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Protest pointless boycotts

Know how to use this weapon of free speech. | Photo Illustration by Aaron Fooks/THE CHIMES

 

Not every homosexual supports gay marriage. Gay designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana recently told the Italian magazine “Panorama” they believed “The only family is the traditional one.” Dolce admitted he would never get married because he is a practicing Catholic. He also said, “I call children of chemistry, synthetic children” and they are only a product of “uteri for rent and semen chosen from a catalogue.”

Naturally, this caused an uproar in the fashion industry. Elton John on an Instagram post exclaimed, “How dare you refer to my beautiful children as ‘synthetic.’” John promptly created the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana and is encouraging others to “never wear Dolce and Gabbana ever again.” Owen Jones and Victoria Beckham both agree with John and plan to boycott the popular designer brand.

This will not work. So some celebrities are not going to wear Dolce and Gabbana's $2,000 shoes or $5,000 coats — big deal.

THE IMPACT OF BOYCOTTS

Braydon King, a professor of management and organizations at Northwestern University, published a study about boycotts in 2008. King confirmed his hypothesis when realizing the media has a vast importance in the success. Unpredictably, he also discovered the success on the boycott lies in its “ability to inflict damage to corporate reputation.” Meaning, if the company already struggles with their public image, the company is more likely to bend to the will of the boycotters. But if the corporation already has a solid foundation with the public, they are less likely to take boycotts seriously.

Both Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce have a networth of approximately $1.56 billion, according to Forbes magazine. Their company received a profit of $275 billion in 2012, according to Bloomberg.com. I confidently say even if the Dolce and Gabbana company suffers from this boycott, which according to facts it should not, Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce personally will not.

I understand wanting to take action because of the hurt the design partners’ quotes gave them. But the point of any boycott is to create change. Boycotting a company in order to change the CEO’s personal belief does not make sense. Dolce and Gabbana probably would never change their beliefs about marriage and IVF children simply because their company failed. In which case, a mass boycott of the company is not a realistic way to change a CEO’s personal beliefs. There have been many instances where people have boycotted a company because of what it stood for. Those who disagreed with Chick-Fil-A’s stances towards gay marriage attempted to boycott the company, but Chick-Fil-A did not change their views.

The next time someone wishes to boycott a company or product, they must ask if it is going to have a large impact on the company. Will this boycott get massive media coverage? If the company ultimately fails, will the owners suffer personally? Is it likely that the owners will change their beliefs because of this boycott? These are the defining factors in determining if a boycott will be successful or worth it. Sometimes it is best to pursue other avenues of protesting the actions of the company or organization.

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. jerry lewis

    In saying, "I understand wanting to take action because of the hurt the design partners’ quotes gave them," you are minimizing the insult to those children. March 25, 2015

  2. jerry lewis

    George Takei Threatens Indiana Boycott

    George Takei writes on his Facebook page:

    The Governor of Indiana has indicated that he will sign SB101—a law that allows businesses to discriminate against customers based on the proprietors’ religious beliefs. This bill is strikingly similar to one proposed—and vetoed due to public outcry—in Arizona. Such laws harken back to a time where our society was divided, and people of color were banned from white establishments. That is not our nation any longer, and those are not our values.

    To the governor and to the legislators in Indiana who support this backward-looking and divisive bill, I say to you this: If it goes into effect, Indiana will be marked as a state where certain people are not welcome, and so we will not visit. We will not spend. And we will not attend events, including GenCon, the world’s largest gaming convention, held in Indianapolis each year. Many fans here are gamers, Governor Pence, and we will demand the convention move out of your state.

    Fans, friends and especially you gamers, let Governor Pence know how you feel about this bill. Give him a call: 317-232-4567.

    His post has already been shared 11,000 times. Takei has millions of followers on social media. George Takei Threatens Indiana Boycott

    George Takei writes on his Facebook page:

    The Governor of Indiana has indicated that he will sign SB101—a law that allows businesses to discriminate against customers based on the proprietors’ religious beliefs. This bill is strikingly similar to one proposed—and vetoed due to public outcry—in Arizona. Such laws harken back to a time where our society was divided, and people of color were banned from white establishments. That is not our nation any longer, and those are not our values.

    To the governor and to the legislators in Indiana who support this backward-looking and divisive bill, I say to you this: If it goes into effect, Indiana will be marked as a state where certain people are not welcome, and so we will not visit. We will not spend. And we will not attend events, including GenCon, the world’s largest gaming convention, held in Indianapolis each year. Many fans here are gamers, Governor Pence, and we will demand the convention move out of your state.

