The Anglo File

UK Superstore Tesco Pulling London Pride Support Due To Christian Boycott

Last week, Queerty reported about a small-potatoes boycott against the giant UK retailer and grocery store chain, Tesco, because a senior exec criticized anti-gay Christians in his Flickr profile.

We didn’t think that the boycott, led by the UK-based Christian Institute, would go anywhere. And from the comments on the article, neither did our readers.

Randy said, “Unfocused boycotts supported by very few people equals failed boycott. This will probably be the last you hear of it, and it will die a quiet death.”

Mike UK said sarcastically, “I’m sure Tesco must be quaking in their boots!”

Well, perhaps they are: Tesco had Research and Development director Nick Lansley take down his comment, and, since then, has pulled its charitable support for the annual London Pride celebration, stating that they would rather “support projects with practical benefits rather than events.”

Developing community and battling homophobia apparently aren’t practical.

In an email to the Christian Institute, a Tesco rep explained that the company’s support of the LGBT community “implies no moral, philosophical or political stance.”

Most of our charitable and community support is however focused on delivering practical benefits, rather than on funding awareness-raising events.

We will therefore discuss with Out at Tesco how we can support them in future years in ways that will not include sponsoring events.

We hope this will enable us to be true to our belief that everyone is welcome at Tesco without polarising opinion.

Out at Tesco is the store’s LGBT employee support network, with some 500 members nationwide.

Feeling the backlash from the backlash, Tesco told PinkNews it “would be dismayed if any readers felt we were anything other than fully committed to Out at Tesco and our LGBT staff… We are totally committed to tolerance and inclusion inside and outside our business. We will go on supporting Out at Tesco beyond Pride 2012.”

When the American LGBT community attempts boycotts of Target, Taco Bell, ExxonMobil, Chick-fil-A and dozens of other U.S. companies with anti-gay policies, we get little or no response. It’s rather curious to see a giant retailer running about trying to make everyone happy.

It must be said that the Brits have manners.

Images via Mark Hillary

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #boycott #pinknews #tesco stories and more


  • jason

    Tesco seems very cowardly. I certainly won’t be doing my shopping there in the future. Cowardly, cowardly, cowardly.

  • Fagburn

    Tesco had never pledged to support Pride London in the future.

    The idea Tesco “dropped” Pride London because of a threatened Christian Institute boycott is a self-serving fantasy put out in a press release from The Christian Institute.

    If Tesco don’t want to publicly back a gay event such as Pride to placate the CI, why are they publicly supporting an LGBT workers group?

    Pride London is a money magnet for corporate sponsorship – I’d imagine an LGBT workers group need money far more.

  • tookietookie

    Where will I buy me tea and pastries?!

  • Caliban

    Bad move. Regardless of the issue, giving in or even appearing to give in to “religious” boycotts only guarantees more such threats in the future.

  • Lefty

    @Fagburn: Thanks. It’s incredibly depressing – if sadly not all that surprising – to see the gay press unwittingly validating the fantasies of the Christian Institute.

  • Fagburn

    @Lefty: It’s all the more amazing that they did bother to contact Tesco – and still got the story arse over tit…

  • Dan

    Just start a counter Christian protest – one that is pro-human rights. The Christian Institute only speaks for a couple people.

  • Mike UK

    I’m sure someone can start a gay boycott and we can all start shopping at Sainsburys, Asda or Morrisons instead and again i doubt tesco will give a rats arse!

  • Karl.

    I wouldnt be seen dead or alive shopping at Tesco anyway, its a dreadfully trailer-trash place.

  • Carl

    This is quite a misleading piece, as others have stated – Tesco will still fund the 2012 London Pride. Also, they have pledged to continue support of the LGBT community but in ways more substantial than helping to fund a three-day piss up. Personally, I would much rather they support the community in others ways, ways that have a far better impact.

    Also, this isn’t really a change of policy – they had not announced any continuing plans to to fund Pride Piss Ups long into the future and the company already supports LGBT groups. It seems to me that this is simply Tesco rewording it’s existing policy in a way to get the whining folks to shut up.

