamer was advising video gamers this summer who absolutely had to purchase the Xbox 360 title Shadow Complex, which is based on sci-fi writer Orson Scott Card’s Empire series. Which means in all likelihood (we haven’t read the contracts) that your purchase of Shadow Complex from Chair Entertainment and Epic Game puts money directly into the pocket of Card, the National Organization for Marriage board member who thinks men and women become gay through childhood rape or molestation. (Card also called for the overthrow of government if Prop 8 didn’t pass.)

By many accounts, Shadow Complex is a fantastic game. And just because it’s benefiting a virulent homophobe isn’t enough to keep some players from buying the game. So if you must have it, GayGamer advises you “offset” the hate funding by donating a few bucks to a gay charity. Will that be enough to keep you with a clear conscious?

It shouldn’t.

Putting money directly into the hands of parties who campaign against gay rights is hard to defend on any level, even if you’re also giving money to groups fighting for gay rights. You cannot have it both ways.


You cannot buy Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight — which, because she is Mormon, some 10 percent of her profits will end up going to the Church’s anti-gay crusade — and then also donate the same amount to the Courage Campaign. You are still funding hatred. You don’t get to stay at Prop 8-funder Doug Manchester’s Hyatt hotel in San Diego and then write a check for the price of your room and mini bar addiction to Equality California.

Consider the second-grade logic: It’s the equivalent of donating cash to Protect Maine Equality and Stand For Marriage Maine. You wouldn’t consider that scenario. So why are you considering the others? Because you absolutely must buy products that benefit civil rights rapists?

You might be able to find a moral excuse in there somewhere. We can’t. But we’re willing to be swayed.