Homo Stoli Rocks Block
posted by June 5 at 19:11 PMon
Just last night I was watching The Daily Show when one of those new commercials came on for Stolichnaya—have you seen them? The campaign is fabulous—black-and-red Socialist Realism, Russian Constructivism, Cold War nostalgia on steroids. “Stolichnaya is a Russian vodka,” Stolichnaya’s new ads shout. “Russian! And Russian vodka is authentic vodka! Only a simpering pussy would drink anything else!”
After watching the ad—honest to God—I said to my boyfriend, “I’m never drinking Stoly again—not after what happened in Moscow. Gay people should boycott Russian everything.”
In case you missed it, here’s what happened in Moscow:
For the second year in a row Russian authorities banned a gay pride parade in Moscow—and this year when Russian activists, activists from EU countries, and Members of the European Parliament attempted deliver a petition to Moscow’s city hall, they were attacked by thugs and fascists. The police made arrests—they arrested the gay activists, including the men you see getting punched in this video.
Well, it’s on.
Gay activists are calling for a boycott of Stoli. There was a protest today at the Russian embassy in New York City. New York-based gay blogger Joe My God was there:
With Russian news cameras rolling, rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker and gay activist Brendan Fay poured Stolichnaya vodka into the street in front of New York City’s Russian embassy in protest of the treatment of Russian gays by their government. Under the wary eye of the NYPD (who did NOT want to be photographed) and U.S. State Department operatives (the earpieces are a dead giveaway), a small group of protesters marched on the sidewalk with placards. Brendan Fay attempted to deliver a letter of complaint to the embassy staff, but they did not come to the door.
Stoli, says Joe, is the third largest selling vodka in America, taking in $400 million annually. And here’s a pic of Stoli going down a sewer in Manhattan earlier today:
The organizers of the boycott are calling on all American gay bars to stop serving Stoli:
All American gay bars will be asked to not serve Stoli vodka until the Russian government acknowledges the human rights of its LGBT citizens, and Russian gays are guaranteed the right organize, assemble in the streets and live free of government harassment.
And the organizer of the Moscow Pride March, Nikolai Aleseyeev, welcomes the boycott:
“We are thankful for the support of gay Americans mobilizing on our behalf to do what we can’t - stage vigils at Russian government offices. Please don’t forget about your brothers and sisters beyond the United States, and our difficult struggle for equality.”
Yay! A boycott! Now I can do something—something symbolic, but still—to protest what’s being done to gays and lesbians in Russia. I don’t drink Stoli myself, but I will ask my friends—hello, Tim “Stoli Rocks” Keck!—to switch to a new brand. And then I’ll call Seattle’s gay bars and ask if they’re going to honor the boycott. Because it’s the right thing to do… right?
Wrong, says Good As You, another gay blog, which argues that Stoli isn’t the right target for a big gay boycott.
If you are protesting the gay-unfriendly attitudes of a specific country or their government, then you should by all means speak out loudly and fervently against the injustices you perceive. However, it seems more than a little shortsighted to turn that antipathy towards a privatized product, and to call for a boycott of said product. This is especially true when that particular product and company not only advertise on gay programs and in gay magazines, but also serves as the SOLE BACKER of a show on the nation’s most prominent gay cable network!!
Stoli is a national corporate sponsor for Lambda Legal and is bottled, it seems, in Latvia, not Russia.
I need a drink.