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Activists Disrupt 'Stoli Guy' Pageant in NYC in Protest Against Russian Vodka: VIDEO


ACT UP New York and Queer Nation activists disrupted another Stoli event last night protesting the promotion of Russian vodka. Stoli, which is produced by SPI group has denied that it is a Russian-owned company since it is based in Luxembourg and bottled in Latvia but has said that its ingredients and production are sourced in Russia.

Gay City News reports:

Five demonstrators affiliated with ACT UP New York and Queer Nation stormed the stage at Marquee New York in Chelsea at the start of the Most Original Stoli Guy national finale, which brought together the winners from competitions in 12 cities. Blowing horns and holding up signs with messages including “Dump Stoli,” the group –– Mark Milano, Brandon Cuicchi, Terry Roethlein, Piro Rexhepi, and Chris Kohler –– brought the show to a halt for about a minute, before they were dragged from the stage by the club’s bouncers.

As the men were hauled away, one of the evening’s hosts said, “We are very lucky to live in a country where we can speak freely.” The host added, “And one of the things we are celebrating tonight is the passion that is the Stoli brand, and that is passion.”

Watch the video, AFTER THE JUMP...

In July, another Stoli event at Splash bar was disrupted byt the same group of activists.

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  1. “We are very lucky to live in a country where we can speak freely.”

    And the person saying this is heavily promoting a country where such is not the case. Oh, the irony.

    Posted by: Gregory In Seattle | Sep 21, 2013 11:57:33 AM

  2. Does all this mean that the Supremes will, at some point in the future, declare brands to be people too?

    Posted by: Elsewhere1010 | Sep 21, 2013 12:06:58 PM

  3. I know that Stoli "supports" LGBTs only in the most superficial and self-serving ways (what liquor company doesn't) and I understand that pouring Russian Vodka in the gutter in front of TV cameras has raised awareness of antigay laws, but I don't give Dan Savage a pass on pawning off guilt-by-national-association as some sort of moral high ground on which to attack Stoli.

    Stoli is one of the few companies that Putin (who Bloomberg said just this week may be the world's richest man) doesn't have a piece of. He hates Stoli's prez and vice versa.

    Whatever happened to the concept of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

    We SHOULD be drinking Stoli toasts to the the imminent end of Putin's popularity in Russia.

    Posted by: AKSARBENT | Sep 21, 2013 1:45:27 PM

  4. I feel like now that the Vodka boycott successfully got the mainstream media reporting on what's going on in Russia and we now know full well that Stoli is a huge thorn in Putin's side, it would just be better to stop targeting them like this.

    Posted by: JMC | Sep 21, 2013 1:52:42 PM

  5. Protesting turns them on. Idiots.

    Posted by: MD | Sep 21, 2013 2:27:50 PM

  6. "And the person saying this is heavily promoting a country where such is not the case. Oh, the irony."

    Except they aren't promoting Russia, they're promoting Stoli.

    Or do you think promoting Olive Garden is secretly promoting Italy?

    Yes, they got attention by attacking a corporation which is not our enemy. But I find it hilarious that the war on Stoli has lasted longer than the war on other brands which have actively worked to harm the gay community, like Chick-fil-A.

    Priorities, people.

    Posted by: theo | Sep 21, 2013 4:41:11 PM

  7. Thank goodness there are still some genuine gay activists around. The corporate prostitutes who have taken over the gay scene in the last 20 years are a disgrace to humanity.

    Thumbs up to ACT UP.

    Posted by: Adam | Sep 21, 2013 5:06:32 PM

  8. Can someone please explain how boycotting Stoli helps a LGB person in Russia? As JMC states, it's not about garnering media attention over the Russian laws. That's done. So, what's the point?

