Boycotts 101: Why the gay boycott of Russian vodka is already working

While there’s been a rather massive explosion of support in the past five days for a boycott of all things Russia, especially vodka (and especially Stolichnaya, aka Stoli), some have asked about the wisdom of targeting Stoli, vodka, or Russian products at all, let alone the wisdom of boycotts.

Call this post: Boycotts 101.

First a little background…

As most of you know, over the past few years the Russian government has severely clamped down on its gay and trans communities. In addition to increasing violence, coordinated by far-right “thugs” thought by many to be in cahoots with the Russia authorities, the Russian parliament, with the help of President Vladimir Putin, has been taking a series of anti-gay and anti-trans actions.

Those actions include blocking adoptions of Russian children by any country that recognizes marriage equality for gay couples.  Concern grew even further with the recent passage of a law that basically makes anything and everything gay, and pro-gay, in Russia illegal.  Even uttering words believed to be pro-gay are illegal, and wearing anything perceived to be pro-gay is also against the law (someone was actually arrested for wearing rainbow suspenders).

Worse yet, the new Russian law specifically targets pro-gay foreigners, and threatens to jail them for 14 days before kicking them out of the country.  Under the Russian law, foreign companies that offer any kind of same-sex benefits, even simply having a corporate non-discrimination policy that recognizes the rights of gay and trans employees, could now be breaking the law in Russia, and both the employer and employee could face imprisonment, or the simpler Russian way of enforcing the law, simply beating the crap out of, or disappearing, everyone involved.

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

The same man, after the beating:

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

Russian anti-gay thugs kick an LGBT rights activist. (Photo by Ilya Varlamov, with permission)

There are also concerns about the safety of athletes and attendees at next year’s Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics, as the brutal beating of gay and trans people in Russia, with the wink and nod of the authorities, is sharply on the rise.

And while the International Olympic Committee claims, oddly, to have brokered a deal with the Russian government that Olympic athletes and visitors “may” be held harmless from Russia’s anti-gay laws, it’s not entirely clear how local skinheads, following the presumed orders of local Russian officials, are going to discern between Russian gays, who are fair game to beat the cr*p out, and Olympic gays, who are not.

Perhaps the IOC can assign pink triangles to the athletes in question.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

Gays in Nazi Germany were considered a threat to German purity. The Nazis arrested 100,000 men, with 10,000 to 15,000 sent to concentration camps to die.

In response, a boycott was born.

Boycotts don’t work. Unless they do.

As a rule, boycotts are a bad idea because they don’t work.

Until they do work.

Then they’re a great idea.

When a group of us targeted “Dr.” Laura Schlessinger in 2000 with our StopDrLaura.com campaign (the group include me, Mike Signorile, Alan Klein, Robin Tyler, William Waybourn, Joel Lawson and many others ), we went after the advertisers for her then-upcoming TV show, and we ended being wildly successful, scaring off nearly 200 advertisers, and eventually killing the show.

stopdrlaura

And while I wasn’t pleased that they never went in for the metaphorical-kill, the boycott of Rush Limbaugh’s advertisers a few years back was also quite successful, and is still causing him serious pain.  (My gripe with that effort was that the organizational leaders backing the boycott never took it seriously, IMHO, never put up the money and staffing necessary for making it truly effective, and thus they Limbaugh slip away when we could have dealt his show a metaphorical-death-blow.)

But both instances show that, when well done, and done at the right time against the right target, boycotts can work, depending on how you define “work.”

The problem however is that too many people yell “boycott” when neither the time nor the target is right.  Their boycott then doesn’t even make a dent, and thus our cause looks feckless.  So boycotts themselves aren’t necessarily a bad idea. Rather, flippantly calling for a boycott at every drop of a hat is a bad idea.

What’s the goal of a boycott?

Some have suggested that boycotting Russian vodka is ineffective as we won’t be able to make a big enough dent in any one company, and the companies involved won’t do anything real to try to influence Russian leaders.

And maybe that’s all true, but the point of a boycott isn’t always the boycott itself.  People often lose sight of that simple organizing fact.  My goal in this campaign is to make clear to countries that homophobia is not okay, and that they will pay a severe price for oppressing their gay and trans citizens.  And that goal can be accomplished whether or not Stoli or any other Russian brand loses a lot of, or “enough,” (or any) money.

LuLu's in Palm Spring, California. A straight, but not narrow, establishment.

LuLu’s in Palm Spring, California. A straight, but not narrow, establishment.

Rather, the boycott is a tool – a foil, really – to foment and galvanize public ire in a way that generates publicity and eventually harms the brand of the ultimate target, in this case Brand Russia.

If the damage to the brands of tactical targets like Stoli, Russian products generally, individual governments around the world, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) becomes so extensive, pervasive, and unceasing, they will be forced to help us pressure the most important brand of all, Brand Russia and its leaders in parliament and the Kremlin, to make permanent change on this issue – if for no other reason than to simply make us all just go away.

It’s a multi-front psychological war, really.  You’re trying to throw as much at the enemy as you can, from all directions (caveat: without watering down your assault by overextending yourself or your message), in order to make them finally admit, even if just to themselves, that it simply was not worth the price they are paying for having taken you on.  And hopefully, once burned, twice shy.

Is the Vodka / Stoli boycott working?

Hell yeah.

This issue has been bubbling up for a few years now, but it hasn’t really gone anywhere, in terms of true widespread international support from the grassroots and the media, until just a week or so ago.  Why?  Because Harvey Fierstein penned a piece in the NYT, Matt Stopera at Buzzfeed assembled 36 killer (literally) photos of gay and trans people in Russia being brutally beaten, and Dan Savage pulled all the strings together into a call for a boycott of Russian vodka.

Wayla-bar-toronto-stoli-bar

That’s when the dams burst, the floodgates opened, and the world suddenly cared – really cared – about the plight of gay and trans people in Russia.  Bars across America, Canada, Australia and Europe started dropping Russian vodka, gay and trans people and our allies across the globe got enraged and engaged, and the international media suddenly found a hot new story that they’re stumbling over each other to report on.

hi-tops-bar

The grand impact of all of that?  More pressure on Brands B (Stoli, Russian vodka, Russian goods, foreign governments and the IOC), and ultimately more pressure on Brand A (Brand Russia).

The very fact that this issue was ignored for years, and now is a page one story worldwide, is proof that the Stoli boycott “worked.”  At least “worked” for Stage 1, galvanizing the public and the media.  Now we have to fight Stage 2 simultaneously, channeling that growing ire towards positive change.

It also doesn’t hurt see other vodka brands jumping in on the boycott as an opportunity – that only feeds the flames that much more:

skyy-vodka-russia-boycott

What about the naysayers?

In my twenty years of national (and international) gay rights advocacy, I’ve learned that the naysayers are part of the job.  Any time you launch a campaign, someone will always know better than you, they’ll always undercut the effort, claim it to be a bad idea, misdirected, ineffective, and even counterproductive.

That is, until you start winning.  Then they’re your biggest fan :)

But in all seriousness, a lot of people need advocacy to be proven to them, they need to see it in action to realize that it can work if done wisely.  And many of the naysayers are simply people who don’t know any better because they’ve never experienced anything better.  And part of the blame goes to all the failed “boycotts” that have made “boycott” a bad word.

But some are saying that we should be targeting anti-gay members of the Russian parliament instead of vodka?  What about that?

Well, we’ve just spent two years talking about how anti-gay Russian government officials are, and it got us bupkiss until Dan Savage came up with the idea of targeting Stoli.  You just can’t launch a campaign that’s going to inspire the masses in America, or likely anywhere else, that focuses on four no-name Russian legislators that no one has ever heard of.  People need a clear and easy target of opportunity, and that, more often than not, is a company, and not some previously-unheard-of foreign member of parliament 5,000 miles away.

That’s not to say that we shouldn’t eventually try to expand our targets to more companies, and eventually target the worst of the worst of the Russian government.  I’m all for my country refusing entry visas to those parliamentarians, should they ever try to visit the US.  But the American people aren’t going to rally around that cause, and the US government isn’t going to listen to anyone promoting that specific course of action, until and unless we generate enough ire, domestically and internationally.  And currently, the only game in town that’s generating the necessary fire and brimstone is the Russian vodka boycott.  That doesn’t mean we don’t branch out at some point – but it does mean that we don’t give up the best thing we got. 

Where do we go from here?

Stay tuned.  This thing has only begun.  But for a movement that’s really only existed for 5 days – and I don’t mean local activists, they’ve been fighting this for years, I mean a true international grassroots movement energized and angry over the treatment of gays and trans people in Russia – getting a huge feature story in the Associated Press isn’t nothin’.

This boycott has begun as well as any boycott could, and really far better than even I expected.  And now that we have nearly two dozen of Russia’s top LGBT activists on board the international boycott effort, I expect things to get even more interesting.  It’s been a fine five days.  I’m looking forward to many more.

#dumpstoli


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • SCRIBBLES_SCRIBBLES, ADD

    Those are kids beating on an adult while other adults are present. This shows nothing. This is turning into racism. FYI. We need to not blow this out of proportion. I’m not biased. I do not put my nose into others business unless it looks violent. This is just violence from some kids. If it were the adults doing anything that would be worse. This is out of context. Who knows what the LGBT guy was up to. If he’s bugging the anti gay people he will probably face consequences, just as if a anti gay went to a LGBT and talked smack. I have no opinion on politics. This could be phoney alwell. Don’t listen to me. Just giving some insight from a by stander net surfer.

    -chow… LIVE LONG LOVE HARD WORK HAPPY

  • Mark

    In the Second war 1944 Stalingrad. Russians fight against the Nazi´s, they call them facists. And what happens now in 2013 after the war? Why a lot of russians are now being facists. See what they do against gay people. The same what happens against the juwish and others and see now. The past about Stallingrad the russian nothing lurns about it. So we have to fight and say to the Russians, no More History 1944, facsist. Stop the facists !!!

  • Kaalee83

    Okay this has plenty of flaws. First of all have you even done your research? Because if you have you’d know that Stoli is a firm believer of LGBT rights. In 2006 they funded a tv show on LOGO called Be Real: Stories from Queer America, and currently have two exclusive national partnerships with Gaycities.com and Queerty.com to find the Most Original Stoli Guy. They support the Durban Gay Pride initiative in South Africa, the Pride Parade in Vienna. They are in cooperation with HOSA and CT which are the two biggest LGBT communities in Australia and were part of the Tel Aviv Pride Parade. Further more the Russian government does not own any part of Stoli…it’s privately owned by the SPI group which headquarters are in Luxemburg! They get their ingredients and they process it in Russia that is true but the only thing you’re doing if you boycott Stoli is putting those people, who’s rights are already getting taken away, into unemployment. So next time you go to boycott something…make sure it’s for a good reason.

  • Moderator3

    If you post the same comment repeatedly, the DISQUS system may consider it spamming. If it were to be marked as spam, the system will automatically ban you from the site.

    There is no way that we could block you from responding back to someone. Obviously, since you were able to respond to me.

  • br

    The plugin wasn’t posting. The comment still isn’t visible. And why are
    you blocking people from responding to comments back at them?

  • Moderator3

    Please do not post the same entry more than once.

  • br

    Yes, they purchase ingredients grown in Russia to make their product. That doesn’t mean they are a Russian product. That is like suggesting your iPod is a product of South Africa simply because that is where some of the raw materials are sourced. Component materials are sourced from several locations for any one product. But that doesn’t change the nationality of the product brand.

    And NO, SPI has no operations in Russia. SPI is based in Luxembourg. They have holdings all over the world. The company SPI Group was created after a legal dispute with the Russian government over the original company’s ownership and holdings. It was that dispute that lead to the creation of SPI Group and its move out of Russia. That is also why there are two distinct versions of the Stoli brand: one inside Russia (not SPI Group) and one outside Russia (by SPI Group).

    They do not grow any grains or rye — they source it. And they source it from the same place they always have so that the integrity of the product remains the same. That doesn’t mean the company’s tax revenue goes to Russia.

    Sure, perhaps some small sales tax goes to Russia for the purchase of raw ingredients — so what? Are you going to target every single company that sources raw materials from Russia? Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters in Europe of raw and component materials. They export crude oil, minerals, gas, and metals. Are you going to chase every single product down that is comprised of any component material coming out of Russia? Don’t be absurd.

    The fact is that SPI Group is NOT Russian. Their profits go to a Luxembourg-based company. They pay corporate tax in Luxembourg, Latvia, and the United States (for their North American distribution). They pay no corporate tax in Russia. Those are the facts that should have been addressed before the ridiculous boycott directed towards them. Oh, and the fact that they donate funds to and participate in LGBT efforts around the world… But yea, let’s be concerned where they source component materials of their product…

  • br

    Yes, they purchase ingredients grown in Russia to make their product. That doesn’t mean they are a Russian product. That is like suggesting your iPod is a product of South Africa simply because that is where some of the raw materials are sourced. Component materials are sourced from several locations for any one product. But that doesn’t change the nationality of the product brand.

    And NO, SPI has no operations in Russia. SPI is based in Luxembourg. They have holdings all over the world. The company SPI Group was created after a legal dispute with the Russian government over the original company’s ownership and holdings. It was that dispute that lead to the creation of SPI Group and its move out of Russia. That is also why there are two distinct versions of the Stoli brand: one inside Russia (not SPI Group) and one outside Russia (by SPI Group).

    They do not grow any grains or rye — they source it. And they source it from the same place they always have so that the integrity of the product remains the same. That doesn’t mean the company’s tax revenue goes to Russia.

    Sure, perhaps some small sales tax goes to Russia for the purchase of raw ingredients — so what? Are you going to target every single company that sources raw materials from Russia? Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters in Europe of raw and component materials. They export crude oil, minerals, gas, and metals. Are you going to chase every single product down that is comprised of any component material coming out of Russia? Don’t be absurd.

    The fact is that SPI Group is NOT Russian. Their profits go to a Luxembourg-based company. They pay corporate tax in Luxembourg, Latvia, and the United States (for their North American distribution). They pay no corporate tax in Russia. Those are the facts that should have been addressed before the ridiculous boycott directed towards them. Oh, and the fact that they donate funds to and participate in LGBT efforts around the world… But yea, let’s be concerned where they source component materials of their product…

  • br

    Yes, they purchase ingredients grown in Russia to make their product. That doesn’t mean they are a Russian product. That is like suggesting your iPod is a product of South Africa simply because that is where some of the raw materials are sourced. Component materials are sourced from several locations for any one product. But that doesn’t change the nationality of the product brand.

