San Francisco, CA
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Just another middle-aged gay man living in San Francisco.

Jul 27, 2013 Kenover updated his or her bio.
Jul 27, 2013 Kenover updated his or her location.
Jul 27, 2013 Kenover joined My Stranger Face
Jul 27, 2013 Kenover commented on Why I'm Boycotting Russian Vodka.
Stolichnaya Vodka is owned by SPI (Soyuzplodimport) Group, which is controlled by Yuri Scheffler, a Russian oligarch who sails around the world in a $300 million yacht and is one of the 100 richest men in Russia. If you think he doesn't have any influence with Vladimir Putin, you don't know how the world works. The company is incorporated in Luxembourg for tax reasons and the vodka is distilled in Latvia from Russian ingredients imported from farms in Russia that SPI Group owns. If that's not a Russian company then Honda and Sony are not a Japanese companies.

Go ask Coors Beer and the Coors family whether boycotts work or not. For those who don’t remember, the Coors family supported right-wing, homophobic organizations and causes like the Heritage Institute and the American Enterprise Institute, which is their right, but they also tried to bust the brewery workers union and unfairly fired gay and lesbian employees in 1977 — setting off a decade-long boycott of Coors beer in the gay community. After a bitter fight and a change in management, Coors encouraged gay and lesbian workers to organize and in May 1995 Coors became the 21st publicly traded US corporation to extend employee benefits to same-sex partners — long before most other companies. Don’t let anyone tell you boycotts don’t work; they do! More importantly, they bring public scrutiny and condemnation upon the wrongdoers. Business is about making money and, as has been noted many times before, money talks.

SPI Group understands the power of boycotts all too well, which is why they've mounted a major PR campaign to protect their LGBT market share. Suddenly the Stoli website has gone rainbow gay and PR flacks are shouting out the company's support for LGBT rights. And they're buying positive press at media outlets like Queerty by "sponsoring" events that pour cash into their coffers. They should take this money and donate to underfunded Russian LGBT organizations that are under siege and mount a media campaign against the oppression of gays and lesbians in Russia, but they don't -- because there's no profit in it for them. So they continue funding this cynical PR campaign to keep gays in the West swilling Stoli -- a mediocre vodka at best.

I salute all the gay bars who have stopped serving Stoli. But it's not just this company. All LGBT people of conscience should BOYCOTT ALL RUSSIAN PRODUCTS AND THE 2014 SOCHI OLYMPICS. Hit them where it the wallet and the court of public opinion. Putin is a vain little dictator who cares about this image in the world. Actions must have consequences. Make Putin, the Duma, and the Russian Orthodox Church pay for this anti-gay pogrom!