WeHo Bars Protest Against Anti-Gay Legislation in Russia This Thursday
West Hollywood Councilman John Duran is galvanizing local bars to join in a protest against both anti-gay measures passed by the Russian government and violence experienced by its LGBT citizens at Micky's on Santa Monica this coming Thursday, August 1, according to Huffington Post.
Mary McClintock of Micky's says that the demonstration will begin at 11 a.m. in front of the bar with a symbolic pouring of Stolichnaya, a.k.a. Stoli, vodka. As environmental regulations prohibits the pouring of alcohol in drains, no actual vodka will be contained in large Stoli bottles. The protest is part of a recent outcry against Russia, including boycotts against Stoli. West Hollywood Patch reports that Revolver Video Bar no longer offers Stoli, having stopped last Wednesday, July 24.
Val Mendeleev, head of the SPI Group, which owns Stoli, has written an open letter to the public that states how the company "firmly opposes such attitude and actions." Instead, he says, "Stolichnaya Vodka has always been, and continues to be, a fervent supporter and friend to the LGBT community."
To clarify perceptions of its ties to Russia, Mendeleev writes as well that "the Russian government has no ownership interest or control over the Stoli brand that is privately owned by SPI Group, headquartered in Luxembourg in the heart of Western Europe." However, he does acknowledge that "Stoli's production process involves both Russia and Latia." He ends the letter by throwing the SPI Group's support in the "fight against prejudice in Russa."
Queer Nation, an activist organization, warns that "marketing will not save LGBT lives" in response to Mendeleev's open letter. There were similar protests and demonstrations in other cities, including San Francisco and Vancouver.
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