    And NO, SPI has no operations in Russia. SPI is based in Luxembourg. They have holdings all over the world. The company SPI Group was created after a legal dispute with the Russian government over the original company’s ownership and holdings. It was that dispute that lead to the creation of SPI Group and its move out of Russia. That is also why there are two distinct versions of the Stoli brand: one inside Russia (not SPI Group) and one outside Russia (by SPI Group).

    They do not grow any grains or rye — they source it. And they source it from the same place they always have so that the integrity of the product remains the same. That doesn’t mean the company’s tax revenue goes to Russia.

    Sure, perhaps some small sales tax goes to Russia for the purchase of raw ingredients — so what? Are you going to target every single company that sources raw materials from Russia? Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters in Europe of raw and component materials. They export crude oil, minerals, gas, and metals. Are you going to chase every single product down that is comprised of any component material coming out of Russia? Don’t be absurd.

    The fact is that SPI Group is NOT Russian. Their profits go to a Luxembourg-based company. They pay corporate tax in Luxembourg, Latvia, and the United States (for their North American distribution). They pay no corporate tax in Russia. Those are the facts that should have been addressed before the ridiculous boycott directed towards them. Oh, and the fact that they donate funds to and participate in LGBT efforts around the world… But yea, let’s be concerned where they source component materials of their product…

  • shawnthesheep

    Read SPI’s own statements on the subject, genius. They say that Stoli is made from grain, rye and raw alcohol from Russia that is distilled and bottled in Latvia. A company that grows, harvests and transports grain and rye and makes raw alcohol in Russia doesn’t pay Russian taxes? That’s a neat trick. SPI has extensive operations in Russia, so of course they pay Russian taxes.

  • Brandon

    Their bottles haven’t said that in years. All bottles sold outside Russia state “PREMIUM VODKA” — not “RUSSIAN VODKA” because they aren’t made in Russia any longer! It is an entirely different company. SPI is based in Luxembourg, with facilities in Latvia. They are NOT Russian. They haven’t been for years. No piece of any of their profits goes to Russia. They pay no Russian taxes. Get a clue!

  • Brandon

    “Irrelevant arguments” you say? How is the fact that Stoli is NOT a Russian product somehow irrelevant to a boycott that is meant to target Russian products so as to send a message to the Russian government that their treatment of LGBT citizens is wrong? That is like telling Americans to stop buying Kia automobiles to protest Japan’s whaling industry.

    A Stoli boycott, the brand being primarily targeted, IS NOT RUSSIAN! The fact that it got on the news only highlights the cluelessness of those who started it. It is certainly NOT irrelevant. Furthermore, it targets a company that has been an ally to the LGBT community. Calling these FACTS irrelevant is beyond absurd.

  • Brandon

    What exactly is that supposed to mean?

  • Lance VanOvermeiren

    go scratch Brandon

  • 100_people

    This boycott was so ill-conceived, that’s the problem. Dan Savage didn’t even realize that Stoli wasn’t a Russian-based company when he started this. Then when he found out, it became enough to say “well, they do some of their production in Russia.” Well if that is the standard, then every foreign company that does business in Russia should be targeted. Coca-Cola does bottling in Russia — just one example. Why single out one particular company for a boycott? It makes no sense. It is pure scapegoating.

    Since when is scapegoating considering fair and good? There are other ways to call attention to this issue without attacking one particular company — a company that itself is pro-gay, I might add.

  • Matt

    Lol can’t possibly believe a boycott on Russian vodka would do anything expect hurt the vodka company’s lol it’s pretty sad.. Any would believe that it would work the gay community is so butt hurt (no pun intended)

  • runfastandwin

    Nah, I don’t believe in angry letters, unless they come from some crazy religious fundalooons upset about cursing or skin (think Ned Flanders) the networks could care less. The only things I watch on NBC is Sunday Night Football and I can get that online (with a VIP from another country) and the Tour de France (which is over) so hopefully I can avoid NBC altogether by the time the Olympics rolls around.

  • emjayay

    And that was the point of John’s post.

  • emjayay

    Right, if the Russian government doesn’t resign a week after some guys poured some vodka out in New York City, the boycott didn’t work. Russia is a major supplier of magnesium. Should we boycott magnesium. Russia has rockets that can supply the space station. Should we stop supplying the space station?

  • emjayay

    So, you unplug the TV and send an angry letter to NBC?

  • emjayay

    Here’s one of those naysayers, with irrelevant arguements. Read the post. A Stoli boycott does not preclude any and all other measures. It did however get on the news everywhere.

  • Wisconsin Gazette

    For more on the Stoli Vodka Dump and it’s affect on local Wisconsin establishments – check out WiG’s “Message in a Bottle” story here- http://bit.ly/14sRsV3

  • Kate

    Stoli isn’t Russian vodka. it was originally made in russia but was sold years ago and is now owned by a Dutch company and is produced in Latvia. It’s good to fact-check these things before promoting a boycott. I think the most effective thing would be to put pressure on NBC and their advertisers. NBC will be televising the Olympic games. The LGBT community and it’s allies should let them know how we feel about that fact!

  • Berta Jiggins

    I believe that their boycotting ploy is effective and caught the attention of many consumers.
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    迷你倉

  • adamj2013

    I’m waiting for NOM to start a “Toast A Natural Marriage With Russian Vodka” campaign. One Man, One Woman, One Gulag.

  • Tara Crowley

    do the research, it’s all out there on the internet. i’m surprised such intelligent high profile activists are urging the Stoli boycott. I researched it a few years ago when the issue first came up, and found that it is NOT a Russian vodka. I’m embarrassed that our community is jumping on this bandwagon.

  • danolgb

    “who make the laws in most places” – Russia doesn’t appear to be one of those places since the rich person in question is living outside of Russia with an arrest warrant hanging over his head.

  • danolgb

    One thing to note about the bus boycott is the only people that actually sacrificed in that were the people that boycotted. They boycotted a public entity which they were subsidizing anyway. And while it was an incredible show of solidarity, the end of the bus boycott came when SCOTUS ruled. Boycotting a vodka that nobody apparently likes isn’t much of a sacrifice. If people expect to be taken seriously, they have to show they’re willing to give of themselves to do so. I think you know this first hand as you do that all the time.

  • danolgb

    Love you Bennett! Tell your “sister” hi!

  • danolgb

    Here’s the message the Stoli boycott is sending to other companies that help fund our organizations: “We will turn on you based on tenuous ties for things over which you have no control.” Why would a company want to support a community that so easily and idiotically turns on them? If I were providing funds for a gay organization, I would now think twice about it. People brush this off as merely marketing, but notice how John glorifies Svedka’s marketing. Many small organizations depend on this marketing. Are you willing to make up the difference?

  • Brandon

    And the “what you won’t find” statement doesn’t carry any qualifier. The letter was posted on 7/25. The story you referenced was posted on 8/2. This is exactly what I’m talking about. The information is out there, but idiots continue to put blatantly false information out there to perpetuate the story and carry this ill-conceived boycott further, damaging a company’s reputation for no reason whatsoever.

    And why exactly would the CEO of SPI post the letter before the boycott? The letter is in response to the boycott. Helllllllo? “Um yea, here is a letter about how our company is actually not Russian and how we donate and participate in LGBT efforts worldwide — you know, just in case someone ever decides that they might want to orchestrate a boycott against us because they incorrectly think we’re a Russian-based company and that this will somehow send a message to the Russian government which we have nothing to do with…” Yea, that makes sense!

  • Brandon

    Again, you’re reading a single line — not the entire Overview on their website. Jump the gun much? Read the entire statement.

    The objective is noble. The execution is abysmal. People perpetuating it are worse.

    And yes, climate change denier. Despite all the information out there outlining the facts about this company, people like you either ignore the facts or excuse the mistakes. You continue pushing for the boycott despite the fact that the majority of the public has latched onto the initial target: Stoli.

    Typically I’m pretty moderate with my language, but when people continue throwing misinformation and are completely obstinate despite facts being outlined for them, it is pretty irritating. The LGBT community has enough faux-facts being flung around trying to point out the “sins” and persnickety needs for equality, when people start ill-conceived boycotts at the behest of the LGBT community, it only fuels those fires from the opposition. So forgive me if I come off a bit irritated, I am.

    You know what would be a far better target than Russian exported libations? The Olympics and Olympic advertisers. Millions of dollars are flooding into Russia for these Olympics. Millions are being spent by American companies to advertise during these games. I find an American company making the choice to partake in this to be far more egregious than a company trying to sell their products which happens to be from Russia.

  • FlyingP4dre

    I know what an opinion is, thanks.

    I’m not going to harp on this, but I’m assuming you finally read the part about “the biggest exporter of Russian vodka in the world.” You have to admit that for a company that you say has nothing to do with Russian commerce, their website is awfully misleading.

    The “what you won’t find” statement is not incorrect as it carries the qualifier “prior to the boycott.” (7/25 was not before the boycott started)

    Before you showed up here, I stated multiple times that the CLEAR objective of the campaign is to target Russian made products and that it’s unfortunate that there was mis-targeting in the campaign. So, give me a break. If the information is wrong that doesn’t mean the campaign should be destroyed (that would be moronic), it means the information should be corrected.

    Climate change denier? How’s the weather out there in left field?

    Pro tip: You might be more interesting to debate with if you try to censor some of your own insulting language. That really won’t go over well with most people trying to understand your perspective.

  • Brandon

    It is clear to anyone with half a brain that this is a Russian commercial. And anyone familiar with the product knows there are two distinct brands. I don’t drink it, and I knew. Not hard. If you’re organizing a boycott, you should have the wherewithal to know what company you’re trying to target and why!

  • Brandon

    The only people that are easily confused are people who jump on bandwagons without doing any research. The laziest form of activism. I am not a big drinker. I don’t even care for Stoli, but I looked into the product before championing this absurd cause.

  • Brandon

    Buddy, you missed the entire first half of the paragraph. “Formerly state-owned” — and yes, Stoli is still considered a Russian Vodka, yet it is not produced in Russia! A person who is born in the US, but whose roots trace back to Russia, still calls themselves Russian. Keep reading the rest of the overview instead of plucking a tiny statement alluding to the history of the product.

    As for the blog you cite as a credible source of information, it is not. It is one person’s OPINION. The Stoli brand, the one improperly targeted by this absurd boycott, uses a single facility within Russia. They do source materials from Russia.

    And under the “what won’t you find” statement — it is all incorrect. SPI has a letter written from the CEO, posted on 7/25, outlining the company’s position against Russian policies and their continued contribution and support for LGBT efforts. It is right on the home page of the company website.

    Simply put, this boycott was started by people who couldn’t find their ass with two hands and a map. The idea? Great. The target? Moronic. People like you championing it despite credible information showing its flaws? Worse. You’re like a climate change denier.

  • FlyingP4dre

    The point was that people could be confused. Duh! Keep that dollar, you’re gonna need it.

  • FlyingP4dre

    I didn’t make that up. Go to the SPI website http://www.spi-group.com/about-spi-group. Then, read those exact words with your own eyeballs.

    After that, read this. It’s a response to people with your concerns:
    http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2013/08/02/on-boycotting-stoli

  • FlyingP4dre

    Sure, but this has mostly been corrected since the campaign started. The momentum is what matters now.

  • FlyingP4dre

    I posted that as an example of why people might be confused. Duh!

  • Brandon

    So, under your logic, a police officer who shoots the wrong black man, but makes folks believe he shot a murderer, is doing a service because in the end his community feels safer as they believe a murderer is off the street? That is what you’re advocating.

    Never mind that pesky “justice” thing or the fact that a company is incorrectly targeted for something they have nothing to do with and they actually donate and particulate heavily in LGBT efforts? At a certain point, the cost for that message is far too high. And we’re at that point.

  • Brandon

    Fucking moron. That is a commercial for the Russian Stolichnaya, not the product available for sale outside of Russia. Seriously. Give me your address so I can send you a dollar and you can buy a fucking clue.

  • Brandon

    A well-meaning campaign that outwardly targets the TOTALLY WRONG BUSINESS. That is like saying the police officer who shot the wrong black man was well-intentioned because the real guy he meant to target was black too. Your assertion is moronic at best.

  • Brandon

    It is only misleading to morons who choose to leap before looking. People who jump on bandwagons for these half-hearted boycotts should be slapped in the face with a Russian-made dildo.

  • Brandon

    This is a commercial for the Russian version of the vodka! It is in Russian. It is an entirely different company than the version available for sale outside of Russia by SPI Group! The easiest way to tell the difference is that SPI’s Stoli bottles do not say “Russian Vodka” at the bottom, they say “Premium Vodka” and have been labeled this way for years!

  • Brandon

    Stoli is NOT a Russian product. Their website doesn’t say “the world’s biggest exporter of Russian vodka” anywhere. You made that up. The company is based in Luxembourg. The Stoli product line is primarily made in Latvia. There are two different Stolichnaya vodkas — the one within Russia, and the one the rest of the world knows and purchases. This is as a result of a legal battle between the company owners and the Russian government over 10 years ago. The product this boycott targets is the non-Russian version, owned by a company that frequently donates and partakes in many LGBT causes around the world.

    The spirit of the boycott is moronic as the folks dreaming it up couldn’t be bothered to go after the right company or find a product that is actually based in Russia. It has NO effect on Russian policies as it doesn’t target a Russian company. Seriously, do people not understand this basic concept? Do your homework and target the right companies! This makes every LGBT person look beyond absurd.

  • Brandon

    He doesn’t know what he is talking about. They aren’t a Russian company. Just another well-intentioned but fact-deficient person who thinks slacktivism works.

  • Brandon

    Francis, I’m sorry that you’re wrong. Stoli is owned by SPI Group which is headquartered in Luxembourg and with most of its distilling and bottling in Riga, Latvia. The brand only has the right to sell the Stolichnaya brand outside of Russia, as the Russian government claims ownership of the brand within their borders — the Russian government has NOTHING to do with the Stoli products outside their borders. It was for this reason that the company was moved out of Russia over 10 years ago. They do still use Russian ingredients, that is the extent of their involvement with Russia.

    So no, hurting SPI does nothing to Russia. The product isn’t sold within Russia. The distributors are not Russian. The owners are from Russia, but haven’t been there in a decade as they are in conflict with the current government. Further, the company donates heavily to LGBT efforts across the globe.

    Do your homework, Francis. Don’t take my word for it, here is a letter directly from the CEO of SPI Group — a man who describes himself as a former Russian. http://www.stoli.com/downloads/LGBT_Community_Letter.pdf

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    How are you enjoying that freedom to marry in Ireland there? Not passed just yet? We’re enjoying it here in California thank you very much.

