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Yelp's Open Letter Warning to States Considering Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Bills Is Must Read

StoppelmanWhile the list of corporations, politicians and celebrities boycotting Indiana grows, the CEO of Yelp is taking preemptive action to ensure other states understand the economic consequences of choosing to move forward with discriminatory "religious liberty" bills.

In an open letter penned on the Yelp official blog, CEO Jeremy Stoppelman warns that his company "will make every effort to expand its corporate presence only in states that do not have these laws allowing for discrimination on the books."

Stoppelman writes:

A little over one year ago I wrote an open letter to then-Arizona Governor Jan Brewer requesting that she veto SB 1062, a bill that would have allowed businesses in the state to discriminate against consumers. Thankfully she did the right thing and vetoed that legislation, thus maintaining Arizona’s status as a hospitable place for Yelp’s employees to live and for our company to do business.

Since that time, however, legislators in other states have sought to pass, or have enacted, laws that would allow for businesses to discriminate against consumers based on certain traits including sexual orientation. While Indiana is the most recent state to enact a law allowing for this kind of discrimination by businesses, unfortunately measures are being debated in other states across the country that would follow Indiana’s example. These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws.

Just as I said in my letter to Governor Brewer, 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.

Sincerely,

Jeremy Stoppelman

CEO, Yelp

In related news, civil rights leader and former NAACP chairman Julian Bond has released a statement blasting Arkansas's proposed bill, saying:

H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion--and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens. Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."

Earlier today, we told you about the campaign to prevent a similar "license to discriminate" bill from becoming law in Georgia.  


Zoe Saldana Doesn't Think Dolce & Gabbana's Anti-gay Remarks Should Affect Her Fashion Choice: VIDEO

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Actress Zoe Saldana is the latest celebrity to weigh in on Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s “synthetic children” and gay adoption remarks and despite vocal outcry from multiple celebrities against the designers, Saldana voiced her support for them, saying she won’t stop wearing Dolce & Gabbana reports E! Online. Saldana said that changing her fashion choices because of the fashion duo’s unpopular opinions would be the "stupidest thing."

Said Saldana: 

"No! Not at all, that would be the stupidest thing if it affected my fashion choice…People are allowed to their own opinion, however, I wouldn't have chosen to be so public about something that's such a personal thing. I’m certainly not going to stop wearing Dolce, and I'm certainly not going to be refuting when they are adopting synthetic children, however they wanted to say it. I do think things are lost in translation…

"My husband (Marco Perego) is from Italy and if I judged him based on the words that he misuses in our English language he wouldn't be here today. It's like ‘Look people, have a drink, relax, it's okay.’ Obviously it caused some sensitivity, but then again if you continue to follow the news, you see they all kinda hugged it out, so why are we making a big deal about it?"

Watch Saldana weigh in on the D&G controversy at the GLAAD Media Awards red carpet this weekend, AFTER THE JUMP...

The D&G design duo uttered the now infamous remarks in an interview with Panorama magazine, saying that they oppose gay adoptions. Also, Dolce’s comments calling children born of "chemistry," a reference to IVF, "synthetic children," angered several celebrities including Elton John, Madonna, Sharon Stone and Ricky Martin.

Said Dolce:

"You are born to be a mother and a father. Or at least that's how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented wombs, semen chosen from a catalog."

D&gDolce and Gabbana have since backpedaled on their original statements and choice of words, with Gabbana stating "It was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love." Dolce mirrored Gabbana’s statement saying "I was talking about my personal view, without judging other people’s choices and decisions." Despite the vocal backlash from LGBT supporters, Dolce and Gabbana have since received support, whether they want it or not, from the National Organization for Marriage who called the designers "wonderful advocates for the true definitions of marriage and family."

Continue reading "Zoe Saldana Doesn't Think Dolce & Gabbana's Anti-gay Remarks Should Affect Her Fashion Choice: VIDEO" »


#BoycottDolceGabbana Grows As Gay Rights Supporters Picket Outside Flagship Store in London: VIDEO

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Gay rights supporters lined the walls outside Dolce & Gabbana's flagship store in London on Thursday to protest the fashion designers' comments about same-sex parenting and IVF babies, the London Evening Standard reports:

Campaigners from The Out and Proud Diamond Group held placards which said "D&G Homophobia is not fashionable!" in the protest next to the shop in Bond Street.

They were joined by leading gay rights activist Peter Tatchell as they called for shoppers to boycott D &G after the duo claimed children conceived through IVF were "synthetic".

Other protest banners read "Dolce & Gabbana - put labels on clothes, not families" and "Boycott D&G over their disrespect for gay families".

Watch footage of the demonstration, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news earlier this week, the Huffington Post reported that international advertising agency DigitasLBi, which "counts Puma and eBay among its clients," announced it would drop the "D" and "G" from its name for a week and call itslef "iitasLBi".

