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NYC bar owners dump Russian vodka in latest protest against anti-gay laws

Monday, August 5, 2013

NEW YORK — New York City bar owners poured bottles of Russian vodka into the streets of Manhattan on Monday in a protest against Russia’s crackdown on the gay community.

Holding up a bottle of the popular Russian brand Stolichnaya, the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Association President Paul Hurley shook his head and called for a city-wide boycott of Russian spirits and liquor.

“All these vodkas here, we’re going to throw them out,” Hurley said. “We feel enough is enough.”

Richard Drew, AP
President Paul Hurley, third left, of the United Restaurant and Tavern Owners Assn., leads a protest by dumping Russian vodka on a New York street, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013. The association is joining with LGBT activists to push for a ban on all Russian spirits, liquors and food in bars, cafes, taverns and restaurants around the city.

Hurley, who urged people to drink American-made alcohol instead, said the boycott was the first step toward pressuring Russia to change its policies toward gay people.

Paddy MacCarty, who owns a Manhattan bar called Nevada Smiths, said he’s planning to toss out every bottle of Russian vodka behind the bar.

At least 200 New York bars and restaurants are participating in the boycott, which has spread to many gay bars across North America in the wake of a newly passed Russian law that bans the so-called “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”

Signed by President Vladimir Putin in late June, the law imposes hefty fines for providing information about the gay community to minors or holding gay pride rallies. Foreign citizens arrested under the law can be jailed for 15 days and then deported.

Last week, Russia’s sports minister said the country will enforce the law when it hosts the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.

In response, U.S. Rep. Jerrod Nadler submitted a bipartisan letter to the State Department calling for protection for Americans who plan to travel to the Olympic Games.

“These laws are completely contrary to the uniting spirit of the Olympics, which brings diverse nations together in a spirit of peaceful and friendly competition,” Nadler said.

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56 more reader comments:

  1. i hope that vodka was free then.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:10pm
  2. Buy American!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:10pm
  3. I am a bisexual russian that leaves in Costa Rica, I totally approve this and will start telling my friends to boicot as well

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:11pm
  4. what does that mean it is paid for so they got there money. you hit them in there pocket boycott the games. they would lose momney

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:11pm
  5. That won´t do much. Russian economy is not built on vodka. Plus make sure it´s actual Russian vodka, not vodka from some place else. Also, what a waste of product. The intent is noble, but perhaps that passion could be directed in different ways.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:12pm
  6. Ya know I wouldn´t mind taking it off their hands if they really don´t want it anymore. Just sayin.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:12pm
  7. For once I don´t see any Stoli. Maybe they´re getting smarter after all.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:14pm
  8. we should just not buy anything from there…

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:15pm
  9. I like the idea but it´s kinda a wasted point as its already paid for ..like crashing your car to protect against ford

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:15pm
  10. Protest

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:15pm
  11. yes! continue the cause

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:15pm
  12. Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:17pm
  13. woohoo! New York rocks!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:17pm
  14. Lucky street rats!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:20pm
  15. It would make sense to boycott Stoli if it had anything to do with Russia. It´s actually an incredibly LGBT supportive company which is at complete odds with the Russian government and won´t do business in Russia. It´s based in Luxenbourg.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:21pm
  16. HEADLINE
    “Homeless flock streets outside gay bars!”

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:22pm
  17. Think of all the drunk ants in the streets right now….

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:23pm
  18. We shouldn´t be buying just American…. We don´t have the best policies on gay rights either. Does Norway have good vodka?

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:31pm
  19. This is, unfortunately, not going to affect Russia at all. The vodka was already purchased, so what is done with the vodka doesn´t matter to them; they already got paid. And moving the games won´t work either. At this point, changing to another country is logistically impossible. The only thing that can be done right now that would make any difference whatsoever is to provide aid to those it targets, through immigration to other countries, or some other humanitarian aid.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:32pm
  20. THIS IS SO FUCKING ASININE. STOP. Dumping vodka is boring and does nothing.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:34pm
  21. Stoli is Dutch.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:38pm
  22. We´re still supporting Stoli at the places I go to and at home. We did the research and Stoli is supportive.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:40pm
  23. Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:42pm
  24. Actually, i believe that i have recently read where… Stoli had apologized for what the Russian govt is doing.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:42pm
  25. Let´s spill all the Russian vodka as to save the Russian LGBT. Right.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:45pm
  26. Pouring out Russian Vodka isn´t going to go anything, I bet I can deals on my favorite Vodka now.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:47pm
  27. I <3 NY

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:50pm
  28. so he already paid for it…so yeah not much he can do there…plus aren´t some vodka brands very gay friendly? what are they suppose to do with the russian govt?