    But let’s keep the focus where it needs to be: this is about Russia and the horrific beatings, kidnappings, torture, arrests and criminalization of our LGBT brothers and sisters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    There have now been many calls from Russian LGBT activists and leaders for the boycott of vodka and other products, and of the Olympics, and the denial of visas to the anti-gay Russian officials.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    I think he says it is working because the call for it has gone viral and made millions talk about the Russian atrocities now, where as they had been silent for the years that these horrors have already been happening.

    The larger item boycotts would be important, you are right: but a quick easy way to get people to do SOMETHING and therefore to talk and make a presence known about the issue is to do something they can in their own life and home.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    What happened to Russia? You used to have such good information, such noble culture.
    1) Pedophilia is perpetrated more by Straight men than by gay men or by women. Those are the actual statistics. Pedophilia is not about sexuality; it’s about power and control and dominance. You can easily educate yourself and your country about this; the psychological research and statistics are very available.

    2) This extremist, reactionary behavior is very uncultured, nyekulturnii. It shames the great country of Russia.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    Many Russian LGBT leaders have asked for the boycott, of vodka, of the Olympics, and for the denial of visas to our countries for those Russian legislators who made the obscene laws. You can find the open letters and calls in the Gay press.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    I think his point has been missed here. He says boycotts don’t seem to work until you find out that they actually have worked and he is saying the current one is working. He cites a couple of boycotts that have worked to prove his claim: the Dr. Laura one as the best example. I myself recall the Bus boycott of the Civil Right movement being part of the successful application of pressure and raising of awareness in the 50′s and 60′s.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bennett.schneider Bennett Schneider

    CAn you please cite sources? It’s very confusing. I’m reading that Stoli IS made in Latvia chiefly, though using Russian grains they buy. Stoli has been very present in LGBT events and sponsored many of them in the US and Europe, so they’ve been business partners if not allies. They put out a very strongly worded letter deploring the Russian laws and pledging continued support of the LGBT community. So if you do have info to the contrary, it will be important to see it and the sources. Thanks.

  • Francis Parsons

    Nearly everything you’ve written here is false. Stoli is owned by SPI, a Russian company that in no way opposes the current Russian policies. Latvia barely comes into it. Hurting Stoli hurts SPI, which hurts that parent company’s Russian owners and distributors.

  • Heather Lee

    If they wanted to really protect kids ..they should make sure that average family incomes were better , domestic abuse, alcohol and drug addiction were combated, that organized crime- which has its hands in making porn there with underage participants (often ‘street kids’ themselves or forced into it and made addicted to drugs) was prosecuted more, (fat chance with corrupt officials who have money riding in it) , the people still have a lower than average life expectancy -a lot of these situations lead to kids without parents…and putting kids at high risk. Homosexuals aren’t the problem in Russia…Their avoidance of dealing with directly with the real and inconvenient stuff is…This is just scapegoating one group for a the multitude of problems brought by it’s own mainstream society-that have existed for a while…

  • Brandon

    Way to perpetuate a boycott that goes after the wrong target and makes the LGBT community look totally uninformed. Stoli is not Russian. It has a single distillery in that country. The parent company is Luxembourg based. The owners and management are in opposition to the current Russian government. And the bulk of their product is made in Latvia! Further, they have donated heavily to LGBT efforts. Maybe a boycott works, maybe it doesn’t — but it only has a chance of working if you target the folks you’re trying to send a message to!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, a “Christian” – the kind that plays into the politics the church has enjoyed for centuries. He’s falling for the oldest trick in the book. First heresy and homosexuality are banned. Pretty soon all their liberties will be banned. And this guy would like the same to happen here. What a fool. He really thinks this will fix the economy, I’m sure. He’s so small minded he really believes the church will solve everything. Typical magical thinking these fools often display.

  • Anonymous

    I didn’t even want to respond to your apologist drivel, but “Occupy Pedophilia” is run by skinhead gangs who torture kids, often to suicide. They are nothing but thugs and known ex-cons who now have a platform for their violence. You fools believe you’re “thinking of the children” but you’re really raising kids in a HATEFUL WORLD to become hateful adults. So, what’s the point of the stupid “think of the children” argument again? All I have to ask is where the parents of these Russian gay kids are, or would they abandon their kids for being gay like so many “beatific Catholics” do here?

  • Anonymous

    The campaign had good intentions, but it was rushed and ill-conceived. They could have at least targeted another Russian brand rather than a sympathetic LGBT supporter like Stoli. We can also look into boycotting ANY Russian product, not just “vodka and caviar” that many people don’t consume anyway. The campaign is kind of a fail and needs to be reimagined. The awareness is great, but we seem to be harming our biggest ally…tell me that doesn’t look foolish. Surely there are more worthwhile people to put pressure on.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/marcadler Marc

    This article is a masterpiece of circular logic: the boycott is working because … it’s happening. Therefore it’s working! Yay!

    You also gotta love his corollary argument that the point of a boycott isn’t to cause the company to actually lose any money (?), but the reason he has to argue that is obvious: Chick Filet or however it’s spelled. That boycott was such a resounding success that the company’s profits actually went >up< during the boycott. You can't very well argue that a boycott has failed if the company doesn't feel any pain. But you can't concede defeat ever! These are the culture wars after all. So you just redefine success as "existence" (by which definition everyone at the Olympics will be a gold-medalist) (a type of thinking which is not unheard-of among certain groups) and claim successes left and right.

    Anyway, the reason I say boycotting Russian vodka is a bad idea is because it's the ne plus ultra of slacktivism. There's nothing wrong with boycotting Russian vodka in and of itself, but it's going to give people a no-pain excuse to do nothing else. "I'm only drinking Absolut from now on! Woot! Go gay rights!" Meanwhile in Russia LGBT activists are getting beaten on the street. See the problem? Boycotting the vodka won't help. Do something that will actually have an effect. Give money to LGBT organizations in Russia or in the US which are specifically helping in Russia, for example.

    In other words, if you think you're doing anything at all to help next time you sanctimoniously tell the bartender to make your vodka tonic with anything but Russian vodka, you're equal parts lazy, hypocritical, and delusional. You're engaging in the worst kind of self-righteous own-back-patting.

    If you care, do something that works.

  • Charles Maguro

    I’ll bet you’re also a Christian, you vile piece of shit.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    That’s why people shouldn’t be making assumptions without properly researching things.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Perhaps you would be more at home in Russia.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Yes! My point is how easily the two could be confused!

  • runfastandwin

    NBC makes a lot more sense than Stoli, especially since 90 percent of what they have on is dreck.

  • Activist

    Why are you ignoring the specific requests of the people inside of Russia? Do you know better than them what they need? The Boycott of Jamacian products ended up in bashed gays. Let’s trust the local leaders.

  • sng666

    You are so pathetic and self ansorbed! Russians don’t give a shit about you wasting vodka or organizing boycott. Period. They will not budge on the issue. The movement against pedophiles and pederasts came from the Citizens of Russia (Occupy Pedophilia and others), and the government had to take all in their hands to have it, rightfully legislated. This is to protect their children health, well being and morality from corruption. I wish the government here was thinking about right of children (for healthy upbringing) instead of rights of perverts.

  • chucklin72

    As much as I am against Russian government on this issue, I was intrigued by the title “Why the gay boycott of Russian vodka is already working”

    The conclusion that it is working because people are talking about it seems lacking. Working means that there is a change or the start of a change in Russian government. If I said “Help me get a million likes so I can petition Carnegie Hall to let me perform” and I proclaim that its working because I’m getting tons of likes, it doesn’t mean Carnegie Hall is actually considering me.

    Even a worthy issue can be poorly represented.

    Slacktivism, a word I was unfamiliar with until yesterday. It means that people feel that they are doing something by doing nothing.

    If the movement has real balls ( no pun intended ), then just boycott everything Russian and refuse to sell products to Russia. Until then I’m really not impressed that you’re out partying at a dance club drinking vodka of a different country.

  • Jaqcky Daniels

    Atlanta has several bars that feature ONLY American made libations! LOVE THEM! Drink Tito’s!

  • pamsfriend

    Completely disagree w/Buzzfeed’s take on this: This is NOT about rejecting their culture. It’s about putting pressure on rich people – who make the laws in most places – to move off their arses to get some positive change.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Did you need to post this twice? I already responded to the above one.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Their advertising about being Russian? They are originally Russian? Why is that bad?

    Are the LGBT community in Russia bad because they are Russian? It is their heritage and their government is not the same thing as their nationality.

    One can be against one’s government while still respecting one’s nationality.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    You do realize that there are two different Stolichnaya’s being sold, right? After the lawsuit, the Russian government owns one while the SPI Group company owns the other. Don’t conflate the two.

    SPI Group has always been on our side.

  • FlyingP4dre
  • FlyingP4dre

    He’s since added #DumpRussianVodka to the campaign. As I’ve said, it’s only been one week and Stoli’s own misleading advertising is at least partially to blame for the misunderstanding.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Stoli is probably the most well known, widely distributed.

    Also, there are ads like this that make confusion understandable:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGAGo1gELuA

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I’m not from Nebraska, I just live here now.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Couldn’t you have raised awareness by boycotting ANY other brand of Russian alcohol? Why are we going after one of our allies?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I blame Dan Savage for that one. I don’t know what the hell he was thinking.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Except Stoli is clearly the MAIN target. Have you seen Dan Savage’s Dump Stoli campaign?

    It is ill-conceived and is harmful to the integrity of our community when we start going after one of our allies.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Why wasn’t the focus on any other major Russian brand of alcohol? Why has the focus specifically been on Stoli, who is one of our supporters? It makes no logical sense.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Because isolationism is a horrible ideology that only makes the world worse. We are all a part of a global community and we all need to support each other and fight for change to make the world a better place for everyone.

    And this is especially true for the LGBT community, which has members in every country in every region of the world.

  • Guest

    What’s wrong with recommending American alternatives to any foreign product to other Americans?

  • FlyingP4dre

    Dude, this is one of the few people commenting with a vaguely sane criticism of the boycott with historical context. Lay off. I don’t totally agree with him, but he’s not dropping one line insults to make his case.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Stoli isn’t the sole target. Don’t be daft. Mistakes can be made without condemning an entire well-meaning campaign.

  • FlyingP4dre

    How does the Stoli boycott show “the ill-thought through nature of all of this?” It was a simple, understandable error given that the CEO of SPI said the company is Russian, the SPI website says it is “the world’s biggest exporter of Russian vodka,” and that Stoli has testified to the US government that their product is Russian? Anybody who did their homework would find this information *in addition to* the contradictory information you’re listing.

    The boycott has already generated plenty of buzz and discussion about the Russian government’s policies, raised awareness as it’s been reported by nearly every major news outlet, and has brought the Winter Olympics under major scrutiny, including putting pressure on the Olympic Committee and NBC to take steps.

    Everyone who is harping on the Stoli-specific question surely must understand (or else is being willfully ignorant) that the spirit of the boycott is to stop purchasing Russian-made products, and specifically encouraging adults to not buy alcoholic drinks containing Russian vodkas.

    The only halfway sane condemnation of the boycott I’ve heard is that there were no calls from the LBGT activists/community in Russia for that support.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Yeah, the #DumpStoli could have been more broad.

  • Butch1

    There is something going on in his own background that needs investigating.

  • marcos

    One potential upside to an economic boycott is that it would crystalize western antagonism of Putin, which would only clear the way for a better deal for Snowden as Putin would act of spite.

    Putin’s homophobia, while repulsive, is a minor annoyance when compared by any reasonable measure with the brutality of the US empire run in broad consensus by the Republicrats and Demopublicans for their Wall Street and Military Industrial Complex masters.

  • marcos

    Might I suggest you consider finding yourself a partner with which to have gay sex? It really takes the edge off of things, calms one down, and is in general readily available to even the ugliest and stupidest homosexual.

  • Wolfgang

    It is, indeed,an ambiguous statement in this context as “Dump Russian Vodka” focuses on one brand which
    - Is not Russian
    - Has no influence on the Russian government
    - Can not change policy in the country.
    The Russian CEO of Stolichnaya / SPI (the non-Russian Stoli we get) is in exile, because the government hates him…

    Boycott an actual Russian product (good luck finding an every day one that is not gas) or company and I’m gladly on board.

  • Wolfgang

    Oh, help… A gay teenager took his life last week in Iowa. I guess corn on the cob is off the table…

  • Mark

    try the Canadian’s vodkas: Polar Ice, Iceberg are my favorite and we have many others to taste.

  • Wolfgang

    This comment is culturally blind, I can’t even… This “present extreme circumstance” did not magically appear because Buzzfeed shared 36 pictures from Russia everyone should see and Harvey Fierstein wrote about it. Russia has been a homophobic hotbed for decades, it is only now that you take notice and have chosen the wrongest path imaginable to do something about it.

  • Wolfgang

    Sterling –
    because everything about this boycott is unimaginative and not thought through. Without thinking, the first brand with a Russian name and a vague connection got targeted.
    It’s corporate xenophobia that is not helpful and will damage the LGBT community in the long run. Good luck finding a replacement sponsor for pride events when Stoli’s patience (rightfully) runs out…!

  • marcos

    The analogy fails, but this, not our prattle, is what is decisive:

    New York, NY (July 28, 2013) — In a
    bold statement sent today to Queer Nation, 23 leading LGBT Russian
    activists and their supporters called for a broad boycott of Russian
    products and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi.

    “International support is essential for the survival of Russia’s LGBT
    community right now,” the July 28 statement read. “We appreciate and
    support all attempts to let the Russian authorities know that homophobic
    and inhumane laws will not go unnoticed and that Vladimir Putin’s
    regime will not get away with antigay violence.”

    The statement
    is an unambiguous endorsement of the “Dump Russian Vodka” campaign
    called for by Queer Nation, Dan Savage, Cleve Jones and other leading
    LGBT activists worldwide. The statement also endorses actor Harvey
    Fierstein’s impassioned call in the New York Times for a boycott of the
    Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

    “At great personal risk, these
    LGBT activists, their allies and organizations have called for our
    continued support,” said Alan Klein, a co-founder of Queer Nation.
    “Their courage inspires us to continue our work until such time as the
    Russian government repeals this anti-gay law.”

    In June, the
    Russian Duma passed a law that barred pro-LGBT discussions and displays
    in public and on the Internet. Since the law was enacted, LGBT Russians
    and foreign LGBT nationals have endured violence and arrests.

    Queer Nation expects that there will be additional endorsers on the
    Russian activists’ statement. The statement and list of signatories
    follows (in English first and then in Russian):

    Dear Friends,

    International support is essential for the survival of Russia’s LGBT
    community right now. We appreciate and support all attempts to let the
    Russian authorities know that homophobic and inhumane laws will not go
    unnoticed and that Vladimir Putin’s regime will not get away with
    antigay violence. We speak out in favor of boycotting Russian goods and
    companies and the Olympic Games in Sochi. We also appreciate the
    attention of international media; we need it. We would also support any
    legislative initiative aimed at holding the Russian authorities
    accountable for their homophobic campaign. Thank you for being with us
    in our hour of need.