    Fans, friends and especially you gamers, let Governor Pence know how you feel about this bill. Give him a call: 317-232-4567.

    His post has already been shared 11,000 times. Takei has millions of followers on social media.

    jmg March 25, 2015

  3. jerry lewis

    INDIANA: Massive Gaming Convention Threatens To Leave The State

    Via the Indianapolis Star:

    The organizers of Gen Con, the city's largest convention in attendance and economic impact, are threatening to move the event elsewhere if Gov. Mike Pence signs controversial religious freedom legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples.

    "Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state's economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years," said Adrian Swartout, owner and CEO of Gen Con LLC, in a letter sent to Pence just hours after lawmakers sent the measure to his desk.

    Gen Con's website describes the convention as "the original, longest-running, best-attended gaming convention in the world!" The conference attracted 56,000 people last year to the Indiana Convention Center and has an annual economic impact of more than $50 million, Swartout said in the letter.

    "Gen Con proudly welcomes a diverse attendee base, made up of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and socio-economic backgrounds," she wrote. "We are happy to provide an environment that welcomes all, and the wide-ranging diversity of our attendees has become a key element to the success and growth of our convention. March 25, 2015

  4. jerry lewis

    INDIANA: Christian Church Threatens To Pull Convention Over Anti-Gay Bill

    Via the Indianapolis Star:

    The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) has sent a letter to Gov. Mike Pence threatening to cancel its 2017 convention in Indianapolis if he signs controversial legislation that could allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples. "Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry," Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star. Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is "hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees." The letter stated the church is inclusive of different races, ethnicities, ages, genders and sexual orientations. "As a Christian church," it read, "we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow – one who sat at (the) table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lord's Table."

    The 2017 convention is expected to draw 8000 attendees with an economic impact to the city of about $6M March 25, 2015

  5. jerry lewis

    Petitioning NCAA and 1 other
    To move the Big Ten Football Championship out of Indianapolis
    Sean Burke Madison, WI

    On March 26, 2015 Governor Pence of Indiana signed into law a bill that would allow businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community under the guise of "religious freedom" Such a law runs contrary to the ideals of the Big Ten Conference and puts students, fans and staff at risk of open discrimination based solely on who they love.Such law sends the message that members of the LBGT community are second class citizens contrary to the many contributions members of the LGBT community have made in areas such as science, the arts, architecture, business and not to mention sports.

    The State of Indiana, as a member of the Big Ten Conference, needs to be told that it must live up to the ideals of the conference and respect all persons regardless of sex, age, religion, gender identity, or sexual preference.

    Letter to
    NCAA
    Big Ten Conference
    To move the Big Ten Football Championship out of Indiana March 26, 2015

  6. jerry lewis

    Salesforce, founded in 1999, has grown into a $4 billion software corporation. It is a component of the prestigious S&P 500, and boasts 12,000 employees.

    50-year old CEO, founder, and chairman Marc Benioff (photo), who started the company in San Francisco, and his wife Lynne Krilich, have given millions to children's hospitals.

    Recently, Salesforce came out strongly against Indiana's discriminatory Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    "We have been an active member of the Indiana business community and a key job creator for more than a decade," Scott McCorkle, CEO of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud division, wrote in a letter to Indiana lawmakers. "Our success is fundamentally based on our ability to attract and retain the best and most diverse pool of highly skilled employees, regardless of gender, religious affiliation, ethnicity or sexual orientation."

    "Without an open business environment that welcomes all residents and visitors," he warned, "Salesforce will be unable to continue building on its tradition of marketing innovation in Indianapolis."

    This morning, Republican Governor Mike Pence signed the controversial bill into law, despite vocal objections from Salesforce, along with Gen Con, a $50 million annual gaming convention, Fortune 500 member Cummins, Eskenazi Health, Eli Lilly and Co., George Takei, Pat McAfee, Jason Collins, the mayor of Indianapolis, and the State of Indiana's tourism board, among many others.

    Last night, after Gov. Pence announced he would be signing the bill into law, Benioff responded:

    Today, Salesforce's Marc Benioff made good on their warning March 26, 2015

  7. jerry lewis

    Yelp CEO: We Will Not Expand In States With License To Discriminate Laws

    From Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman:

    It is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large. I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions. (We’re looking at you, Arkansas.) I hope that in the future the legislatures in the nineteen states that have these laws on the books will reconsider their actions. In the mean time, Yelp will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books. I also hope that other companies will draw a similar line in the sand for equality on behalf of their employees and the greater public to persuade legislators to do the right thing and stop or rescind these harmful laws.

