StonewallAGAIN and LGBT Community Protests McDonald’s Sponsoring the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Winter Olympics in Russia
Oak Brook, IL, August 17, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- LGBT to McDonald’s: We’re Not Lovin’ It!
Members of the Chicagoland LGBT community will be descending on McDonald’s World Headquarters, 2111 McDonald’s Drive, Oak Brook, at 11 AM, Saturday, August 17 to protest the Corporation's continued sponsorship of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia despite the country's recently instituted homophobic “gay propaganda” laws. The laws have sparked widespread, increased violence against LGBT persons in the country, as demonstrated by YouTube videos   proudly circulated by brutal anti-gay activists there.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stated that no signs of LGBT presence or protest will be tolerated in its venues and has failed to admonish Russia against violence and threats of violence on LGBT Olympians and spectators. Russian authorities have boldly stated that the repressive new law would be enforced on all who attend the games.
StonewallAGAIN, an LGBT activist group in Chicago that arose out of the May failure of Illinois's marriage equality bill, is the sponsor of Saturday's protest at McDonald's world headquarters "McDonald’s has a responsibility to disavow sponsorship if local authorities refuse to provide safety to all who participate in the games that they are promoting," said Mike Lackovich, founder of StonewallAGAIN. "These homophobic laws enacted are similar to those passed at the start of the holocaust in Nazi Germany. McDonald’s needs to work with the IOC to find a safe venue for all participants to compete without fear of abuse, violence or deportation for being who they are.”
In response to questions concerning the forthcoming protest, the Chicago Phoenix reported Wednesday the following statement from Suzanne Valliere, senior manager of McDonald’s Global External Communications:
“There is no room for discrimination under the Golden Arches. McDonald’s welcomes, respects and values the diversity, culture and unique differences of our 69 million customers and nearly two million employees around the world every day. McDonald’s supports the spirit of the Olympic Games and its ability to unite the world in a positive and inspirational way. We’ve been a proud sponsor of the Games for 37 years. Regarding the recent Russian legislation, we support the International Olympic Committee’s belief that sport is a human right and the Olympic Games should be open to all, free of discrimination, and that applies to spectator, officials, media and athletes.”
"Valliere’s press release is full of fluffy words that are contrary to what is actually occurring," said Lackovich. "The Russian government and the IOC are imposing a state of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,' with tolerance for violence and threats of violence thrown in for good measure. As experience in the U.S. has shown, the policy of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' is discriminatory in and of itself, and in direct contradiction to the claimed 'spirit of the games.'"
“As for the ‘diversity’ Valliere speaks to,” Lackovich said, “nearly all gay people have to go through a difficult 'coming out' phase in their lives. To ask people to go back into the closet so they can compete in something they have aggressively trained for regardless of sexual orientation is utterly absurd. Clearly, Valliere has no idea how painfully difficult this phase of LGBT life is. Most in the LGBT community would find this demand offensive and unacceptable.”
The protest will begin at 11AM and have speakers including StonewallAGAIN Founder, Bisexual Queer Alliance Chicago Founder Mike Oboza and Gay Liberation Network’s Co-Founder Andy Thayer. More information about the protest is posted on the group’s website, StonewallAGAIN.com or their Facebook page.
For further information, contact StonewallAGAIN at 312-600-8429 or email info@StonewallAGAIN.com