    Masha Gessen, author, journalist, activist
    Kseniya Kirichenko, lawyer and legal scholar
    Alexei Davydov, Radical Faggots Union; political council member of the Moscow chapter of the Solidarity Movement
    Maria Baronova, activist, Bolotnoye Case defendant
    Alexander Artemyev, journalist
    Olga Krause, poet, musician, activist
    Tasha Granovskaya, social worker, LGBT activist

    Bulat Barantaev, Homosexuals, Relatives and Friends Movement; member of
    the political council, Novosibirsk chapter of the Solidarity Movement
    Mitya Aleshkovsky, photographer, activist
    Karen Shainyan, journalist
    Galina Chachanova, freelance translator
    Yana Mandrykina, attorney
    Elena Nikitina
    Alexander Agapov, editor, Livejournal.com
    Elena Rifat Hakimova, activist
    Olga Kurachyova, journalist, LGBT activist
    Zlata Bossina, Quarteera e.V., an organization for Russian-speaking LGBT and friends in Germany
    Tagira Abdullayeva, LGBT activist, medical neurologist
    Anastasia Putseva, business consultant
    Tasya Krugovykh, filmmaker
    Yulia Selezen, philologist
    Anna Mikhailina
    Akram Kubanychbek

  • Wolfgang

    Because America is SUCH a trailblazer when it comes to LGBT equality. :) That’s why my American husband and I have been living in Ireland for 4 years – because it took a COURT CASE to get one section of DOMA removed.

    Where was the Jack Daniels boycott (actually an American company, ACTUALLY based in Tennessee) when the “Don’t Say Gay” bill was debated there?

  • Mike_H

    You’ve not made an actual argument, though. You’ve offered nothing in the way of proof of how Stoli has been such a tremendous LGBT supporter across the world. Simply sponsoring some gay pride events is something dozens, even hundreds of companies have done; it’s relatively easy to do and actually is a good business practice.

    So aside from that, what, exactly, has Stoli done that you heap such praise on them? That you feel they are so sacrosanct that you are up in arms about this boycott? That you ignore their very real connections to Russia in order to cut them slack?

    You seem very vehement and very emotional about this, but haven’t proffered much in the way of facts.

    Simply being hyperbolic isn’t actually an argument, Sterling. Let’s have some facts, please.

  • Mike_H

    NBC wouldn’t have even announced it would cover the LGBT issues if it wasn’t for the attention brought about by the boycott, so there is already a benefit.

    Although NBC did leave itself some wiggle room, so there’s no guarantee they actually will cover anything regarding the Russian LGBT situation.

  • Strepsi

    To raise international awareness, and it worked. The answer is in the article

  • Strepsi

    No it’s worse — they are accomplices, photographing PROUDLY so they can post on VK (“Russian Facebook”) to show off AND cause the victim further torture by outing him

  • brito

    This article blissfully has its fingers in its ears. Sorry, but your campaign is stupid and is NOT working. Just because you dismiss those who don’t agree as naysayers doesn’t mean you’re right.

    Please, do some homework and actually think about what you’re doing. Even the most obvious point about one of the brands in question being a huge LGBT supporter – not to mention not even being produced in Russia – should be enough to convince you of the ill-thought through nature of all of this.

    I know it can be seem being being the activist, but at least do it properly. Otherwise it’s just embarrassing.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Interesting background.

  • marcos

    Analogy tries to reason based on comparing like phenomenon. You can’t do that with phenomenon that have little in common. A is like B requires that A actually be like B. When A is not like B, you can’t make a successful analogy that guides us based on past experience.

    A more apt comparison would have been the pogroms of the late 19th century that my great grandparents fled to the US. But there was no communication nor notion of human rights as a component of international relations at that time, so it, too, fails to provide insight on how to proceed currently.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Thank you for insulting skills and your expertise when it comes to trolldom. When it comes to your banal ideas I can’t help but stop at the ‘dis’ in discussion.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Look up the word ‘analogy’ Imelda.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Hi neighbor—-Sebastopol/Forestville

  • Matt Rogers

    Chick-Fil-A’s CEO was (and is) donating millions of dollars toward denying LGBT people’s civil rights.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    No, feel free to look me up. I’m the one using my real name here.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Good job at not answering the question. In fact, that’s all you’ve been doing in this entire comment section, insulting and not discussing whatsoever.

    You’re the troll here.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Why is the boycott almost exclusively focusing on Stoli though? I’ve heard nary a word about Russian Standard or any other brand of Russian vodka during this boycott, just Stoli this and Stoli that.

    You do realize that the other brands pay far more of their taxes to the Russian government, since they are actually based in Russia? Unlike Stoli, which is based in Latvia.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Why aren’t we focusing on an actual Russian brand, like Russian Standard? Why are we going after an ally that isn;t even based in Russia any longer?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Every shot of an LGBT supporting group’s vodka is harming someone? Where does that logic come from?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    An error should be corrected, especially when the campaign seems to be going almost exclusively after SPI for some reason, even though they are no longer based in Russia and they have always supported the LGBT community.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Why shouldn’t people be supporting the Latvia based Stoli Vodka, which is also supportive of the LGBT community?

  • Alison Demzon

    So, the point is to put up posts and everyone agrees with them; not actual discussion or intelligent debate of any type… Why is it that you don’t support what the Russian government is doing then? Never mind, I don’t go for that, and the places that I admin don’t either. If there is not actual debate about issues, nothing is learned or solved. Want to delete what I wrote here? Go for it. Amazing how many people are still mentally and emotionally in high school.

  • Dan

    This doesn’t seem to address the real concern about the Stoli boycott. Namely, that the Stolichnaya available in the US is not made in Russia. It’s distilled in Latvia by SPI, a company owned by Yuri Shefler, a former Russian businessman who has been exiled for resisting when the Putin government re-nationalized the vodka production industry and seized Shefler’s distilleries. Shefler now runs his company in exile from Switzerland. Boycotting Stoli made by the LGBT-friendly SPI is sort of like invading Iraq to get Osama Bin Laden. I don’t think that I can post a link here, but you can find more info by reading the Guardian article entitled “Putin targets Stoli boss in the battle for vodka billions” (8/4/02)

  • tregibbs

    It’s not stupid – it’s a valid point. Stoli has been a huge supporter and ally of the LGBT community for decades. How can you not understand that?

  • tregibbs

    Good question – the answer, it seems, based on this and other articles, is that this boycott of Stoli will damage the brand, which will cause the media to pay attention and get more and more people aware of the atrocities, therefore becoming outraged at the way the Russian government treats it’s LGBT citizens, hopefully effecting change.
    It seems ridiculous to damage the brand of an LGBT ally due to the Russian government’s torture of gay people. Or does it? A lot of people don’t understand that it doesn’t work the same way in Russia as it does here.

    The head of the Russian LGBT Alliance is against this boycott – he calls it “misguided”.

  • marcos

    The Jews did ask the US for help before the war and the US balked.

    This is not a war. The Russians are not exterminating Russian LGBT. Russian LGBT are capable of asking for our help. I expect them to and will act as they request.

    The analogy is misplaced, gross violations of Godwin’s law notwithstanding.

  • marcos

    The last thing we need is an American laying down the radical line in the sand for other Americans to toe under pain of not being serious about fighting homophobia in Russia. Self determination is key in how Americans should approach international solidarity. It is not like this everywhere else. Most Americans are unaware that things are different in different places, many think that everywhere else is “a pit,” and they just need to catch up to us.

    I was involved in the Jesse Helms Marlboro/Miller boycott in 1990. Money was spent on what was deemed campaign related issues that was not reported to the FEC and folks faced investigation and legal costs. There can be side effects to these actions unless they are well thought out. In our case, it was a few thousand bucks. In Russia it could be lives.

  • Moderator3

    Here’s a different moderator. Karmanot is a known entity on this blog. For that reason alone, he is not a troll.

  • marcos

    Your brain is very small.

  • Alison Demzon

    See? People not reading or adding to the conversation get more clearance than people that want to add the same points to multiple conversations; good job. (I’m case you don’t know what I mean this karmanot kid is just running around making 2-5 word comments that are simply to be an ass; otherwise know as trolling.)

  • Alison Demzon

    Are you just following me to be an ass or what? You don’t seem to ad anything ever.

  • Lee

    And those photographer assholes just stood there watching? They outnumber the punk kids and they were more concerned about getting their shot? Despicable.

  • Alison Demzon
  • Alison Demzon
  • Will Mentesh

    Petaluma.

  • Alison Demzon

    Yeah, the Moderator ate the rest of that. Take a look a bit higher for the page and a half you didn’t bother to read.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Stoli Trolls, who knew?

  • Alison Demzon

    He did. That would mean that you have to read the whole letter rather than just the summarize “short attention span theater” version.
    There was a link to it in my other comment, but the moderators took it down. Go look it up and read the damned thing before going off half assed. (the bonus link is: http://www.advocate.com/politics/2013/07/25/stoli-responds-lgbt-boycott-russian-products?page=0,1)

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Where in Sonoma?

  • Will Mentesh

    There are plenty of great American-Made vodkas that are of higher quality than Russian or European produced vodkas. I founded VAD Vodka (vadspirits.com) in 2008 and our company has been dedicated to producing the highest quality vodka, hand-made and bottled, in Sonoma County California. We employ locals and have a reduced carbon footprint as our vodka aren’t being shipped across the world to end up in your favorite bar or liquor store. We, along with many other locally produced vodkas, support the LGBT community along with other educational and humanitarian non-profits. I urge you all to give the little, local guys a try, even if it isn’t VAD.

  • Miles

    Whoa dude, why the vitriol? I think you should go back and read everything that I’ve posted on this very carefully. I did not deserve this post of yours. We are on the same side.

    This boycott in particular (not all boycotts) is intellectually and factually lazy. That’s my opinion, and I’m not alone on that today:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/theres-better-way-stand-gay-154148950.html

    http://www.towleroad.com/2013/07/russian-hate-an-american-boycott-and-the-sochi-olympic-games.html

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    SF Eagle…………….probably explains why that place still reeks of piss, those rubber suits get flats, brown leather is making a comeback and horse’s asses now sport equine headdresses.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yep, the conceit and arrogance of their stupidity is truly noteworthy. Lil Rand Paul is a perfect example. But, then those dead eyes are a giveaway to a pathology that infuses his Libertarian nonsence with a particular level of implied violence.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “Russia has a lot of amazing talented people, activists who risk their
    lives on a greater scale than Act Up activists back in the day here” You just crossed the line Boyoo. I was there, apparently you weren’t. Kissing Russian bigot ass doesn’t help your ‘positive’ messaging.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    We are grateful you have so little time to post, copy and troll. Believe me, no one will miss you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Go away

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You argument, such as it is, has been thoroughly disputed and found wanting.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    BS meter is going off the scale.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I’ve never even had a single drink of Stoli.” OMG, that’s precious. You are a hoot lil Cornhusker.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Nebraska? I though most folks were FROM Nebraska.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bingo!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You seriously think a Pride Parade PR gimmick is support of the GLTBQ communities? How cynical and transparent.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Are you a booze plant. Got ties with Stoli distribution? MMMMM

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Not exactly. The family still supports an umbrella of far right extremest religious and political organizations, who do.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Godwin’s Law is nothing more than an absurd propaganda tool to subvert information. Let er rip!

  • nicho

    Asked at the SF Eagle if they were going to boycott. Answer: If you have the money and you want it, we’ll sell it to you.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Oh please

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    “I don’t need the condescension.” Well, that’s a matter of opinion.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Honey, you really are somewhat out of synch here, but keep practicing. Why, who knows?

  • PeteWa

    same, although I’d through ‘snotty’ in there as well.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    And what if that green cheese was moldy Velveeta and not Stilton? I am so with you on this MT.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You imaginary logic choo choo jumped the tracks sweet pea. Nice try though.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    There now, doesn’t that feel good?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bend over, put head up dark place and all will be revealed grasshopper.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    I’ve always seen libertarians as incompetent fascists.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Are we just not into you that much?

  • Mike_H

    How is a weak future promise by NBC any benefit at all? Note that NBC promised nothing — read the words from the press conference — “Would provide coverage IF the Russian laws surface as an issue” — plenty of wiggle room for them to renege on any real coverage at the last minute.

    Clear action *now* is bringing more attention to the issue, and in fact NBC wouldn’t have even *made* the promise you are lauding so strongly if it weren’t for the attention being brought by the very boycott you are deriding.

    So, without the boycott, there wouldn’t have even been this announcement by NBC that they would cover gay issues… seems to me that this is proof the boycott is already bearing fruit, not the reverse.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You’ll find French Grey Goose quite fine.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    First the orange juice and now the Vodka.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Ugh, we don’t like you either silly Sally, but agree that this is a wonderful article.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You reek of a troll plant.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Bullshit.

  • Mike_H

    “Stood by us” how, exactly? What have they done, specifically, that makes them such an amazing global champion of GLBT people? Advertising at a few Pride parades and festivals is basically just good marketing, and dozens upon dozens of companies have done the same, so I’d really need some proof of extraordinary action for your claims to have any strength.

    I haven’t disputed your argument because you haven’t actually presented anything concrete to support your claims.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Let’s see if I understand this point of view, analogy: If we put aside our dislike of Nazi’s, and let the Warsaw Jews deal with their own extinction, then we will cause less harm. Do you know what Hannah Arendt called that kind of thinking? ‘The banality of evil.’ Do you know what karmanot calls that kind of thinking? Collaboration.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Do your homework than your question will be answered. It’s all here on AB.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Excellent ‘strategery’ Nicho! Every shot of Stoli is a broken jaw, a split head, a gush of blood, a life dead……when look at that way, the ‘huh’ gays just might, possibly, get IT.

  • shawnthesheep

    Save the libertarian twaddle, please. Again, putting money into pride events is called ADVERTISING. It’s not a form of charitable support.

  • shawnthesheep

    When the CEO of Stoli defended his brand, why did he make no mention of all the many LGBT causes he supported? Why did he not cite the donations made to LGBT rights organizations? My guess would be because there aren’t any. The only proof of Stoli’s status as an “ally,” was that they advertise at gay events. BFD. Trying to get me to spend money on your product is not the same thing as supporting my human rights.

  • shawnthesheep

    No. Stoli is being targeted because they proudly proclaim on their bottle they are “made in Russia.” A portion of their corporate profits are paid in taxes to the Russian government. The fact that they sponsor Pride events is irrelevant to the situation going on in Russia.

