Divesting in right-wing brews... a lesson from 1997
It's such a bummer to find out a company you love is run by people you can't love. American Apparel, Uber, Home Depot. It's especially bad when you can no longer enjoy a beer without knowing you are supporting businesses who want to diminish your civil rights. I recently came across this piece by Bruce Mirken written in 1997 on Coors. The story is as true now as it was then; a corporation marketing their products to the LGBTQ community while funneling money into anti-LGBTQ campaigns. Queers boycotted Coors in the late 90's and MillerCoors is still known for their support of homophobic, far-right administrations despite developing a progressive anti-discrimination policy in the workplace. Queer culture is becoming increasingly cool and as a result, less risky as a marketing campaign target. The queer community is expected to celebrate this fact even when those same companies are politically violent.
Yuengling is up front about their straight, white-supremacist agenda. Dick Yuengling Jr. openly expressed the corporation's support for the Trump administration and ruined their beer for good. But that was no surprise to anyone who had ever perused their t-shirt collection and discovered a shirt that promoted support for local police. Supporting local police in Philly is to say you do not support marginalized communities. That's a discussion for another time.
Our communities (the marginalized ones) have some tough decisions to make. Do we accept campaigns targeting us as consumers as progress, or do we reject companies that are willing to take our money but not support our equality? Queers Makin' Beers has chosen the later and it's tough work to keep up with all these jerks. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg defended their choice to keep Peter Thiel (who donated over one million dollars to Trump's campaign) in October. Zuckerberg said, ”We can’t create a culture that says it cares about diversity and then excludes almost half the country because they back a political candidate. There are many reasons a person might support Trump that do not involve racism, sexism, xenophobia or accepting sexual assault.” In addressing the Republican National Convention Thiel said, "“When Donald Trump asked us to make America great again, he’s not suggesting a return to the past. He’s running to lead us back to that bright future”. Ummmm yeahhhhhh-no.
Co-option of our culture for profit by entities that uphold the violent status quo is not support. We are not a free-of-charge marketing solution to a culturally vapid, heteronormative, capitalist business model.
It is time to divest, queers.