Dan Savage: Dump Russian Vodkas
Instead of a boycott on the Sochi Winter Olympics, It Gets Better founder Dan Savage believes that dumping Russian vodkas would be a more effective way to protest the country's treatment of its LGBT citizens.
"Seattle's bars, gay and straight, must dump Stoli. Seattle's drinkers, gay and straight, must dump Stoli. Some are arguing—based on Stoli's outdated Wiki page—that Stoli isn't a Russian vodka. 'Presently the internationally distributed version of Stolichnaya is not a Russian vodka but is distilled and bottled in Latvia,' Stoli's Wiki page reads. 'In 2009, William Grant & Sons signed an agreement to distribute Stolichnaya in the USA, taking over from PepsiCo.' That's old news. On January 1, 2014, Stoli becomes a Russian vodka again. The SPI Group—which will be distributing Stoli in the USA before the Olympic games begin this winter—is owned by Yuri Scheffler, one of the 100 richest men in Russia. Stoli is a Russian vodka.
"If you drink a Russian Vodka like Stoli, Russian Standard, or any of the other brands listed above, switch to another brand from another country, or even a local brand from a local distillery. Stoli is the iconic Russian Vodka and it's returning to Russian ownership in 2014. Other brands like Russian Standard should also be boycotted. Do not drink Russian vodka. Do not buy Russian vodka. Ask your bartender at your favorite bar—gay or otherwise—to DUMP STOLI and DUMP RUSSIAN VODKA."
As to why Savage prefers supports boycotting vodka over the Winter Olympics, he points to an inspired quote from Patrick Burke, founder of the You Can Play project, on the subject:
"In 1968, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar refused to play in the Olympics as a protest against the treatment of blacks in America. The same year, Tommie Smith and John Carlos stood on a medal stand, gloved fists in the air, as a protest against the treatment of blacks in America. History remembers the athletes who showed up.... To send the strongest possible message of support to the LGBT community, we must send our athletes—those who are LGBT, those who are LGBT-supportive, those with LGBT family members or friends. Let them show that champions stand strong with their teammates and training partners. Send our openly LGBT and “publicly pro-gay” athletes and let them compete. Let them win. Show the world that there are elite LGBT athletes who are not afraid to be themselves, on and off the playing field. That the majority of the world’s finest athletes support their LGBT teammates, coaches, and opponents by treating them as equals in competition."
What do you think about Savage's idea?