  • shawnthesheep

    Stoli’s Pride sponsorship was a form of advertising. Just because they were one of the first to market their product to the gay community does not make them an ally. As you said, they did it purely for profit.

    Kool was one of the first companies to target the African American community, often advertising in neighborhoods that other companies would not. Again, it did not make them an ally. It’s nothing more than targeted marketing.

    Boycotts are not intellectually or factually lazy. They are a way for individuals without much political or economic influence to join forces to accomplish more than they could as individuals. They have been used successfully throughout history as a way for the masses to exert influence on corporations and governments. Just because right-wing fundies have used boycotts (poorly) in the recent past does not mean all boycotts are bad. That argument is intellectually lazy.

    This is not about making me feel better. This is about doing everything I can to raise awareness about the LGBT abuses occurring in Russia and exerting influence on those in power to do something about it. I don’t even drink vodka, but I’m encouraging everyone I know to participate in the boycott and I’m telling them why. It’s not the only thing I’m doing, but it’s the one thing activists have tried thus far that seems to have gained some traction with the public and the media. I don’t see what naysayers like you are accomplishing, other than feeling smug as you lecture to the rest of us about how stupid we are being.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Agreed. Yet, the delicate balance between urgency and momentum is still frustrating.

  • marcos

    Let’s give them some time to make their sentiments known and if they do not within a reasonable period, then we’ll have a bit more latitude and can think through strategically how to proceed that would be most effective. There is no premium on immediate action here. The Russian Government does not have the resources to shut everyone down nor to effectively censor everyone.

    No matter how outrageous these images that we’re seeing are, the first thing that people think of doing in reaction is probably not going to be the most effective course of action.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    You are being disingenuous, Alison Demzon. You may certainly add additional thoughts and refer back to your original comment, but copying and pasting great swaths of text is not appreciated.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Retaliation would be a threat either way, but you’re point is well taken. Nevertheless, the most recent rulings by the Russian government have it that any one even speaking in favor of gays is breaking the law. Perhaps if the laws weren’t so dangerously ironclad to block freedom of speech and organization, I would be more inclined to agree whole heartedly. However, if they are afraid to speak out, they may not be able to communicate their needs.

  • marcos

    If there is an economic boycott of Russian products, then LGBT in Russia might be subject to further attacks as economic saboteurs. The call on how to proceed must originate with the people closest to the issue. Americans are trying to run here just as we’ve begun to grasp how to tie our own shoes.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Point of clarification. The campaign is calling for a boycott of all Russian vodkas (and, Russian products, generally). Don’t confuse mistaken nationality (which, btw, SPI has been lying to both Russia and the US about for years) for an inherent flaw in the spirit of the campaign itself. You’re being willfully ignorant if you want to derail the campaign over a simple error and clearly misunderstand the message of this article.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Russia is turning a blind eye to and encouraging violence against its own citizens. It is violating what we, as Americans, consider to be unalienable human and civil rights. There is no correlation to military policy or individual malfeasance nor is Americablog an example of an international muti-million dollar corporation with potential the same sort of influence.

    Regardless of whether SPI or any of its brands are the correct target (it’s good that light is being shed on that matter, given that they’ve been lying for years to the United States government and the Russian government about where their product is from), the thrust of the campaign is to boycott Russian products because of the government’s anti-gay policy. The boycott started on Friday, in less than one week it is foolish to dismiss an entire campaign just because it isn’t perfect, yet affective. Perhaps by this coming Friday, there will be a better researched boycott list.

    And, if you don’t understand why boycotting a country’s exports because of its social policy makes sense, read up on apartheid in South Africa.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Please tell me why we’re focusing on Stoli, one of the LGBT community’s allies whose vodka is now made in Latvia, not Russia, instead of on actual pro-Russian brands, such as Russian Standard?

    Why is everyone focusing more on using one of our allies as a scapegoat rather than focusing on ANY other brand?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Then maybe you should go with Stoli. You know, the vodka made in Latvia?

  • FlyingP4dre

    Hangar One and Square One are good. No relation.

  • FlyingP4dre

    I’m curious what “more harm than good” you are cautioning against.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Please, do tell why. Are we not scapegoating Stoli to serve our own ends? Are we not throwing them under the bus just so we can prove some political point?

    Is that how you treat your friends? Because it’s not how I treat mine.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Excuse me? I’ve been just as outspoken for the Russian LGBT community. You know nothing about me. I’m the one using my full name here, go look up my Facebook page and then tell me i’m not standing up for them.

    But if the Olympics ARE going to go on in Sochi, I would far prefer that NBC does the coverage than some right wing Russian news station because NBC backed out of it.

    An ideological stance is useless if it doesn’t actually result in a benefit.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    And you make no effort whatsoever to dispute my argument. Stoli had stood by us for years and this is how we repay them, by making them the scapegoat for some sort of political maneuver?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Except, again, the Stoli that we buy in America isn’t the Stoli sold in Russia. The latter is controlled by the Russian government after the lawsuit, while the former is the actual SPI company. And because they were kicked out of Russian production after standing up to the Russian government, SPI now produces in Latvia. So this is Latvian vodka, not Russian vodka.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    And did that boycott include those Israeli companies that were explicitly opposed to apartheid and didn’t support it?

    Because, if it did, that seems very hypocritical on the part of the boycotters to me.

  • nicho

    Boycotts do work — when you get the products off the shelves. They don’t work when you leave it up to consumers. That has always been the difference. If Stoli is in the bars, then enough people will drink it to make the boycott meaningless. The reason other boycotts have worked is because businesses — and unions — supported it.

    This is why the Christian right’s boycotts against Disney failed miserably. Kids still want to go to Disney and enough parents will take them. The same with boycotting specific brands. The Coors boycott worked because bar managers go on board, as did the unions. Had it been left to the beer drinkers, most of them would have just kept ordering Coors.

    So, your premise is right. Boycotts don’t work — until they do. What you left out was that when they do, it’s because it wasn’t left up to the consumers. Most boycotts leave it up to the consumer — and most fail.

  • nicho

    Stupid comment. Really stupid.

  • Mike_H

    Something convenient to say *now*, with no proof that they will actually do so.

    Do you understand just how serious and vile the actions of the Russian government are, and how they have emboldened punks and skinheads to physically abuse GLBT people and our supporters? It’s patently ridiculous that the IOC is letting the games continue in Russia *period* with what has been going on.

    All you seem to want to do is play apologist for everyone except the Russian LGBT community.

  • Mike_H

    “One of the main supporters of the LGBT community across the world”?? This is nothing but pure hyperbole. It weakens your argument tremendously.

  • Alison Demzon

    You know as they didn’t bother to read anything else they wouldn’t do so. Also, they were not exactly duplicated, just the mail body of the information. I was thinking that a paragraph different counted as that I have seen by others… Guess they were popular though.

  • marcos

    The big problem here is that this article is all about Americans and not about the Russian LGBT who are on the business end of the policies and any backlash against international solidarity.

    Once American activists learn to put their own need to be seen as doing something aside in favor of the desires of the primary stakeholders in Russia, then we can begin to help instead of acting out on our own rage, possibly causing more harm than good.

    A boycott is in order if Russian LGBT want us to boycott. Other tactics might be what they want us to do. But don’t let any of that prevent exhibitionist activism where everyone gets to be seen by their friends as taking bold action.

  • Sallynotadude

    Ugh, I still don’t like you but this is a wonderful article.

    I hope we can see more traction in pressuring the Olympics, I get that they will likely see the issue as out of their hands but it would be nice to make the squirm.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bcrEqIpi6sg Moderator4

    Alison Demzon, your duplicate comments were deleted. Please do not copy and paste the same comment over and over again on the same thread. You may refer back to your original comment, instead, and others may choose to go back and read it at length if they wish.

  • Alison Demzon

    Sure…
    1. The examples presented are all people and companies. You can make a
    company or brand untouchable easily enough. Hell, the short way is to
    file a few well placed lawsuits that don’t even have to be true. This
    happens all the time. Russia is not a company, a brand, or a person.
    Regardless of what the Tea Party, or other people that are completely
    ignorant of the reality of the difference between a government and a
    company would have you believe a government is not a business. Some
    failed boycotts of countries include Cuba, USSR, China, Vietnam, and the
    list goes one. Everyone of them people vowing they would never buy
    products from there. In the end one or two business went away, and five
    or ten more appeared that people did buy from in the same country.

    2. SPI, the company you are boycotting, had a huge legal fight with
    the Russian government over the name “Stolichnaya” that the Russian
    government lost. (http://www.businessweek.com/st… They then took the company out of the country to Luxemburg. (http://www.advocate.com/politi
    One person that is listed as the CEO is a Russian national, but I don’t
    see anyone boycotting taxi cabs because they are driven by Russian,
    Iranian, or Syrian nationals.

    3. Stolichnaya has sponsored many of the events that you have been
    to, and is part of the reason that we have what we do for marriage
    equality through donations to help. See the last reference for that too.

    Now, you want to actually make a difference? Lets see what would hurt
    the Russian government, as in the primary exports that they get money
    from. https://www.cia.gov/library/pu
    See Exports – commodities, and partners. For there you will see that
    the primary thing to hurt them would be petroleum; as in crude oil. Much
    of it goes to the Netherlands, and then here to the US, and China. You
    want to hut Russia? Quit driving.

    Clear enough? By the way, net time, at least try to make a counter point; this is not high school.

  • Alison Demzon

    Sorry I don’t have time to sit on line all day and they don’t pay me by the post, or by the word.

  • Alison Demzon

    They have. They have been for years. Now they get thanked by people that don’t read more than the font of a bottle, and the words “LGBT party” with a serrated short sword through the chest.

  • Bill_Perdue

    DADT is a minor victory in the fight against employment discrimination and a major victory for the military murder machine called the Pentagon, which needs more cannon fodder.

    In spite of lies, their actions prove that Obama. McCain and Romney all oppose passage of ENDA or a CRA and all refuse to fight for Congressional repeal of DOMA.

    Democrats are the enemy and so are Republicans or put another way, with friends like Democrats, who needs Republicans.

  • Alison Demzon

    Good point. Americablog is not a corporation, or a company; and neither is the Russian government…

  • Alison Demzon

    I’ll just copy this over as it is the same points…

    1. The examples presented are all people and companies. You can make a
    company or brand untouchable easily enough. Hell, the short way is to
    file a few well placed lawsuits that don’t even have to be true. This
    happens all the time. Russia is not a company, a brand, or a person.
    Regardless of what the Tea Party, or other people that are completely
    ignorant of the reality of the difference between a government and a
    company would have you believe a government is not a business. Some
    failed boycotts of countries include Cuba, USSR, China, Vietnam, and the
    list goes one. Everyone of them people vowing they would never buy
    products from there. In the end one or two business went away, and five
    or ten more appeared that people did buy from in the same country.

    2. SPI, the company you are boycotting, had a huge legal fight with
    the Russian government over the name “Stolichnaya” that the Russian
    government lost. (http://www.businessweek.com/st… They then took the company out of the country to Luxemburg. (http://www.advocate.com/politi
    One person that is listed as the CEO is a Russian national, but I don’t
    see anyone boycotting taxi cabs because they are driven by Russian,
    Iranian, or Syrian nationals.

    3. Stolichnaya has sponsored many of the events that you have been
    to, and is part of the reason that we have what we do for marriage
    equality through donations to help. See the last reference for that too.

    Now, you want to actually make a difference? Lets see what would hurt
    the Russian government, as in the primary exports that they get money
    from. https://www.cia.gov/library/pu
    See Exports – commodities, and partners. For there you will see that
    the primary thing to hurt them would be petroleum; as in crude oil. Much
    of it goes to the Netherlands, and then here to the US, and China. You
    want to hut Russia? Quit driving.

  • Alison Demzon

    Yes… Because I don’t agree and have reason not to; I am a “naysayer.” sorry, but I disagree because of the facts that people ignoring from the bar room.
    1. The examples presented are all people and companies. You can make a company or brand untouchable easily enough. Hell, the short way is to file a few well placed lawsuits that don’t even have to be true. This happens all the time. Russia is not a company, a brand, or a person. Regardless of what the Tea Party, or other people that are completely ignorant of the reality of the difference between a government and a company would have you believe a government is not a business. Some failed boycotts of countries include Cuba, USSR, China, Vietnam, and the list goes one. Everyone of them people vowing they would never buy products from there. In the end one or two business went away, and five or ten more appeared that people did buy from in the same country.

    2. SPI, the company you are boycotting, had a huge legal fight with the Russian government over the name “Stolichnaya” that the Russian government lost. (http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-04-06/vodka-wars-spill-into-u-dot-s-dot) They then took the company out of the country to Luxemburg. (http://www.advocate.com/politics/2013/07/25/stoli-responds-lgbt-boycott-russian-products?page=0,1) One person that is listed as the CEO is a Russian national, but I don’t see anyone boycotting taxi cabs because they are driven by Russian, Iranian, or Syrian nationals.

    3. Stolichnaya has sponsored many of the events that you have been to, and is part of the reason that we have what we do for marriage equality through donations to help. See the last reference for that too.

    Now, you want to actually make a difference? Lets see what would hurt the Russian government, as in the primary exports that they get money from. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/rs.html See Exports – commodities, and partners. For there you will see that the primary thing to hurt them would be petroleum; as in crude oil. Much of it goes to the Netherlands, and then here to the US, and China. You want to hut Russia? Quit driving.

    Oh, and last note; your response was pathetic, and made no valid counter points.

  • Monrocsol

    The boycott against anything Anita Bryant worked very well.

  • Guest

    Big difference between the two. Chic Fil A has a CEO that is against LGBT lifestyles. Russia is endorsing violence against the community with the authorities turning a blind eye. I support a person’s right to have their own beliefs/opinions (that’s the great thing about the US) but violence is a completely different issue. Our house enjoys fine vodka and Russia makes the best but we will be shopping around for vodkas made outside Russia.

  • Miles

    And the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell would have happened under McCain? McCain would have been the first sitting President to mention the LGBT community in an Inaugural speech?That’s daft thinking if you ask me.

  • Miles

    “Saying Stoli is an LGBT ally is like saying the company that makes Kool cigarettes is an African American ally because they market their product to the African American community.”

    No, in my eyes, it isn’t. Did Kool cigarettes ever promote African-American Pride? In my experience, I can’t speak for yours shawnthesheep, in my youth Stoli was one of the first major corporations to start sponsoring gay pride events after the AIDS crisis and all of the damage that did to our community.

    And I already mentioned “Purely for profit, perhaps?” That is what companies do to stay in business, market to those who would use their products.