  • Derek Williams

    I won’t be boycotting Tesco just yet – after all, that is where I buy my Gay Times and Attitude magazines, unless of course they were to cease stocking them if the heat turns up too much.

    We have really little choice but to acknowledge that LGBT are not Tesco’s only customers, and that Christian and other religious customers probably outnumber us 10/1, so they can survive perfectly well if no gay people shop there. I think Tesco’s stated policy of inclusion makes sense, if for example they were to fund an LGBT counselling service for youth at risk, I would consider that an acceptable alternative to funding a parade. The gesture is symbolic anyway, but as such is still of great significance.

    For these reasons, I’d rather negotiate. It makes no sense as a first course of action to boycott a retailer that has supported us until now, while they attempt to make peace with their other customers.

  • Mike UK

    boycotts do not work in this country anyway to have enough impact on companies the size of tesco, there aren’t enough people in any one group that can make that much difference and with £1 out of every £10 spent in the UK being spent in Tesco I’m sure they can cope with losing a few thousand customers.

  • Lefty

    Boycotting Pink News might be a better idea – ’til they start doing proper journalism instead of promoting the agenda of homophobes like the Christian Institute.

  • Carl

    @Lefty: Pinknews do a darn site better job of reporting than queerty, which is little more than a gossip column, if the truth is told. I come here to get an idea what’s happening across the pond, but every story I then read up on, because there is always a sensationalist slant here. Less on pinknews – and it covers more UK stories, which is obviously a plus for me.

  • jason

    I don’t like Pink News and I don’t like the general level of activism in the UK. They don’t seem to be very activist over there, particularly at the social level. There’s a lot of homophobia in the UK which manifests as segregation. Gay people are very segregated over there.

    Pink News has, to my knowledge, failed to report on pop singer Rihanna’s support for homophobic murder musicians.

  • alan

    At least Tesco stocks gay men’s magazines. Here in Australia, our main supermarket chains refuse to stock them.

  • Carl

    @jason: What a load of nonsense. As an openly bisexual individual, I have a great many acquaintances both straight and LGBT and they mingle and co-exist happily. There is no segregation (I’ve never heard such utter crap in my life) here, sure some people live around the gay villages in places like Manchester, but that’s the same in any major US city too. I live in a relatively rural area and have encountered very little homophobia – and contrary to Little Britain, I am not “the only gay in the village”. There is some, as you get anywhere outside of large cities, but it has been very minor.

    In general the UK is one of the least homophobic places I know, far less than US – in part because the country is far smaller, so communities are far less isolated than in the states. That lack of isolation lends to a more tolerant soviety, I have found. Also, we have provisions under the law that make public discrimination illegal on the grounds of race, sex, religion, disability, sexuality and so on.

    As for the apparent lack of activism, could it be because we have little left to be activist about? The last step, marriage equality, is almost won – the Prime Minister has pledged to have marriage open to same sex couples by 2015. The blanket ban on blood donorship is gone – although I disagree with the 12 month ban, it’s a vast improvement over what we had before. Also, do not forget that, in general, we Brits are far more reserved than you Yanks – we don’t start protesting and wailing at the drop of a hat. Do not mistake a lack of vocal protest for a lack of activism in general.

  • Ian

    Well, this is disappointing and a bit surprising. I suppose we should all take solace in the fact that Tesco says they still want to “tolerate” us. How inviting.

  • Fagburn

    @Carl: Joke?
    Pink News idea of new-sourcing is typing “Gay” into Google News.
    They just reprint right-wing crap from the Daily Mail without checking it or even questioning if it’s a reflection of right-wing anti-gay bias.

