Macy’s East Chairman and CEO Ron Klein tells Boston’s In Newsweekly that he regrets the mistake Macy’s employees made in removing mannequins from a Gay Pride display in the Downtown Crossing store.
He also says that the removal was due to “an internal breakdown in communication” and not because of “pressure” from right-wing extremist group MassResistance.
Klein’s letter, published in full over at Queerty and after the jump, makes no mention of the complaints from anti-gay group MassResistance that prompted a Macy’s spokesperson to say the removal of the mannequins “was an effort to strike a balance.”
Klein says in his letter, “Historically, our windows dedicated to causes and celebrations have always been executed through the use of text and props such as posters. We traditionally do not feature mannequins in these ‘community windows’ because the introduction of merchandise has no role in our tributes.”
Klein’s letter would suggest that because the mannequins were not even supposed to be there in the first place, the “internal breakdown in communication” was the reason for the removal, not some fringe bigot with a whining piehole.
Imho, Klein’s half-assed apology is too little, too late. From my perspective, Klein wants to weasel out of a rumble with the right-wing bigots at MassResistance by throwing out the “internal communication” card.
I don’t mean to extend the drama surrounding the gay mannequins, but I think Klein’s response is weak and inadequate. I probably won’t be shopping at a Federated Store anytime soon.
ADDENDUM: Here’s a comment left over at The Malcontent that sheds some more light on the situation that led up to all this. Still doesn’t change my feeling about this latest missive from the CEO.
Full text of the letter after the jump (via queerty)
From Ron Klein:
To the members of the GLBT Community:
My appreciation goes to In Newsweekly for giving me the opportunity to shed some light on a very troublesome week in Boston.
First, let me stress that Macy’s commitment to diversity and to the GLBT community is unwavering. Our history is rooted in inclusiveness, and it is a core principle of Macy’s.
I do recognize, however, that during Boston Pride Week, our actions did not appear to support that commitment. Every one of us in the Macy’s family sincerely regrets that what we had genuinely intended to be a celebration of Gay Pride Week became the center of a controversy.
For many years, our company has dedicated a window in our Downtown Crossing store in Boston to Pride Week, and we did so enthusiastically again this year.
When the controversy arose over the content of our display, the decision was made to maintain the display with no changes. We wanted to stand firm in our support of Boston Pride Week and the GLBT community – just as we always have.
Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in large organizations, a miscommunication occurred and the controversial mannequins were removed. Again, they were not removed because of pressure – but because of an internal breakdown in communication. Macy’s mistake – unquestionably.
Some can also call our decision not to return the mannequins to the window a mistake. Historically, our windows dedicated to causes and celebrations have always been executed through the use of text and props such as posters. We traditionally do not feature mannequins in these “community windows” because the introduction of merchandise has no role in our tributes.
I would ask the GLBT community to consider all that we did do – and have done – for Pride Week and the GLBT community. We did feature the Pride Week calendar of events in our window; we have done so for many years and are committed to doing so in the future. We hope the GLBT community will look past one element in a window display and recognize the exemplary record Macy’s has in support of diversity and the GLBT community. We are one of the most supportive companies in the country to our GLBT employees, including many members of senior management, as well as, vendors, and customers. Our annual support of Pride Week in Boston and in other cities across the country should clearly demonstrate our commitment.
Am I regretful that Macy’s made a mis-step in this instance? Yes. I am also regretful that some may question our commitment to the GLBT community based on this incident.
However, I am hopeful that Macy’s long track record of support for inclusion and diversity will be remembered by the GLBT community and will be a strong counterbalance now that the facts are known.
As a Macy’s employee, I am proud that our company supports and marches in Pride parades in Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Seattle, and New York City (where I have personally marched for several years). I am proud of Macy’s participation in AIDS walks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and New York City. I am proud of Macy’s Passport fashion event, held in San Francisco and Los Angeles, that has raised $21 million for HIV/AIDs research since 1988. I am proud of Macy’s 86 ranking in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index – the second-highest ranking possible. And I’m proud of all the community partnerships, events, awards programs, marketing campaigns, recruiting efforts, and education and awareness programs undertaken by Macy’s with and for the GLBT community.
I can tell you with deepest sincerity that Macy’s commitment to diversity and to the GLBT community always will be an important part of our company and our community outreach.
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