    There needs to be a better way to help our fellow human beings in Russia than boycotting a vodka brand, this is just exactly what the right wing does to us, intellectually and factually lazy arm chair protesting. Whoo Hooo for the media attention! Sorry to bite you in the ass “company x”, but loyalty means nothing when we get our panties worked up into a bunch.

    I’m not buying this argument shawnthesheep, but I will be buying a bottle of Stoli to numb my mind to this nonsense. If boycotting Stoli makes YOU feel better about the atrocities in Russia and the fear for our athletes attending the games, go for it! It is “something”.

  • Miles

    My comment “It’s not always about us” was referring to the athletes who participate in the Olympic Games. I should have been more clear with my comment.

    I agree with your statements DN, thank you for your passion in eliminating oppression.

  • pliny

    As much I disapprove of getting one’s Godwin on, I have this mental image stuck in my head of volunteers passing out pink triangle patches with the Olympic rings to people boarding flights to Russia. That way the Russians know which people are under the IOC’s “protection” and which ones are okay to beat….

  • AahGrove

    You’re making an assumption that Stoli and its owner pays the Russian government a lot of taxes. Yes they have operations there, but they have greater operations in Latvia and other countries like Luxembourg and the US.

  • AahGrove

    Boycotting Stoli won’t make the government look bad. Yes its starting to gain awareness, but Stoli is at war with the Russian government and any lost revenue from the is boycott will only make Putin happy.

  • DN

    “It’s not always about us”

    If a minority white country was oppressing the majority black population, I, as a white person, would boycott (and I did).

    If a majority black country was seeking revenge on white farmers and slaughtering them, I would boycott (this one is easy as Zimbabwe isn’t a captain of industry).

    If a majority Religion-X was oppressing a minority Religion-Y, I would boycott (not going to name religions because it’s just not worth getting into).

    The point is that when human beings treat other human beings as untermensch, it’s on all of us – ALL of us – to do something, even if it’s not much.

  • DN

    Agreed, but keep in mind that the Canadian influx of Russian and, primarily, Ukrainians happened well over a hundred years ago. I don’t know jack-shit about any extended family in Eastern Europe, and I don’t know anyone whose name ends in “chuk” that does =D

  • olandp

    Pot, meet kettle.

  • DN

    Aravosis covered that in the article. Stoli was the first brand, and boycotting it gets the word out. Once people know that Russia has chosen to initiate a pogrom against gays, they’ll think twice before buying, say, a Lada.

    I take it from your post that you think the boycott is this-and-nothing-more, when the article clearly states the opposite.

  • olandp

    And the Coors Foundation still uses its money to support right wing think tanks, like The Heritage Foundation that work against our interests, and the interests of America.

  • Bill_Perdue

    You mean, no thanks, I don’t take the truth into account.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Oh, this is an anti-capitalism argument. Yeah, no thanks.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Yes.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Capitalists have only one goal – to get richer by cutting wages and benefits and by charging usurious interest rates. Their value as an ally is as questionable as the value of the Democrats as an ‘ally’.

    Many American compromises had business alliances with Nazi Germany before and after the out break of war. “In 1998, the Justice Department declassified documents which showed that 300 American companies continued doing business in Germany during the war. Additionally, there have been allegations that Ford and General Motors’ subsidiaries in Germany used slave labor. German factories also constructed factories and railroads throughout South America. Several of these corporations continued to keep subsidiaries in Germany during the war.
    Approximately 50 corporations employed slave and forced labor during World War II. These included American companies — Bayer, BMW, Volkswagen, and Daimler-Chrysler — which reached agreement in December 1999 to establish a $5.1 billion fund to pay victims. Opel, General Motors’ German subsidiary, announced it would contribute to the fund. Other American companies operating in Germany during the war included General Motors and the Ford Motor Company.” http://www.angelfire.com/ca3/jphuck/Book14Ch.1.html

  • Bill_Perdue

    Calling Stoli an ally is as daft as calling Cheney or Obama allies because they ‘support’ marriage equality, each for their own separate reasons.

  • calisto

    Please be mindful, that the heir to Coors is homosexual and came out years ago. Since that time, he has righted the wrongs of the Company and has and will continue support the LGBT Community. Just a friendly FYI:)

  • Bill_Perdue

    Saying that Stoli is on our side is as daft as saying that because Obama rebranded to fool those apt to be fooled that he’s on our side.

  • Bill_Perdue

    Yes

  • Bill_Perdue

    The Stoli boycott seems mainly limited to the US. If it works as well as the Coors boycott it may be of some help in organizing american gay communities to support the Russian LGBT groups call for action which in any case will resonate far more effectively in the EU.

    http://www.back2stonewall.com/2013/07/russians-organize-winter-sochi-pride-opening-day-winter-olympics.html

    http://www.gayrussia.eu/

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So how exactly would they prove to you that they ARE willing and wanting to focus on the LGBT community? Or is there absolutely nothing they can do that would convince you?

  • Bill_Perdue

    They’re profit mongering.

  • Bill_Perdue

    We should push to get unions, retirement plans and etc to divest from NBC, Aeroflot and other companies sponsoring the games in Sochi until the anti-gay laws are lifted.

  • Bill_Perdue

    “I cannot think of a situation in post-WWII history where a foreign government has been so utterly friendless, not just in the United States, but throughout the entire free world.”

    Perhaps you forget the vast level of criticism if the US around the world and among Arabs and muslims because of US support for the murders of IDF thugs and the US genocide in Iraq.

    The RF has committed crimes against humanity but they pale in comparison to those of the US. The US, as long as Section Two of DOMA remains and until ENDA or something better is passed, is a homophobic nation.

    The Cold War, for most of us, is over.

    If you reply remember to keep it political.

  • Bill_Perdue

    I’ve been a union, revolutionary socialist and gay activist for decades and I say the the Stoli boycott, while not a bad thing, is secondary compared to the plans to the “organising committee of Moscow Gay Pride and founders of the banned Pride House Sochi” who “decided today against the boycott of Winter Olympics in Sochi and instead to organise Winter Sochi Pride on the day of the opening of Olympic Games on 7 February 2014. Join us! It will be much more effective to draw attention to official homophobia in Russia all around the world and expose the hypocrisy of the International Olympic Committee which went into discriminatory agreements with Russian regime and of the European Court of Human Rights which still has not considered our complaint concerning the unlawful denial to register Pride House Sochi! Vive Sochi Pride 2014!” – Russian LGBT activist Nikolai Alekseyev, as quoted (in Russian) on http://www.gayrussia.eu/

    Does my support for the largest and far and away the most effective LGBT rights group in the RF make me a naysayer.

  • Tony Di Pietro

    Would love to see far right, anti socialists, be spiteful towards us like they were with Chic Fil A and buy Stoli/Russian made products in mass, The irony would be delicious.

  • Wolfgang

    Thom, with all due respect- sales and production of MANY products by MANY companies feed in to the Russian economic base and tax system and these are not being targeted.

    Ford produces the Ford Explorer in Russia:
    http://media.ford.com/article_display.cfm?article_id=37922

    Chrysler is considering building a Jeep SUV in Russia:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-11/chrysler-seeks-to-finish-planning-for-jeep-suv-factory-in-russia.html

    Coca-Cola has bottling plants in Russia:
    http://en.coca-colahellenic.ru/Aboutus/Whatwedo/

    And of course, brands like Apple & Samsung (for the iPhone 4S and 5 and the Galaxy S3 &4, both have licensed GLONASS, a Russian government owned navigation system, to boost accuracy of location services), Google etc. are hugely successful in Russia. These companies are not being asked to speak out,

  • Wolfgang

    No, it hasn’t – just like other companies we would consider allies haven’t because it is against Russian law.

    Also, unlike in the West, Putin’s homophobic laws have widespread support within the population.
    Folks, open your eyes- those last couple of days weren’t a sudden escalation brought on by Putin’s 2 anti-gay laws. The repression, the hate, the attacks have been going on for decades. Putin codifying them into law just finally got people to take a closer look at Russia.

  • Curtis H. Folts

    Congratulations from a libertarian who disagrees with you but also loves attention.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    The free market is very scary.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    My personal opinion is that it probably isn’t… but I don’t really have much faith in the impact of boycotts in general, aside from the basic public attention drawn to the issue because of them. Traditionally what you see with a boycott is the company involved just finding a sneakier way to keep doing what they’ve always done. Or sending out a sacrificial lamb to take the blame for the animus, while, again, still not actually changing their operating procedures. The Coors boycott is a good example of this. They ostensibly changed some policies, and seem like a pretty pro-gay company now (at least more so than most) but the company and its CEO never for a moment stopped funding and organizing conservative political groups, which are actively working to make the lives of anyone not straight, white, and Christian harder.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So is trading off one of our allies really worth that?

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Most people haven’t… in fact, even most vodka drinkers haven’t. It’s a recognizable name, but only a relatively small fraction of the American vodka market. Which is really what makes this boycott so easy. Most of us don’t actually have to give anything up, and there’s always plenty of virtually equal options for those who still have the need to imbibe.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    It’s done what it can in Russia, but it’s much less. The last time Stoli tried to directly stand up to the Russian government, Putin tried to have all of them arrested and their company shut down.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Because we’re scapegoating one of our allies to do it.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Has it supported those things in Russia?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    You seriously don’t know anything about Stoli and how it has promoted pride parades and so many other things in support of the LGBT community.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I’ve never even had a single drink of Stoli. Seriously, are you trolling or what?

  • willbnyc

    A boycott is SYMBOLIC. It gets the attention of local, then national, then international media. If it economically affects the targeted company, great. But mainly it’s a way to get media attention. And this boycott has gotten lots of attention. How could someone be against it?

  • shawnthesheep

    Bullshit bullshit bullshit. The head of NBC Sports said they would only address and/or acknowledge the issue of LGBT rights in Russia if it was affecting the Olympic Games. So as long as the Russian government doesn’t harass athletes or tourists traveling to Russia to attend the Olympics, NBC thinks it’s OK to ignore the situation.

  • PeteWa

    gee, I wonder.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    What do libertarians have to do with this whatsoever?

  • shawnthesheep

    You have no idea who I am or wear I’m sitting. You also don’t know what I have risked for the causes I believe to be just.

    You continue to assert that a corporation is an ally simply because they market and advertise their product to the LGBT community. Selling vodka to the gay community does not make a corporation an LGBT ally.

  • PeteWa

    libertarians sure hate boycotts.

  • Siderside

    My pickled onions have never received a single complaint, thank you.

  • Siderside

    The whole argument is tone deaf and lacks nuance. Aravosis acts as if anyone against this particular boycott is an idiot who doesn’t understand the power and purpose of boycotts in general. I am a big fan of boycotts, just not this one. I don’t need the condescension.

  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    What if the moon was made of green cheese? What if all the men were transported far beyond the northern sea? What if your pickled onions were too crispy?

  • FLL

    Americablog is not a multimillion dollar corporation. Oh, wait. Did I get that wrong? John, are you secretly a multimillionaire? There are times when I’m in Chicago to visit my relatives… LMAO. No, Siderside, I don’t think Americablog is a money-making venture on par with Stoli. Nice try.

  • Siderside

    Let’s say the US did something horrible, you know, just hypothetically. Let’s say we, I dunno, killed a bunch of innocent families as collateral damage in a drone strike overseas. Or, I dunno, maybe some of our soldiers got drunk and took pictures of themselves sticking things up some POWs’ butts and pissing on them for kicks. Then let’s say that rightfully outraged some folks around the world. So those folks decided to collectively target Americablog. “What?” you say. “But that doesn’t make any sense! Americablog had nothing to do with those drone strikes or human rights abuses in Abu Ghraib. In fact, Americablog is against those things. We’re the good guys. I mean, we didn’t ever speak up about those things, but we certainly don’t condone them. How is it fair to hurt our livelihood based on something our government did that we have no control over?”

  • olandp

    You’re right Sterling. We should all increase our intake of Stoli. I promise to double, no triple, my consumption. Sterling needs to justify his salary.

    No college student has ever worked while going to school. Now take your dolly rags and go home.

  • FLL

    I think it would be a grand development for Stoli to be dropped from the boycott (but other Russian companies kept on the boycott list). I think this is a real possibility. No one has to put themselves in danger of arrest if they are speaking from Luxembourg, which is where Stoli is technically registered. Stoli is also free to use its money in Luxembourg and elsewhere in ways that could directly benefit activists in Russia.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Because, as i’m sure you know, Stoli has been extremely receptive to everyone’s comments regarding this. But the problem is that nobody has offered them any solutions or options whatsoever. They’ve just been boycotting them with no option on their part on what they can do to help rectify things (beyond getting themselves thrown in jail, apparently.)

  • shawnthesheep

    Stoli has not been on “our side.” Stoli sells vodka. Gay people drink vodka. So Stoli targets gay consumers and gay events with its advertising. Saying Stoli is an LGBT ally is like saying the company that makes Kool cigarettes is an African American ally because they market their product to the African American community.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I did. I replied.

  • FLL

    I don’t really get the impression that the target of anger is Stoli. But I admit I haven’t read all the different websites that are talking about this. My guess is that other people have made the suggestions that I’m making now.

    In fact, it would be spectacular if the Stoli execs in Luxembourg could get together with some Western activists.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Then everyone should be calling for that. But besides you suddenly mentioning that idea here, I haven’t seen a single person write an article calling for that, they’ve just been attacking Stoli.

  • FLL

    No, let me make it easier. Read my suggestions just under your comment.

  • FLL

    OK, so there are quite a few comments from people who think that Stoli should be treated differently than, for instance, Russian Standard. May I remind everyone that Stoli has incredibly deep pockets and, therefore, lots of money to throw around. I am not asking Mr. Scheffler to risk imprisonment by advocating on behalf of civil rights in Russia, which is where he lives. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable for Mr. Scheffler and his company to move part of their operations out of Russia. The bottling operation is already in Latvia. Why not buy grain from somewhere other than Russia? You’re telling me that the grain the the Swedish company, Absolut, uses is inferior? That’s not believable. In addition to that, the board of directors of Stoli meets in Luxembourg. No one is going to be arrested for advocating for civil rights in Luxembourg, are they? Well, are they? And some of those gazillions of dollars in profits could be put in a fund in a Western country where it could be accessed by civil rights activists in Russia. Just a few ideas for the excessively wealthy Mr. Scheffler and his excessively wealthy company.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So you ARE asking for them to get themselves put in jail. Because that is what will happen if they try to directly go up against the Russian government. It’s what happened the last time they did it.

    Because, see, Stoli has actually tried that one before. And it did not end well for them. And now you’re asking them to do it again, at great physical expense to their well being as individuals, while you sit on your couch on your computer?

