You won’t find Russian vodka in gay bars from Manhattan to West Hollywood as gay-rights activists in both Russia and the United States have called for a boycott of Russia imported Vodka. As Fox News reports on July 30, London has joined in on the boycott as the global movement highlighting Kremlin’s anti-gay laws gain momentum.
Gay rights activists believe Russia is moving backwards when it comes to gay rights, especially after President Vladimir Putin’s government banned what they call “gay propaganda” in the country. The new Russian anti-gay laws, which punishes anyone who advocates gay marriage or any gay behavior, has been described as both disgusting and inhuman.
The law also punishes anyone outside the country who comes into Russia advocating gay rights. Just last week, four Dutch tourists were arrested for “gay propaganda”. These actions have lead gay activists to hit the country where it may hurt the most, the economy. This means boycotting one of their biggest imports, vodka.
Dan Savage, a sex columnist, author and gay rights advocate, called for the Russian-vodka boycott movement on July 24. In his blog he wrote:
“There is something we can do right here, right now to show our solidarity with Russian queers and their allies and to help to draw international attention to the persecuting of gay men, lesbian, bisexuals, trans people, and straight allies in Putin’s increasingly fascistic Russia: dump Russian vodka.”
Stoli is one of Russia’s more popular vodkas and the company has responded to the campaign by condemning the Russian anti-gay laws and voiced their support for the gay community. Val Mendeleev, chief executive of the SPI Group, which owns Stoli said that the vodka is not Russian owned but that is not stopping it from being impacted by the boycott.
Jeremy Joseph, founder and owner of the G-A-Y Group, which runs the famous Heaven superclub in London, is leading the way for British gay bars. He feels it is time for all gay communities to come together and show Russia that their anti-gay laws and treatment of their gay citizens is not okay.
“It’s important to show solidarity at a really hard time.”
Joseph has asked all of his four venues to remove Russian vodka from the shelves.