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Stoli Donates $300K of Blood-money To The Los Angeles LGBT Center


“The responses to the attacks on LGBT rights in Russia show that our lives are global and interconnected. Some responded to the attacks on LGBT rights in Russia by boycotting Stoli. It’s worth clarifying that SPI Group, which is in no way affiliated with the Russian government, has been the owner of the Stolichnaya brand outside of Russia since 1997. The Stolichnaya made in Russia for the local market is owned by a state-controlled entity. We feel it is important to raise our voice again and let the LGBT community know we share the same desire for justice and equality. And we are invested in achieving a brighter tomorrow for all. We are proud to be working with the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center to make our joint vision possible through the Leadership LAB, which empowers LGBT people to defeat prejudice locally, while developing leaders in LGBT communities in the U.S. and around the world. – SPI Group president John Esposito, in an Advocate op-ed announcing a $300,000 donation to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center who of course accepted it.

Why donate to a Gay Center in California, a state where sexual minorities already enjoy equality?  How about the lives of LGBT Russians who have been raped, tortured, beaten, terrorized, imprisoned, silenced, or murdered because of the Nuremberg style laws.

If they were sincere and not just looking for free USA publicity to fight the backlash, Stoli should be donating that money to a Russian LGBT group.  And as for the L.A. LGBT Center.  We know you need the money but isn’t your integrity and the lives of LGBT Russians worth more than 300k?






Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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3 thoughts on “Stoli Donates $300K of Blood-money To The Los Angeles LGBT Center”

  1. Its awful the LA LGBT Community Center is taking money from Stoli. Even if the Russian atrocities weren’t happening its a slap in the face to LGBT people in recovery. Does this center offer or host recovery programs? If so its blood money of another sort also. Irresponsible.

  2. Thanks for sharing. It is quite ironic and disappointing that the LA center took this money.

    Just last night I wrote to HRC asking what specific steps they’re taking to ask members not to buy Russian-related commodities. I also asked if they’re planning on asking their corporate sponsors to pull out of the Sochi Olympics but it might be too late for that move.

    But how about all of us telling our local LGBT establishments to forgo Russian-related stuff like vodka. That would be a great grass roots effort and could snow ball into something significant and maybe impact the Putin government.

What do you think?