  • shawnthesheep

    The problem is very few people have ever heard of Russian Standard. Boycotting a brand that people don’t know is not the way to raise awareness. Sometimes, what’s “fair” in your eyes is not what’s effective. Perhaps you should trust the activists who have done this successfully in the past and stop acting like you know better.

  • shawnthesheep

    You keep calling Stoli an ally. How are they an ally? What have they done for the LGBT community, other than try to sell us their product?

  • marcos

    I think that they can get us information on what their wishes are. John’s examples are domestic and I agree with him. This is an asymmetrical relationship where we have more power than they do and we need to take care to respect their vulnerability relative to our power. That is different than anything we’ve faced here where it was all us.

    I’d learned this over the years working on anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity movements during the Reagan years and now it applies to this solidarity movement.

    Whatever Russian LGBT say is good by me, boycott included. That is not naysaying, it is respecting the autonomy of our allies to chart their own course in ways they see as best and are most appropriate to their circumstance, a circumstance we cannot know.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Let me make it easier.

    The Stoli Vodka we buy in the US isn’t made in Russia, it’s made in Latvia. This is because of the whole lawsuit thing between Stoli and the Russian government, where it ended up with Stoli being allowed to sell elsewhere, but not within Russia, the Russian government gets to control the interior selling of Stoli Vodka.

    So the vodka is now made separately, with Stoli making theirs in Latvia.

    Thus, boycotting Stoli will have NO effect whatsoever on Russia, since it sells its homemade Stoli only within the country.

    Instead, you are harming Stoli and Latvia.

    So, again I ask, what exactly are we benefiting here?

  • shawnthesheep

    Seriously, did you not read the article? The boycott is barely a week old and it’s already gaining serious traction. If nothing else, it’s raising awareness about the draconian laws the Russian government has recently enacted against LGBT people. The boycott has gone global. Every time it’s discussed on social media or in the press, the story of Russia’s treatment of gays gets re-told to a new audience.

    Perhaps Stoli does not deserve the negative attention in the same way Chick-Fil-A does. But Stoli proudly proclaims they are “made in Russia,” and they have spent years cultivating their image as a gay-friendly brand. The company has placed itself in the spotlight. But where was Stoli when the Russian government was restricting the rights of LGBT people? Did they stand up for human rights? Nope. They just kept sponsoring Pride events and pushing their product. It’s time that corporations learn that they need to do more than advertise to the gay community if they want to be considered an ally.

  • marcos

    Of course, as an individual, you can do whatever you want. But as an organized action designed to mass communicate and put pressure on another government that has power over queers there, we should follow their lead because it is primarily their fight.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Yes, their employees do have equal protections (at least their employees within countries where they are legally allowed to do so). I do not know about donations, but considering how much money they have put into funding things like pride parades, I would assume they do.

    Furthermore, what exactly is the point of this? The Stoli Vodka sold in the US isn’t even made in Russia, but in Latvia.

    Here, read this:

    http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/26/the-terrible-bad-no-good-plan-to-boycott

  • FLL

    You’re playing dumb and pretending that there have never been boycotts of all of a country’s products. The situation would have to be extreme, but there certainly have been cases of country-wide boycotts in history, and you know it.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Yes, but those were cases where it was country against country.

    The LGBT community spans the entire world, so it’s not as viable to make it a stark nationality thing. We should be focusing on the Russian products that aren’t our allies, not going directly for the ones that are.

  • dukecityjim

    Simply marketing your product to the GLBT community doesn’t mean they are an ally. All it means is that they sponsor events to sell their vodka.

    Do they put any money back into the community in the way of donations against stuff like Prop 8. DO their LGBT employees have equal benefits and protection?

    Supplying the alcohol for HRC parties and pride events so people can get drunk doesn’t mean anything if it’s just an effort to get their name in front of the community to sell more of their product.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Wouldn’t it be far better to focus on all the other Russian brands that aren’t our allies, like Russian Standard? We have no reason whatsoever to be going after an ally that has supported us for so long.

    You can galvanize the public and the media just as much without harming our friends.

  • FLL

    Yes, people are boycotting Stoli because of the country where much of its production is done. That is hardly a novel concept in world history. I’m sure you can think of other instances where all of a country’s products have been boycotted.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    And what exactly has Stoli done wrong? Are we seriously punishing them for their nationality, something they can’t control?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Coors’ distribution of its funds like that are a choice that it’s making, so it makes complete sense to be against them because of it.

    But you’re boycotting Stoli for their nationality? How exactly are they supposed to fix that? It’s ridiculous.

    “Of course you won’t as you are just a hack for the distributor trying to mitigate the damage already done to your brand.”

    What? I’m a 22 year old Molecular Biology major in Nebraska.

  • chris10858

    I actually think it;s a good thing to make our allies scared of us. Otherwise, we end up with allies like Obama… someone who says all the right things but then only does something to help us after we put pressure on him.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    I would prefer that NBC cover the Olympics than some Russian station. NBC has already stated they are going to be doing as much coverage of the LGBT athletes and things like that as possible. They certainly aren’t shying away from trying to poke Russia in the eye.

  • FLL

    Even you don’t think that the boycott will put Stoli out of business. You’d be lying if you say you did. The boycott will have some effect on sales in Western countries, but sales in Russia and Eastern Europe alone will be more than enough to keep Stoli in business. So they may have one or two bad quarters for sales. Meanwhile, gay people and their allies are being beaten and tortured, and families headed by gay people are preparing to leave Russia to avoid having their children taken from them. The boycott is galvanizing opinion among the public and in the media, which is its purpose.

  • olandp

    Coors supports our community too, yet profits go to the Joseph Coors Foundation which then distributes it to organizations that work to limit our rights. Forget that we are talking about alcohol and the incidence of alcoholism in our community.

    If you want to drink Stoli Sterling go right ahead, drink all that we are not. Of course you won’t as you are just a hack for the distributor trying to mitigate the damage already done to your brand.

    I won’t be consuming any Russian products, including caviar.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    And NBC has stated that they are going to be doing their utmost to be highlighting the LGBT community during their coverage.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    So are you trying to put Stoli out of business? Because so long as they remain in business, the same amount of tax money will be going to the Russian government. It’s going to have a negligible effect on the government, while harming one of our allies.

    How exactly is this a victory?

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Except all this is doing is showing that the LGBT community is willing to turn on their own allies when it is politically beneficial.

    I don’t think it’s making any of us look good.

  • chris10858

    I think protesters should show up en masse to Russian embassies dressed up as the gay concentration camp prisoners were dressed during WWII. Putin and his allies are effectively doing the same to gay people as Hitler did to gays, Jews, and other groups during the early part of the war.

    Plus, it would make a really great snapshot for media outlets.

    Even in conservative Russia, Putin being compared to Hitler might just give older Russians pause.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    Then can you explain how Stoli fits under any of those things you listed? Stoli has been an LGBT community ally for years and has spent tons of money on sponsorships and other things to benefit us.

  • FLL

    The rationale for the boycott doesn’t revolve around the statements of Stoli’s owners or whether they have supported gay pride events in the past. Under the present extreme circumstances in Russia, the rationale is that the boycott is of all Russian products. A large amount of tax money goes to the Russian government as a result of Stoli’s operations.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Ha! I didn’t even think of that.

  • olandp

    I can’t drink Vodka, an allergy, but I’m with you in spirit, or should I say spirits. I do not consume anything from Exxon/Mobil, BP, have never been in a Chick-fil-a, no Coors products (even though they have reportedly changed their ways), and other companies. I don’t call for boycotts, but try to watch where I spend my money.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And I think it very much can help people back home in Russia, which is why 23 top lgbt activists have signed on.

  • chris10858

    Even if I agreed with your assertions, is it not still my right to give my gay dollars to whomever I wish? Why should I support a company that has ties with Russia and who pays taxes to the Russian government?

  • chris10858

    As I read through the comments below, I realize some people just do not get the intended results of a successful boycott. It’s not about putting a company out of business. Let’s face it, we are not going to financially ruin the Stoli name brand. Sure, they might have a few quarters of bad sales but they should be able to weather through.

    The boycott is about power and influence. These are the only two things that politicians and financial leaders understand. We can try to appeal to the injustices that are being enacted against the LGBT community in Russia. As we have learned time and time again, that only gets us so far.

    The goal of this boycott is to make Russia and Putin look really bad on the international stage. As we have seen many times before, once momentum gets going, CEOs from many of the multi-national companies will step over each other to condemn the anti-gay laws in Russia.

    While this may or may not effect a change to help Russia’s LGBT community, it will help us here in the US to strengthen our political capital at home and abroad.

    I’m sorry if one or two companies get hurt in the process but in the words of Harvey Fierstein, there are more important things to consider than a few athletes or [my own addition] a few large companies getting hurt economically. There are gay people being tortured and killed in Russia.

    If shareholders of a few Russian companies lose millions of dollars, cry me a %^*^*%^ river.

  • AahGrove

    That article is 6 years old, things can change in that time. They may have moved the majority of their distillation to Latvia and had to change provenance.

  • http://firefeeder.blogspot.com/ Stratplayer

    And out come the naysayers.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    How far do you think Stoli should reasonably go? Putin already tried to get the owner jailed in the past because of him speaking out against the Russian government.

    I don’t think he should have to get himself jailed under potential threat of death just to “prove” that he’s an ally. His company has already proven that through its efforts to support the LGBT community throughout the world.

  • http://firefeeder.blogspot.com/ Stratplayer

    If they call for a boycott they get thrown in prison. We have our problems but they are nothing compared to what our Russian brothers and sisters are suffering. This is exactly the kind of naysaying John is talking about.

  • Orych

    I think IOC should use the opp and engage in full fledged ‘gay propaganda’ in Sochi. Most Russian people do not have access to English language sources since few speak giod enough English. Their only source of info is often state sponsored media and social networks that often take bigotry at the level the state cant even dream of. Olympics would be an excellent opportunity to bring in some positive messages: it is live which means uncensored. Boycotting it will be a lost opportunity and will also confirm Russian government’s own propaganda that West is enemy. Russia has a lot of amazing talented people, activists who risk their lives on a greater scale than Act Up activists back in the day here. There is enough hatred. There is need for some positive messages.

  • Sterling Ericsson

    This is idiotic. You don’t even discuss the fact that Stoli Vodka is one of the main supporters of the LGBT community across the world. That’s the reason why it was used in so many gay bars!

    Attacking Stoli is not benefiting our community whatsoever, you’re just using one of our allies as an instrument to try and say it’s effecting Russia, when you’re doing nothing to Russia by boycotting it.

    I am fine with boycotting Russian Standard, as they are not one of our allies, but Stoli has always stood by us.

    You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

  • chris10858

    NBC’s logo. Sweet irony!

  • AahGrove

    You’re reading something that isn’t there. He said he supports your objectives, not your tactics. Stoli has supported the LGBT community in the US and other countries. They are fighting with Russian government for control of their brand and have no influence over the government there.

  • marcos

    Boycotting companies in your own country where you have to deal with the entirety of the politics is different than boycotting companies elsewhere where the burden for dealing with international reaction falls on those in the region.

    The wishes of the people facing the business end of Putin’s policies should dictate the nature of the actions of solidarity taken by people who live elsewhere. It is not like our house is in order and we are poised to swoop in and help others right now. No, our house is aflame and we’re not exactly in a position to be taken seriously having ourselves just relieved ourselves of many of these shackles, vast swaths of the US are still only slightly more hospitable to LGBT than Putin’s Russia.

    If they call for a boycott, then let’s boycott. But it has to be their call, that’s how solidarity works.

  • AahGrove

    Stoli in Russia is state owned while SPI owns Stoli in US, Canada and 150 other countries. Two separate companies.

  • CattyNineTails

    Or maybe they haven’t quite made the evolutionary leap to human ? They’re exhibiting the same primitive behavior of rampaging chimps:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7XuXi3mqYM

  • chris10858

    Hmmm… if someone got arrested in Russia just for wearing rainbow suspenders, what is Russia going to do with the NBC logo all over the place during the Olympics… a rainbow-colored peacock? LMAO

  • chris10858

    Note to NBC and the advertisers paying to air ads in the US during the Olympics:

    Who do you think watches the Olympics? It’s certainly not those beer guzzling, nacho-eating straight guys watching Johnny Weir perform magically on the ice rink.

    More than likely, its Chuck and Steve, newly married gay couple in say New York state who are drinking their Skyy vodka martinis and snacking on something fabulous (Non-Russian) that was way overpriced at their organic grocery store.

    NBC and the IOC may try to ignore us but if NBC thinks its rating will be affected, I wouldn’t doubt seeing the head of NBC pushing against Putin on LGBT equality for ALL of Russia’s LGBT community and not the few thousands LGBT foreigners in attendance at the Olympics.

  • FLL

    Other Russian products are reasonable targets, but the reasons for coalescing around the boycott of Stoli are:

    (1) Grain is grown in Russia.
    (2) Grain is distilled into alcohol in Russia. After that, it is sent to Latvia for refining and bottling.
    (3) Stoli pays corporate taxes to the Russian government.

    The Russian vodka boycott is the best tool there is right now. You doubt its success? Take a look Forbes Magazine:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryndill/2013/07/29/protest-shots-gay-bars-boycott-stolichnaya-over-russian-anti-lgbt-policies/

    Since this has taken on a life of its own, it’s a little too late for whining and sarcasm, don’t you think?

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    An then, an then,………

  • Thom Allen

    Could you ramble more coherently and at least try to make a little sense?

  • Thom Allen

    So you want the violence and repression to continue? What kind of reason do you need to do something?

  • Thom Allen

    And Stoli is fully aware that their product is being boycotted as a part of that action. Therefore, if Stoli supports the boycott, it is in agreement with Stoli itself being boycotted. Which is consistent with Stoli being very supportive of LGBTQ rights an issues, which is also brought out in the CEO’s letter.

    Also, of note, nowhere in the letter by Mendeleev doe he ask that, in light of Stoli’s support of LGBTQ issues AND the boycott, does he ask for LGBTQs to stop boycotting Stoli.

    Stoli uses Russian grains. Stoli pays for them with money earned by sales to LGBTQs and others, thereby supporting the Russian economy.

    As to the Guardian and the Russian activists, so? The boycott is generating publicity and pressure on companies that are supporting the Olympics, governments and the UN to push back against the anti-gay laws, pressure on Putin and his thugs, pressure on the IOC and others.

  • Alison Demzon

    Because putting Latvian workers out of jobs has everything to do with the Putin run government. Love the enthusiasm; now if it was only put in a direction that indicated the person actually read the other side of the bottle they see at the bar. Oh, and Rush is on his way out, contrary to this article written after the announcement was made that one of the largest networks carrying his show still was not renewing it. All the examples used are of US based people that have advertisers anyway; the Russian government does not sell air time to advertisers, and they could care less is SPI went out of business as it would clear the way for them after loosing the lawsuit a few years back anyway.