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:54pm
  29. well russia still got the money

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 8:59pm
  30. I can see homeless alcoholics licking it up!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 9:11pm
  31. drink it up, just dont purchase anymore. they already got their money

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 9:16pm
  32. they dont understand stoli is not a russian product its latvia made and that country is not part of russia at all

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 9:20pm
  33. Yes, dump something that you already bought and paid for. THAT WILL SHOW THEM!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 9:36pm
  34. somewhere, Patsy and Edina are crying!!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 9:43pm
  35. Dump it and don´t buy any more Russian vodka. This action is more of a symbolic gesture than anything. I would boycott it, but I don´t drink vodka.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 9:55pm
  36. YEAH!!!!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:00pm
  37. No more vodka for me!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:08pm
  38. RXCELLENT vodka is being made in Kentucky. Drink that! I do.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:17pm
  39. This is fucking retarded. Stoli has ben a LGBT pride sponsor for fucking YEARS, ALL OVER THE WORLD. They have no say in what their nazi government does with its laws, all you are doing is kicking one of our supporters in the face. fucking morons

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:22pm
  40. Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:38pm
  41. Well I see Chase point, but maybe this will motivate them as a corporate power to help fight the homophobia in their country?

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:53pm
  42. I think what New York is getting at is that if the Russians won´t allow LGBT people then their vodka is not allowed and I´m sure NY won´t be asking for anymore of their vodka either. Heck if I were in NY, I would be dumping the crap too, it´s not anything anyone needs anyways.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:56pm
  43. Down the drain for a nation allowing hate!

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 10:58pm
  44. This may be ´symbolic´ but it sure as hell won´t help the lgbt community in Russia

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 11:15pm
  45. This is not the post for trolls..if you don´t get what a boycott is or does get a dictionary.Duh.

    Posted on Monday, August 5, 2013 at 11:25pm
  46. Louisiana needs to stand up and defend its rights for its LGBTQ people ! The south sucks

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 12:57am
  47. This is kinda stupid, because at that point the Bar Owner has paid for the vodka and the company would have already made its money. The best thing to do would have to sold what they had and not purchase any in the future.

    Dumping it is a waste at this stage.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 1:29am
  48. no more caviar either then?

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 1:51am
  49. That´ll show that vodka company that owns the Russian government who´s boss! I suppose it would be ridiculous to listen to what queer activists in Russia are suggesting people do instead of listening to myopic jackasses like Dan Savage, huh?

    Call your representatives and demand that Russian officials that support anti-queer laws be blacklisted and have their visas revoked. That´s what the activists on the ground are calling for.

    http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/20130730/theres-better-way-stand-gay-rights-russia-boycotting-vodka

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 2:50am
  50. Hit their pockets where it hurts. Homophobic idiots.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 3:04am
  51. #boycottsochi
    From the Olympic Charter (http://www.olympic.org/documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf)
    “6. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

    The International Olympic Committee needs to address the issues of the Winter Olympics being hosted in Russia. (http://www.olympic.org/sochi-2014-winter-olympics)

    Use this contact information to address your concerns.
    https://secure.registration.olympic.org/en/faq/ask-question

    © International Olympic Committee
    Château de Vidy – C.P. 356 – CH-1007 Lausanne/SwitzerlandTel. + 41 21 621 61 11 – Fax + 41 21 621 62 16

    http://www.olympic.org
    https://www.facebook.com/olympics
    https://twitter.com/olympics
    http://www.youtube.com/olympic

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 4:54am
  52. Don´t blame it on vodka, blame it on russian government.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:14am
  53. What is Occurring in Russia is UTTERLY Appalling indeed! And what are the governments doing about this ??? Very Little to NOTHING ! STAND UP and Fight for our People ! Stand Up and FIGHT for our Community in Russia Please! It could be You or your Loved one´s Next !!! ;o( Thank you X

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 11:49am
  54. Let us all show support for our brothers and sister in Russia, the new Natzies(sp). What´s next camps and ovens or maybe gas showers…Don´t perpetuate a nightmare!!

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 12:25pm
  55. The Russian attitude seems hopelessly dated . . .

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 1:34pm
  56. Boycott all Russian products.

    Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 2:48pm