    San Francisco-based Yelp went public in 2012 and says it will gross about $575M this year. March 27, 2015

  8. jerry lewis

    INDIANA: Thousands Protest Against State's License To Discriminate Law

    Via the Indianapolis Star:

    When Annette Gross made plans for a rally in Indianapolis against the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, she had only hoped for 100 people to show up. "I'm a superstitious person," said the Carmel mom, who started a Facebook page about the rally only a few days earlier. "I don't like to say we're going to do this or that. But we got 'em." Instead, several thousand attended the rally. Gross, an advocate for the LGBT community, couldn't believe her eyes when she looked out onto the crowd in Downtown Indianapolis on Saturday. The number of protesters quickly grew as the crowd marched from Monument Circle to the Indiana Statehouse to express their displeasure with Republican Gov. Mike Pence, who signed the legislation Thursday. "No hate in our state," they shouted. Call and response chants continued on the Statehouse lawn, while speakers used a megaphone to address the crowd.

    RELATED: Angie's List CEO Bill Oesterle announced today that he has canceled plans for a $40M expansion of his company's Indiana headquarters. March 28, 2015

  9. jerry lewis

    “Several days ago, Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Since then, we have all watched reaction to this bill and have seen the damage done to the State of Indiana, its institutions, and its citizens. We have heard from those who fear this law will lead to discrimination, and we have heard from business leaders who are concerned this law will damage their ability to attract leading talent to our state.

    “I am, by practice, reluctant to comment in any way on current political matters. As president of a university, I must do all I can to ensure that the free exchange of ideas is both protected and nurtured. I would not want any statement from me to chill discussion on DePauw’s campus on any issue. Legislation that has the effect of either encouraging or condoning discrimination, however, must be addressed.

    “I join with other Indiana corporations, leaders in industry, and institutions of higher education and urge the Governor and the legislature to take all steps necessary to address the harm this legislation has caused. We must affirm that the State of Indiana is a place that welcomes and respects all citizens and visitors regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.” March 29, 2015

  10. jerry lewis

    Fox Anchor Explains How Indiana's RFRA Is So Much Worse Than Other States

    Carlos Maza writes for Media Matters:

    Fox News anchor Bret Baier debunked the network's defense of Indiana's discriminatory "religious freedom" law, explaining that the law is broader than both federal law and similar measures in other states. Baier's comments echo what others have already noted: Indiana's RFRA is categorically different from other "religious freedom" laws, because it includes for-profit businesses under its definition of "persons" capable of religious expression. The Indiana law also allows private individuals and businesses to claim a religious exemption in court "regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding." Those differences -- which the ACLU has called "virtually without precedent" -- expand the scope of Indiana's RFRA and provide a legal defense for businesses and individuals who refuse service to LGBT residents March 30, 2015

  11. jerry lewis

    Mayor Rahm Emanuel is jumping into the flap over that controversial new Indiana "religious freedom" law, seeking to even up the score some after years in which the Hoosier State has raided jobs from Chicago and Illinois. Perhaps he's trying to do himself some re-election good, too.


    In letters to more than a dozen Indiana-based firms, Emanuel writes that the law will subject gays and lesbians to "new discrimination," harming both them and Indiana's ability to attract top talent. That, he concludes, is a good reason to consider shifting business and even their headquarters to Chicago, "a welcoming place."
    Emanuel aides asked me not to name particular companies that have been targeted by the letters, which went out March 27. But they gave me a copy of one, which went to a major industrial firm, and it pulls no punches.
    RETURN TO THE '60s
    The law Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed last week and which he said yesterday would not be repealed "threatens Indiana's 21st century economic resurgence by taking the state back to the 1960s," the letter says.
    "But (Chicago's) great strength is the quality of our workforce and the fact that Chicago is a welcoming place," the letter continues. "Today, you cannot succeed in the global economy if you discriminate against your residents by treating them as second-class citizens March 31, 2015

  12. jerry lewis

    Mark Parker is the CEO and President of NIKE, the international sportswear corporation responsible for employing 44,000 people worldwide.

    This evening in an exclusive statement to the Human Rights Campaign, Parker became the latest CEO to denounce Indiana's anti-gay "religious freedom" law.