  • caris

    Thom that is not a reason for me to do anything. Dan Savage, pretty much dismissed an early letter from Stoli as marketing on their part. Coming out in the west against the boycott does them no real good. The best they can hope for is to try and generate goodwill for when this comes to an end, either with the capitulation of the Russian government or some other way.

  • caris

    Yes, it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with foreign nationals being arrested, held, fined, ejected and banned from Russia under the anti-gay law. It must be because of the boycott.

  • Thom Allen

    Stoli USA supports the boycott. Reportedly the Russian Stoli site does not. Apparently, Stoli is trying to work both sides of the fence: look good to LGBTQs and the more tolerant nations in the west, and be silent in the country where the violence is occurring.

  • Thom Allen

    Partners and sponsors of the Sochi Olympic Games that you can contact. Or use the petition site that I posted below.
    Coca-Cola

    Panasonic

    VISA

    Samsung

    Procter&Gamble

    Other companies that invest heavily in Russia that you can contact:
    Caterpillar
    Holiday Inn
    Hyatt
    Marriott
    Sheraton
    Ernst and Young

    NBC for carrying the Olympics.

  • FLL

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that media attention has focused on the repression in Russia only during the last five days. The cause and effect seems obvious. That doesn’t mean everyone has to join the boycott. It’s really taken on a life of its own. Even if you don’t join the boycott, why not just relax and see what gets accomplished?

  • Thom Allen

    No matter, sales of Stoli feed into the Russian economic base and tax system.

  • Brus

    1. The letter does not say they support the boycott of their product, it says they support the fight against the Russian government.

    2. >>”…The Guardian points out that even Russia’s own gay rights activists are saying the boycott is misguided:

    “They mixed everything up. Stolichnaya isn’t Russian,” Said the lawyer Nikolai Alekseev, head of the Moscow Pride organizing committee.”<<

    http://www.towleroad.com/2013/07/libertarian-magazine-calls-boycott-of-stoli-vodka-over-russias-anti-gay-regime-a-very-bad-idea-.html

  • FLL

    The letter from Russian activists that John links to makes it clear that they very much appreciate the support that the boycott represents. You can read their letter here:

    http://americablog.com/2013/07/23-russian-gay-activists-endorse-boycott-russian-vodka.html

  • Hue-Man

    I would like to see your clear, concise explanation of the anti-gay laws and anti-gay violence – with photos and videos – to appear more broadly in the mainstream media. Cowards don’t like publicity. The only way Putin is going to pay attention is if all his important trading partners raise the persecution of gays with his government officials, Russian ambassadors, consular officials, and business people – negative press is BAD for business.

    A second important audience is the Russian and East European diaspora which, in Canada’s case, represents 10% of the population. How would a Russian respond to a Canadian relative who asks “Why is my government telling me that it may be unsafe for me to visit you?” The wealthy Russians in Paris and the French Riviera must be delivering the same messages back to Moscow.

    Finally, this is a preventive strike against gay-hating politicians in Central Europe who have been edging in the same anti-gay direction while neo-Nazi parties have gained influence.

  • caris

    No, in my first two paragraphs I’m claiming that this
    boycott has been trying to get itself off the ground for years and has only just now
    gotten any real traction. He is the one
    claiming that some how this boycott is the casue of the increased media
    attention, and not the result. Follow
    the link it is the real Stranger webpage and a real post by Dan Savage, not something
    that I made up for your viewing pleasure.

    I’m not calling for a stop to the boycott in the third, but
    asking the author or any of you to address my personal objection, and convince
    me that boycotting Stoli is a good idea.
    They want me to change my behavior, it behooves them to put forth an argument
    to convince me. You want to be their
    advocate? Tell me in detail why it is a
    good idea to punish an ally?

  • Miles

    I disagree with your assessment FLL, but I hope the boycott works out for what you are trying to accomplish. I will remain loyal to the companies that have remained loyal to me thanks.

  • Indigo

    And you are his spokesperson? Funny how his message of approval and loving-kindness isn’t getting traction.

  • Indigo

    I don’t think you’re looking for detailed explanations of anything. You’re grinding an axe for reasons that have nothing to do with this discussion.

  • FlyingP4dre

    Sounds like they might have to change the color of the rings, lest there be confusion.

  • FlyingP4dre

    “S.P.I. and Allied Domecq testified in the U.S. court that the vodka continues to be produced in Russia, at distilleries in Kaliningrad and Tambov.”

    The full story is awfully incomplete. If SPI’s vodka is not made in Russia it will be a testament to the strength of this boycott if they choose to come clean rather than continue their legal stance in the United States for the sake of brand labeling. If they chose not to, you’d still be left with a company that would rather lie about its branding than support equality, despite Latvia being remarkably progressive versus Russia.

  • FLL

    Stoli’s grain is grown in Russia, the grain is distilled into alcohol in Russia and Stoli pays corporate taxes to the Russian government. Above all, the success of Stoli in foreign markets lends prestige to Russia.

  • Thom Allen

    Stoli CEO Val Mendeleev APPROVES of the boycott. Check out his letter on the Stoli site.

  • Thom Allen

    Even Stoli supports the boycott. Read their CEO’s letter on the Stoli site.

  • FLL

    In your first paragraph, you laugh at the boycott for taking 6 years to produce a “piss poor result.” In your second paragraph, you claim that the boycott “is barely getting going,” accusing John of hubris in claiming otherwise. Yet in your third paragraph, you plead (or whine or beg) for us to stop the boycott. Which is it then? The first two paragraphs or the third? Before you sit down to write, first decide what your main idea is. Try to avoid arguing to separate main ideas that contradict each other.

  • Miles

    Who needs enemies with friends like the gay community? Stoli has been on “our side” for YEARS. Purely for profit? Perhaps. But we allowed Coors the opportunity to change for the very same reason. What in the heck is Stoli supposed to do for us besides what they’ve already been doing as a company? We should be hell bent on convincing the IOC to move the games and/or convincing NBC to team up with homosexual participants and their allies to make fools of the Russian Government. Have fun with your boycott, I’ll be with Pats and Eddie.

  • caris

    It also helps, when you try to write history to meet the
    story you are trying tell. Dan Savage
    advocated boycotting Stoli on June 5, 2007. (http://slog.thestranger.com/2007/06/stoli_rocks_block
    ) I would really say that taking 6 years
    to get even the results you are claiming is a pretty piss poor result. No, the boycott idea is gaining traction, because
    of all the news attention Russia
    has been getting. Not that Russia is getting
    more attention because of the pretty much ignored boycott of 6 years standing.

    I’ve been hearing the stories and noting the escalation all along.
    It really seems to me the highest of hubris
    on your part to claim that this boycott that is barely getting going is responsible
    for the increased news coverage and not the more obvious fact that Russia has taken
    their anti-gay activities to levels where it is starting to impact non-Russian nationals.

    Please, explain to me in detail why it makes sense to punish
    a company that has been ally of ours? Even
    Dan in his original 2007 post that Stoli was a corporate sponsor of Labda
    Legal.

  • FLL

    It just occurred to me what a clueless strategy it was for Putin to use gay people and their allies as his scapegoats. In democracies worldwide (not just Western ones), Putin has succeeded in losing the goodwill of people from one end of the political spectrum to the other. Conservatives in the West have been anti-Russian since 1917. Progressives have been increasingly hostile toward Russia over the last several years because of Putin’s treatment of gay people. You might point out that the repressive Soviet policy toward Russian Jews in the 1970s and 1980s also alienated some progressives, but there was always a segment of the Left that pointed to Israeli aggression in the Middle East as an aggravating factor. Today, the Russian government is despised without exception across the political spectrum—Right, Left and middle—albeit for different reasons, depending on political allegiances. In the 1970s and 1980s, Russian Jews, like all Soviet citizens, were prevented from emigrating, but the government sponsored anti-gay oppression today brings things to a level unheard of in the 70s and 80s: laws singling out gay people reminiscent of Nazi Germany and violent pogroms reminiscent of 19th-century antisemitic pogroms.

    This leaves gay and progressive forces in a unique position to win this battle. I cannot think of a situation in post-WWII history where a foreign government has been so utterly friendless, not just in the United States, but throughout the entire free world. Not only is this battle so perfectly winnable, it’s also strategically important. Anti-gay regimes in the Middle East and Africa consistently look to Russia as a model for “what they can get away with.” As Russia goes, so go the last remaining homophobic strongholds on Planet Earth.

  • Thom Allen

    Val Mendeleev, CEO Stoli actually supports the boycott of all things Russian.

    From the Stoli website:

    “Stoli’s production process involve both Russia and Latvia.
    Stoli is made from Russian ingredients (wheat, rye and raw
    alcohol” So money, from buying Stoli, flows into the Russian economy
    when the grains are bought, thereby supporting the Russian economy and
    acts as an advertisement for Russian products (Stoli also says, ”

    We fully support and endorse your objectives
    to fight
    against prejudice in Russia.” Val Mendeleev, CEO, SPI (Stoli)

    STOLI ACTUALLY *SUPPORTS* the boycott.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    How can you tell a moron troll? THEY SCREAM.

  • Thom Allen

    From the Stoli website:

    “Stoli’s production process involve both Russia and Latvia.
    Stoli is made from Russian ingredients (wheat, rye and raw alcohol” So money, from buying Stoli, flows into the Russian economy when the grains are bought, thereby supporting the Russian economy and acts as an advertisement for Russian products (Stoli also says, ”

    We fully support and endorse your objectives
    to fight
    against
    prejudice in Russia.” Val Mendeleev, CEO, SPI (Stoli) STOLI ACTUALLY *SUPPORTS* the boycott.

    Perhaps if you went to the Stoli website and read the info there, you’d be less quick to call others “morons.”
    .

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    The IOC couldn’t agree more with you.

  • Orych

    Thanks for this piece! I think this is excellent strategy for US-based advocacy. The problem is, Russian government right now is on an extreme populist drive – doing what the ‘people’ want, while at the same time feeding ‘people’s’ most base instincts. Homophobia is entrenched in a society that never had any open and pluralistic discussion of homosexuality or any gender variant behavior. This conversation was started by the anti’ gay laws, from banning ‘perversion’ and supporting ‘family values’. It fed right into the very deep-rooted xenophobic sentiments so pervasive in Russia: most Russian see it as banning something bad, simply because there has never been anything good associated with gay activism: no sense of community through Prides, no successes by famous pop starts openly talking about their gender politics. Russia has no Ellen Degeneres or Dan Savage. Sadly, the other rhetoric that Russian leadership excels in, is portraying anything West as enemy, bad influence. And hence, the boycott is a handy tool for that: “look at those secular, corrupted Westerners trying to impose ‘perversion’ on us, holy Russian people”. Since no one is going to come out in Russia publicly now, the real need is to encourage at least some of the positive discussion of LGBT issues in Russia, and American stars that are popular in Russia could actually really make some impact, by sending their positive message to Russian fans. Madonna showed how by writing Pussy Riot on her back. Government is responsible for giving license to beatings. But it is ordinary Russians, mostly teenagers, who pick it up – and they are victims too. They will not hear any positive messages from their government, maybe they could hear it from us?

  • Brus

    >>”The Russian government argues that the labelling is misleading because the vodka isn’t exported from Russia but actually comes from Latvia. Indeed, S.P.I. and Pernod Ricard are forbidden from selling their version of Stolichnaya within Russia itself.”<<
    http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2006-04-06/vodka-wars-spill-into-u-dot-s-dot

  • Brus

    THE STOLI SOLD IN THE U.S. ISN’T RUSSIAN MADE. In fact it’s illegal to sell the version of Stoli in Russia. Boycotting this company prove that people are (for the most part) sheep-minded. Rather hard to be supportive of a boycott when the groups boycotting seem to be morons.

  • Thom Allen
  • FlyingP4dre

    That’s not what the CEO of the SPI Group, which owns Stoli, said last week in direct response to this boycott. The SPI Group’s own website also states that they are the “biggest exporter of Russian vodka in the world.”

  • cole3244

    cowards need the courage of numbers, hero’s are much harder to find.

  • cole3244

    not just russians, all the violence reported against gay men is by multiple offenders, definition, cowards.

  • Wolfgang

    Finally an idea that makes sense, as RT is actually owned by the Russian government and having their signal removed sends a stronger signal than not drinking a vodka distilled in Latvia by Luxembourg-based company.

  • Wolfgang

    Congratulating SKYY on “jumping” in by promoting itself as the “American vodka” really shows what this whole campaign has been driven by from the start: An unwavering “They bad, we good” xenophobia that is has alienated one of our biggest corporate allies which is, and it has to be said over and over again, despite its name & roots NOT A RUSSIAN COMPANY. Shameful.

  • Billcoop4

    Time to find out who’s going to be sponsoring the Olympics.

  • Constant Comment

    Another issue is what’s going to happen with the Olympics? I remember the boycotted Olympics of–what was it–1980? Maybe threatening to boycott due to concern over gay athletes and visitors might be an option, too.

  • BillM

    Here is the Stoli yacht,: http://www.adn.com/2013/07/29/2969281/around-alaska-2013-2.html
    perhaps it should get a welcome as it arrives at every port it visits.

  • pauleky

    Thanks for all you do!!

  • mmunson

    Could we get RT removed from our cable systems?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    It’s actually classic human mob behavior. It often takes multiple people to egg each other on to do truly despicable things.

    Notice how even the photographers in John’s photo above don’t help the beating victim? Human morality itself becomes devolved and degraded, such that it doesn’t even occur to bystanders to intervene and stop it.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And they are animals, organic almost, in that you have to sort of feel them out, feel them as they grow, as they shrink – almost like surfing, if I’d ever surfed (and I’ve not), except in this case, you’re not just surfing the media and grassroots and publicity wave, you’re also helping to create it, build it, and direct it at the same time. It is a living thing, in essence.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Almost sounds like a bad joke. How many homophobic Russians does it take…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Beautiful post, John. I couldn’t have said it better. I’ll probably respond at length later on what I see are the necessary psychological angles that help raise awareness and get people involved in concrete ways. Protests are complicated animals, and few truly understand how and why they work — and why, when they fail, that can happen too.

    Grassroots involvement is key.

  • cole3244

    i am still always amazed by the number of tough straight males it takes to attack and beat one or more gay males.

    you would think the gay males being so weak and demur that the tough macho straight males would be embarrassed to need superior numbers to overpower their weaker gay targets.

    maybe the straight males aren’t really that tough or are actually afraid of the gay males, or maybe they’re just plain gutless bigoted cowards, just sayin.

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