  • Carl

    @Fagburn: If you say so – some fool on a message board told you, so it must be true. As a regular reader there, I haven’t seen an anti-gay bias. I mean, I know it’s not as “wooooooooooooo gays wooooooooooo” as queerty, but I put that down to 1) Brit reserve and 2) lack of sensationalism. As I’ve said before, I use queerty merely to get an idea of what’s happening over the pond, it’s the digital gay equivalent of the daily sport (before it folded). Pinknews is the sun or daily mirror…

    And I’d put PN’s journalistic talents way above mr villarreals…

  • Lefty

    @Carl: Have you got any examples of top quality journalism from Pink News – i’d love to read it. I’ve come to realise that site is many times more of a hindrance to our cause than a help. Which I find sad, as it is one of the biggest news sources in the UK –> bit less reprinting press releases verbatim and more genuine journalism (ie. INVESTIGATING the news) and it would be great. Queerty had an element of HUMOUR and tongue-in-cheek running through most of what it publishes –> it’s the best US site for gay news, and much can be garnered by comparison to one of its “competitors” the mind-numbingly dull Towelroad, for instance. I prefer Queerty by a long shot and wouldn’t dream of visiting PN these days, after far too much frustration at their complete lack of journalism — their travel section is probably good “Gay Holidays Abroad For Gay Holidayers Going Abroad For Their Holidays”. Lazy, apolitical, dangerous lack of journalism and shocking reliance on regurgitating press releases verbatim, sure – but for the upwardly mobile gay who likes gay beaches and gay restaurants in gay parts of foreign countries it’s a BOON! :)

  • Lefty

    Bradley Manning is gay and has dual British citizenship – you’d think his story would be of interest to gay readers in the UK — and even if he didn’t have dual-citizenship, the story is still of interest to a gay audience in the UK. Manning was in prison for over 18 months before Pink News printed a single article about him. Shameful.

  • Mike UK

    @jason: have you actually ever been to the UK because you are talking complete tosh! where is this “segregation” you talk of, I’ve yet to find it!

  • jameseq

    Lol, yeah thats why in the 90s we brits had ‘queer as folk’ running on our tv. did you see your version?
    a bit tame, wasnt it

  • Fagburn

    @Carl: Hi. I didn’t say this this was anti-gay – just that it wasn’t true.
    Tesco are coporate cnuts – well worth our hate, but Queerty’s headline is a lie (and libelous).
    Well done the Gay Media – another winner etc etc!

  • Carl

    @Lefty: I haven’t said PN is cracking journalism – it isn’t, most of its stories are a day or two late, compiled from other sources. It’s just a handy springboard where stories are collated, which saves on a lot of search time. As for it being apolitical – ie, unbiased towards politics – good. At a news site I want to read the story, not someone’s politically fuelled rant (I’ll watch fox news on the net if that’s what I want). Neither queerty nor PN are stellar examples of journalism, I just prefer PN’s attitude of “here’s a story” to queerty’s (okay, largely mr villarreal’s) pantomime approach (boo the villains, cheer the heroes). I want info, not opinion. I would have thought my comparison to various tabloids made that clear.

  • Lefty

    @Carl: You’d be hard pressed to find a news outlet that isn’t politically biased in one way or another – when I said PN was apolitical I should’ve said politically naive –> ie. they’re too thick to realise they’re giving ammunition to the Christian Institute.

    “most of its stories are a day or two late, compiled from other sources”

    And even then they’re very rarely checked it seems – just reprinted unquestioningly.
    I think that laziness and naivety is dangerous and I gave up on it a long time ago.

  • Fagburn

    @Carl: Pink News is harddle apolitlical. It’s run by a Tory – one of its very first articles was on how gay people should vote Tory.
    Also regularly prints Zionist crap.

  • Fagburn

    @Carl: Pink News is hardly apolitlical. It’s run by a Tory – one of its very first articles was on how gay people should vote Tory.
    Also regularly prints Zionist crap.

  • Fagburn

    @Carl: Pink News is hardly apolitical. It’s run by a Tory – one of its very first articles was on how gay people should vote Tory.
    Also regularly prints Zionist crap.

  • Fagburn

    Sorry about the repposts – I tried to correct my awful spelling.

Comments are closed.