    Posted by: ali | Sep 21, 2013 6:03:08 PM

  9. Dump Stoli. Dump the Stoli guys too.

    Posted by: Randy | Sep 21, 2013 6:03:46 PM

  10. Sounds like some comments are coming from people getting 25 cents a post, or a small hit of endogenous dopamine, for trying to derail Stoli boycotts online. For shame.
    Latvia is just another rabidly homophobic place, in case anyone didn’t already know that already. I remember reading that the shareholders are Russian, and Stoli’s ingredients and production are sourced in Russia as mentioned above.
    There is no reason to start consuming Stoli. Some people say boycotts don’t work – except for when they’re used successfully against gays, right? They are working. It seems one of the only things that’ll get the attention of anti-gays is the bottom line.
    Try reading what business sites are saying about boycotts of the upcoming Olympics, and its sponsors. They are not happy; and there’s this homophobic subtext. It seems they think we are bringing attention to these organizations ‘for all the wrong reasons’ although they never explicitly mention what they are. When we make ourselves visible, we’re ‘flaunting’.
    Thank goodness for gay rights groups like ACT UP, and individuals doing whatever they can within their means to make any change they can. I will certainly not be watching any of the Olympics or its commercials.

    Posted by: DragonButt | Sep 21, 2013 9:25:57 PM

  11. THANK YOU DragonButt...knowledge and reason speaks through your comment...the rest of these bitches seem to have heard 2 sound bites and think they know enough to be sec. of State.

    Posted by: Booka | Sep 21, 2013 10:19:47 PM

  12. Again I ask, how does boycotting Stoli help a Russian LGB person? If the product is sourced from Russia, that means LGB people in Russia might be getting less work. Even if no LGB people work for the company, a boycott is punishing the common person for the actions of the Russian government.

    Boycotting a country/region/state over a law only ends up hurting the people that live there. That certainly includes people who oppose the law. Leaders/politicians don't care because they are already in power.

    Posted by: ali | Sep 21, 2013 10:35:43 PM

  13. Where is all this boycotting going? No where. Boycott lube if you want gays attention.

    Posted by: EB | Sep 21, 2013 10:44:33 PM

  14. This is a brilliant boycott. Boycott a company which is from another country, although they do buy grain from Russia. Doesn't most of Eastern Europe buy oil from Russia? I'm not going to boycott Bel Ami videos, that's for sure!

    Posted by: bravo | Sep 21, 2013 11:30:34 PM

  15. Ali -- That's exactly the point. Hurt the common Russian and they will put pressure on their Dark Ages government to jump into the 21st Century. This is the same reason striking union workers target the public instead of management or shareholders: they want a broad reaction focused against a small target.

    Posted by: Knock | Sep 22, 2013 12:38:33 AM

  16. Thank God for ACT UP - at least every gay person living isn't totally apathetic. Stoli is not your friend. I realize Stoli has helped many of u get F-d up on Saturday night so u can get your pu$$y plowed but that is no reason to suppor the enemy. Put your money where your mouths are and boycott this company!

    Posted by: jonvincent | Sep 22, 2013 12:58:33 AM

  17. @Dragonbutt:

    Stoli isn't an Olympic sponsor. Implying that people who disagree with you (like AKSARBENT) are on the take is dumb. We are ad free and have already done posts ripping "Marquee" Olympic sponsors Coke and Panasonic. In respect of us, at least, do your homework before slinging mud:

    Posted by: AKSARBENT | Sep 22, 2013 8:35:09 AM

  18. @Knock: It's next to impossible to get laws changed in the US. What makes you think that the common Russia citizen is going to be able to do that in Russia?

    Additionally, what you want the Russian people to do would be illegal, as any effort to repeal the law would likely be considered promotion of LGB propaganda.

    I get what activists are trying to do. But, this type of protest fails to acknowledge the reality that neither foreign multi-national corporations nor common Russian citizens hold any real influence over the leaders that can change the law.

    Despite the claims made above, those of us that realize the pointlessness of targeting companies like Stoli aren't "corporate prostitutes". We're simply pragmatic.

    Posted by: ali | Sep 22, 2013 7:54:51 PM

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