Guinness announced that it will not participate in the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade due to the parade's exclusion of LGBT groups, prompting outrage and calls for boycott from right-wing media figures.
Guinness Withdraws From St. Patty's Parade In Support Of LGBT Groups
Guinness Will Not Participate In St. Patrick's Day Parade Because LGBT Groups Are Excluded. Guinness announced on March 16 that it would not participate in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade, citing the event's exclusion of gay and lesbian groups. From Reuters:
Irish brewer Guinness said on Sunday that it would not participate in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade this year because gay and lesbian groups had been excluded, costing organizers a key sponsor of the annual event.
The move came on the same day that Boston's Irish-American mayor skipped that city's St. Patrick's Day parade after failing to hammer out a deal with organizers to allow a group of gay and lesbian activists to march openly.
"Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade," the brewer said in a written statement issued by a spokesman for its parent company, Diageo.
"As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy," Guinness said. [Reuters, 3/16/14]
Right-Wing Media Denounce Guinness' Pro-Equality Stance, Call For Boycott
Laura Ingraham: Guinness' Pro-Equality Stance Is "Totalitarian," "Petty." On the March 16 edition of The Laura Ingraham Show, conservative radio host and Fox News contributor Ingraham called Guinness' decision to withdraw from the parade "totalitarian":
INGRAHAM: But Guinness, OK Guinness Beer is the latest beer giant to withdraw its support because lesbian and gay groups are not allowed to march openly in the oriented parade with gay signs. pulls out?! Now, this -- I've just got to say. I find this to be totalitarian in its feel to me. This idea that, if we can't be a part of your event, we are going to shut you down.
Now think about that. Do they really want a situation where groups that totally disagree with them, or have just a different focus than they have, try to shut down aspects of the gay parades in New York? And there's a big, you know, gay parade in New York. And people have a lot of fun at it, it's very colorful, very interesting. But I don't think people are trying to damage their parades, or are they? I must have missed those stories. By saying oh we -- I'm trying to think of an example -- well we, evangelical, Bible-believing Christians, want to hold up anti-gay signs at the gay parade. And if we're not allowed to do that, then we are going to haunt and pester all of your sponsors until they give in. You know what I'm saying? To me it just seems so petty and such a waste of time that you have to be front and center, proselytizing at every non-gay event.
Well I think Guinness ought to be careful. Because Guinness is going to start getting boycotted by other groups of people, that are probably a lot more people would think of boycotting Guinness now than the gay-groups who are going to boycott Guinness at the Stonewall Inn. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 3/17/14]
Ingraham: "This Is Thuggish Behavior." On the same radio program, Ingraham went on to claim that Guinness was exhibiting "thuggish" behavior by withdrawing from the parade over LGBT exclusion:
INGRAHAM: Guinness is boycotting the New York St. Patty's Day parade.. welcome to the new totalitarianism. This is thuggish behavior though. The idea that if you don't wear t-shirts or hold placards expressing you're sexuality you're discriminated against. No one is saying you can't have a protest, no one is saying you can't have your parades, no one is excluding you from a coffee shop or university or a company or anything, they're just saying that they'd like to have their parade without sexuality being shoved in the faces of families and children and the organizers who put it on, big deal. [Courtside Entertainment Group, The Laura Ingraham Show, 3/17/14]
Rupert Murdoch Calls For A Boycott Of Guinness. Chairman of News Corp and 21st Century Fox, Fox News' parent company, Rupert Murdoch denounced Guinness' pro-equality stance on Twitter, writing that he hoped "all Irish boycott the stuff":
[Twitter.com, 3/17/14, via Media Matters]
Todd Starnes: "Apparently Parading Is Now A Civil Right." Fox contributor Todd Starnes criticized Guinness' move on Twitter, accusing Guinness of pulling out of the parade because "the Irish refuse to turn it into a Gay Pride parade":