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Human Rights Campaign Protested, Criticized for Honoring 'Predatory' Goldman Sachs: VIDEOS

This past weekend at its New York gala, the Human Rights Campaign honored Goldman Sachs with the 2011 Workplace Equality Innovation Award. Accompanying that honor was a video released by HRC's 'Americans for Marriage Equality' campaign featuring Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein (above) and an article in the New York Times:

Fred Sainz, an executive with the Human Rights Campaign, said the organization sought Mr. Blankfein, in part, because he is “an unexpected messenger.”

“Lloyd Blankfein is not someone average Americans would think is going to support marriage equality,” Mr. Sainz said. “The green visor crowd is not typically associated with socially progressive policies, and this is further proof that a diversity of Americans are coming to the same conclusion.”

The LGBT grassroots did not respond kindly to HRC's move.

Mcgregor_sachsThe honor to Goldman was met by a protest from approximately 80 members of Queer Occupy Wall Street, which countered the $650-a-plate dinner with an "Occupy Guerilla Potluck for Full Equality" outside the doors of the Waldorf Astoria where the event was taking place.

More photos by Erik McGregor HERE.

The Queer Caucus listed three demands regarding its protest:

The Queer Caucus: 1. Condemns HRC for honoring Goldman Sachs, 2. Calls upon HRC to adopt a strategy of Full Equality by 2014, and 3. Demands that HRC create a transparent process that includes the grassroots.

The NYPD broke up the protest, Joe Jervis reports:

Cops moved the protesters across the street to a location where the black-tie crowd could not hear their chants. Still some protesters entered the Waldorf lobby to make their case. Some gala attendees reportedly mocked the protest via Twitter.

And today, Marketing and communications consultant Andrew Beaver slammed HRC in the Huffington Post. Beaver said giving such an honor to "a predatory company like Goldman Sachs" shows that HRC "has seriously lost its way at a unique time in our country and the LGBT movement's history."

Writes Beaver:

HRC's willingness to whitewash the pasts of individuals and organizations in return for cold cash is nothing new. In some ways I don't fault the group's willingness to look these execs in the eye, take their money, and use it to promote LGBT equality. But this strategy has its limits. In honoring Goldman Sachs, HRC is incredibly tone-deaf to the enormous outrage nearly all Americans feel toward the banks and securities firms at the center of the economic meltdown...

...I'm not suggesting it is HRC's job to police the American economy, nor do I think an organization that represents the spectrum of LGBT opinion should become a mouthpiece for critiques of our economic system, but I do believe HRC should embrace fundamental progressive values, especially those that so directly impact a generation we encouraged to live by those values. In honoring Goldman Sachs, HRC is aligning itself with a company that has nearly bankrupted an entire future generation and would do it again. This past Saturday HRC sent the message of "do as I say, not as I do," and that is very sad.

What are your thoughts about the HRC-Goldman Sachs relationship?

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Comments

  1. One of my exes is a senior VP at GS. He has an advanced case of AIDS and they've provided advanced healthcare. He appears on TV all the time and looks great. I hate the company, but there are many that are much worse.

    Posted by: Anon | Feb 7, 2012 2:28:07 AM


  2. HRC is so rightwing front they've already endorsed Obama. Essentially a front group for the Democrat Party, they have a long history of playing rough to silence their opponents.

    In 2008, Bil Browning of Bilerico reported that "Catherine Cusic, a 63 year old lesbian from San Francisco, was forcibly evicted from this weekend's HRC dinner gala after she stood up during Joe Solmonese's keynote speech. According to witnesses and Ms. Cusic, while she had leaflets in her hand about HRC's ENDA debacle, she had not given any out before hired security grabbed her by the arms and literally dragged her from the room, down a flight of stairs and threw her onto the street."

    It helps to understand this if you know that what they're fighting to maintain and conceal. Here are the salary 2010 figures of some of HRCs self-selected 'leaders, as reported by James Petrelis two years ago:
    Joseph Solmonese - $303,966 plus a couple of hundred grand from the HRC Foundation
    Cathy Nelson - $271,906
    David Smith - $245,030
    Martin Rouse - $184,631
    Susanne Salkind - $207,298
    Alison Herwitt - $178,980
    James Rinefierd - $169,213

    Anything that furthers the isolatation of HRC, LCR, the Democrats and the Republicans helps the movement for equality.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 7, 2012 4:28:02 AM


  3. One of my exes is a senior VP at GS. He has an advanced case of AIDS and they've provided advanced healthcare. He appears on TV all the time and looks great. I hate the company, but there are many that are much worse.