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Bill Maher and his panelists Christine Quinn, Mercedes Schlapp, and former Rep. Jack Kingston also addressed the D&G controversy on Real Time last night, which you can check out AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "#BoycottDolceGabbana Grows As Gay Rights Supporters Picket Outside Flagship Store in London: VIDEO" »


Andy Cohen Joins #BoycottDolceGabbana By Auctioning Off His D&G Suit to Support LGBT Families: VIDEO

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Andy Cohen is putting a creative spin on the #BoycottDolceGabbana campaign: auctioning off his D&G suit and donating the money to the Family Equality Council supporting LGBT families. 

On Watch What Happens Live! earlier this week, Cohen expressed his extreme displeasure with designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who last week stated their beliefs that "the only family is the traditional one" and that children born through in vitro fertilization were "synthetic."

Said Cohen:

As a gay man, I’ve seen my friends given an incredible opportunity to create very real families. There’s nothing ‘synthetic’ about any of the kids that call me Uncle Andy. So in the interest of making things a little better, I brought this from my own closet.

After pulling out his 2014 black wool Dolce and Gabbana suit (size 40R), Cohen announced he would be putting the suit up on Ebay, saying:

“Even though I love this suit, it wouldn’t be fun for me to wear it again. But it will be so much fun for me to have you wear it, knowing we were able to support an amazing cause while also screwing Dolce & Gabbana out of at least one sale.”

Watch Cohen's Mazel of the Day, AFTER THE JUMP...

And to bid on the suit yourself, visit HERE

Continue reading "Andy Cohen Joins #BoycottDolceGabbana By Auctioning Off His D&G Suit to Support LGBT Families: VIDEO" »


D&G's Magazine Director Resigns Over #BoycottDolceGabbana Controversy

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Giuliano Federico, the editorial director of Dolce and Gabbana's online magazine Swide, has resigned following the Italian designers' controversial comments last week on same-sex parenting and in vitro fertilization.

Wrote Federico on his Facebook page:

FedericoDear Facebook friends,

I'm writing here to inform you all that today I’ve presented my resignation as editorial director at Swide.com, Dolce&Gabbana's magazine. It has been a difficult but clear decision. Over the last years, together with the editorial team and many indipendent contributors from all over the world, we've been telling tales from the past and the present about Italians and Italy, following the extraordinary way of Stefano and Domenico in making the italian culture and traditions a pop statement.

I believe that fashion designers should stay in their own routes simply designing clothes, even if Stefano and Domenico always successfully aimed in putting their own personal values into their collections.
Although recent personal opinions expressed by the two designers in the interview for Panorama magazine regarding the idea of family and the way human beings can create their own families, values that are central in the public italian political debate , are in total conflict with my personal believes and with my commitments towards civil rights in my country.
For this reason I’ve resigned from my role as editorial director atSwide.com. It is time that each of us makes little actions to claim their own believes.

I'm proud of being italian, proud of our past and traditions, but i believe that Italy can look at a more modern and equal future for our citizens and children. All children.

[h/t WOW Report]


NOM Calls Dolce & Gabbana 'Wonderful Advocates for the True Definitions of Marriage and Family'

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You know you really might want to rethink your views when the Roy Moore-lovingpro-discrimination, morally (and literally) bankrupt National Organization for Marriage lines up behind you in support. 

Gay designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who are currently facing a resurgence of bad PR after they indicated in an interview that "the only family is the traditional one" and that children born through in vitro fertilization were "synthetic," are getting the red carpet treatment over at the NOM blog:

While Dolce and Gabbana continue to be attacked as “hypocrites”, what their critics have failed to do is prove them wrong. Every child is born to and deserves to be raised by a committed, married father and mother, and same-sex marriage will always strip away at least one essential piece of the family.

Bravo to Dolce and Gabbana for daring to speak the truth; they are as bold in their speech as they are in their designs, and deserve to be applauded. While others will continue to vent their disagreement, the billionaire pair are wonderful advocates for the true definitions of marriage and family.

MSNBC reports that Gabbana, meanwhile, has fired back at Elton John for popularizing the #BoycottDolceGabbana campaign:

Je suisStefano Gabbana posted dozens of photos and comments on social media, at one point calling John a “fascist” for “an authoritarian way seeing things: If you don’t agree with me, I will attack you.” The designer also posting an image that borrows from the “Je Suis Charlie” movement, saying Je Suis D&G and #boycottfalsenews. Some of the messages posted include #boycottEltonJohn. 

“This online campaigning is useless. A gay rights group put words in our mouths in bad faith, and it got out of control,” Gabbana told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on Tuesday. “We don’t and won’t boycott anyone.”

He added in a statement provided to NBC News: “We firmly believe in democracy and the fundamental principle of freedom of expression that upholds it. We talked about our way of seeing reality, but it was never our intention to judge other people’s choices. We do believe in freedom and love.”

Britain's favorite blowhard Piers Morgan is also speaking out against Elton John, calling his boycott "bullying."

NOM, Piers Morgan, and Dolce and Gabbana...how's that for "non-traditional" bedfellows?


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