    "NIKE proudly stands for inclusion for all. We believe laws should treat people equally and prevent discrimination," Parker's statement reads. "NIKE has led efforts alongside other businesses to defeat discriminatory laws in Oregon and opposes the new law in Indiana which is bad for our employees, bad for our consumers, bad for business and bad for society as a whole. We hope Indiana will quickly resolve this..


    Also Walmart March 31, 2015

  13. jerry lewis

    jmg:

    When powerful national Christian groups with millions of members call for boycotts, that is a righteous use of the free market in order to preserve morality, marriage, family, and the American way. But when gay Americans call for a boycott, THAT is homofascist intimidation, intolerance, bullying, a stifling of religious liberty, and an attempt to deny the freedom of speech. And don't you forget it. April 1, 2015

  14. jerry lewis

    Dow Jones Business News

    American corporations typically shun social controversies. But on one gripping the nation this week--state laws ostensibly aimed at supporting religious freedom but seen by many as antigay--several have stepped forward to make their opposition clear.
    Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Chief Executive Doug McMillon unambiguously called on Arkansas's governor to veto that state's bill on the subject. Other companies also have opposed the Arkansas legislation as well as an Indiana law, including Gap Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., Nascar Media Group and Nike Inc., as well as a host of technology companies including Apple Inc.


    Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville and Arkansas's largest private employer, was one of the most explicit.
    On Wednesday, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson asked lawmakers to recall the bill and make clear it isn't intended to discrimination
    Coming out strongly on social issues also violates the long inherited code of retailing, which is that the customer is always right. Retailers have long followed a mantra of focusing on selling goods and staying out of political issues.
    "Any form of discrimination is wrong," said Jay Stein, chief executive of Stein Mart, a discount retailer based in Jacksonville, Fla.
    "Retailers are so worried about backlash," said industry veteran Allen Questrom, who ran several retailers, including J.C. Penney Co., Federated Department Stores and Neiman Marcus Group. "You can see how the population has moved more to accept gay marriage."
    More broadly, companies are under increasing pressure from customers to have values and espouse them. It has become an issue not just with branding, but also with sales and hiring. In the case of these laws, many companies see the stir as a chance to tout their commitment to workplace diversity, said Anthony Johndrow, a strategy executive at Reputation.com, a maker of business and personal software.
    Normally, companies talk about diversity when they are playing defense, following litigation, for example. The Indiana law gives them an opening to take an affirmative stance April 2, 2015

  15. jerry lewis

    NOM Joins Angie's List Boycott

    In March 2012, NOM launched their boycott of Starbucks. Since then Starbucks' stock value has almost doubled, rising from $48.96 to $97.46. In June 2012, NOM launched their boycott of General Mills. Since then General Mills' stock value has soared from $37.90 to $56.55. Today is the day you might want to add Angie's List to your portfolio April 3, 2015

  16. jerry lewis

    lifesite:
    Wyoming Catholic College’s board voted unanimously to forgo federal student loan and grant programs earlier this semester, despite the fact two-thirds of college students rely upon them to attend college. Acceptance would clearly help the new school, which is still operating from a temporary campus and would like to offer more competitive salaries to its faculty.

    The college has been evaluating the pros and cons of taking federal dollars for months. While there are obvious financial benefits, WCC leadership’s position is that it’s not worth compromising its mission, and the Obama administration's “increasingly burdensome regulatory requirements are clearly troubling for faith-based institutions.”

    “It allows us to practice our Catholic faith without qualifying it,” said Kevin Roberts, president of Wyoming Catholic College (WCC), told the New York Times. “It’s clear that this administration does not care about Catholic teaching.”

    The current U.S. political climate driving religious entities to legal action to safeguard their First Amendment rights figured prominently into WCC’s decision.

    “By abstaining from federal funding programs,” Roberts said, “we will safeguard our mission from unwarranted federal involvement – an involvement increasingly at odds with our Catholic beliefs, the content of our curriculum, and our institutional practices.”

    WCC first accepted students in 2007, with enrollment currently around 120 students. The school operates from a two-location interim campus in Lander, Wyoming (population 7,500).

    Late in 2014, WCC reached a milestone in receiving accreditation, which would allowed the institution to receive money from federal aid programs – which would comprise roughly 20 percent of its $5 million budget – but the board still turned down the money.

    Around 80 percent of WCC students receive some type of financial aid toward their annual tuition of $28,000. According to the school’s estimates, it will miss out on $250,000 in Pell grants and $650,000 in student loans each year. April 14, 2015

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