    Posted by: Anon | Feb 7, 2012 2:28:07 AM


    =======================

    Think the fact he was a senior VP has anything to do with it? And yeah, in my experience, these major financial services firms, especially in NY, are top heavy with gay men and lesbians. Problem is [I consider it a problem] they're just as sociopathic / psychopathic as straight men and woman. Also, the level of substance abuse, legal and illegal, is off the charts.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 7, 2012 6:18:49 AM


  4. It helps to understand this if you know that what they're fighting to maintain and conceal. Here are the salary 2010 figures of some of HRCs self-selected 'leaders, as reported by James Petrelis two years ago:
    Joseph Solmonese - $303,966 plus a couple of hundred grand from the HRC Foundation
    Cathy Nelson - $271,906
    David Smith - $245,030
    Martin Rouse - $184,631
    Susanne Salkind - $207,298
    Alison Herwitt - $178,980
    James Rinefierd - $169,213

    Anything that furthers the isolatation of HRC, LCR, the Democrats and the Republicans helps the movement for equality.

    Posted by: Bill Perdue | Feb 7, 2012 4:28:02 AM

    ================

    I was going to donate to a local homeless shelter here until I discovered it's 'CEO' was receiving over 300,000 [plus God knows what else] and lived in one of the finest suburbs of Boston.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 7, 2012 6:32:55 AM


  5. Umm, do you mean Michael Petrelis, who is actually pretty annoying and comes from a great deal of money himself?

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 7, 2012 7:35:30 AM


  6. Bravo to HRC and especially Goldman Sachs. HRC honored Goldman Sachs, not for their current strong support of gay marriage, but the fact that over the last decade GS has been highly supportive of its gay employees and gay rights in general. GS has been on the forefront of this effort, pioneering at a time when many corporations shyed away from gay support. We, as gays, are never going to obtain any rights unless we convince powerful straights to join us in our voyage. To protest a gay group such as HRC is not a smart tactic. Instead, the OWS group should focus on protesting violently anti-gay groups. Has anyone in the protest group heard of the fundamental Christian Right????

    Posted by: David Jarrett | Feb 7, 2012 8:55:35 AM


  7. The idea that Equality has to be bought is shameful. Someone earlier in the comments mentioned that if BP had made a pro-Equality ad after the oil spill, would we be having lavish cocktail parties in their honor? It's gross to think about. The OWS movement is going after the money behind politics. Politics should not be bought. Where does the voice of the people go if the only voice heard is the American Dollar? I completely agree with the Queer Caucus of OWS in going after the money behind our community's politics. Do you really need to dress up in a tuxedo to participate in a corporate circle jerk? A bunch of wealthy, white people in a room talking about the misogynistic institution of marriage is hardly a path to full federal Equality for everyone in our community. Yes, marriage Equality is important, but it's not the end of our struggle. GS gives money to EVERYONE to cover their ass. They are not heroes. They want to own everything and pull the political strings on all sides. Looks like HRC is bought and paid for. We should occupy their FACE.

    Posted by: Victoria | Feb 7, 2012 10:07:58 AM


  8. HUGE misstep for HRC.
    They continue to put corporate interests about ALL in their programing, dinners, publications, at the expense of the community.
    This was a strategic blunder to recognize Goldmann Sachs this year but there was likely a contract or letter of agreement that was signed by HRC at some point to give recognition to GS and the marker was due.
    It was a shame and frankly a PR mistake as well as a professional blunder of the HRC Communication staff that allowed the message of Mr. Blankfein support to be overshadowed in this way.
    They buried the lead in this. Although they had this video it was not even shown or mentioned at the dinner Saturday night.
    Also missing from the event---ANY call to action for support for Marriage Equality in NJ even though this gala was the HRC dinner for Greater NY...which includes NJ but who knew that "greater NY" meant only for the greater corporate good of NY alone.
    And the Goldman Sachs private security force (either paid for by HRC or Goldmann) was ridiculously invasive you'd think Blankfein himself would be there and not a low level diversity director. If you give a Corporate Award how about someone either from the Board show up to show how far any support is and not the person who wrote the diversity handbook. It was a low point after THE Anna Wintour accepted hers.
    I'm just sorry she had to share the night with Goldman Sachs.

    Posted by: mcNnyc | Feb 7, 2012 1:51:37 PM


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