Oh, there’s nothing I love more than a right-wing boycott. Every time the American Taliban says people shouldn’t shop somewhere, I put my money on the boycotted company.
Remember the Southern Baptist Convention’s boycott of the Walt Disney Company over claims that the media and theme park giant was too friendly to gays and lesbians? Domestic partner benefits and Gay Days (footnote 1) — the horror! The SBC withdrew the boycott in 2005, claiming that Disney had heard and heeded its message. But that’s not what happened. Disney is consistently lauded as one of the best places in America for LGBT people to work, and the company continues to include LGBT characters in its programming (footnote 2).
I think the days of the right-wing boycott might be over, because there are simply too many companies to boycott. If the right wing decided to boycott companies that provide equal benefits to LGBT employees, they couldn’t even send out a press release, unless they could figure out a way to do it without using Microsoft, Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, and Adobe products. All three companies scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2015 Corporate Equality Index. And forget about typing up a press release and photocopying it, as Xerox also scores 100.
And I hope the potential boycotters like to use nothing but cash, because American financial institutions are some of the most LGBT-friendly companies out there. Nearly 50 financial institutions scored 100 on the Corporate Equality Index, including nearly every major bank (Citi, Bank of America, and so on), nearly every major player on Wall Street (Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, for example), and all four of the major credit card companies: American Express, MasterCard, Visa, and Discover.
Actually, that take-the-cash-out-of-the-bank-and-stuff-it-in-the-mattress plan might not work. NCR, manufacturer of ATMs, scores 100.
Potential boycotters can’t even sell their stock in companies they disapprove of, or buy more stock in companies that share their bigoted views. That’s because all stock trades in the US are processed through the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. — which, as you may have guessed by now, also scores a perfect 100.
In fact, potential boycotters should be wetting their pants, because many companies aren’t just committed to making their workplaces open and equitable — they’re actually taking a political stance in favor of marriage equality. Just yesterday, consumer products giant Proctor & Gamble said it’s in favor of marriage equality. Boycott them and you can’t buy hundreds of products — including many brands of diapers, detergent, toothpaste, and shampoo. P&G joins Apple, Starbucks, Pfizer, Google, Intel, and a growing number of companies that have publicly announced their support for marriage equality — some even going as far as to file amicus briefs in marriage equality lawsuits.
Today’s boycotts are toothless and nearly invisible. Ever heard of Dump Starbucks, founded by the National Organization for Marriage (footnote 3)? Of course you haven’t. No one has. And Starbucks certainly isn’t seeing any affect from this boycott — since the company announced its support of marriage equality in early 2012, its stock price has doubled.
All this makes me smile. Maybe a little too much. But you have to admit there’s a lot of justice in the fact that even the most vile hate groups like the American Family Association (footnote 4) are forced to rely on products and services made by companies that promote the values of fairness and equality for LGBT people.
Oh, and remember that boycott against Disney? Guess which company scored a perfect 100 on the Corporate Equality Index — again? That’s right: Disney.
1. Gay Days is not a Disney-sponsored event — but you can’t ignore how much rainbow-themed Disney merchandise is suddenly available around the first weekend in June.
2. And especially steamy, explicit gay programming in its new show, “How to Get Away with Murder.” As a straight man in the 1940s might say, va-va-va-voom.
3. Or, as it should be called, the National Organization for Opposite-Sex Marriage Only, or the National Organization Against Marriage Equality.
4. Certified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.