Gay bars across America are ridding themselves of Russian vodka in protest of the 2014 Winter Olympics location, after heavily criticized anti-gay laws were implemented in Russia in early June.
The new laws allow police officers to arrest tourists and foreign nationals suspected of being gay, and outlaws “homosexual propaganda” as pornography. Gay pride events will also be forbidden, and children can no longer be informed about homosexuality.
Some say the move will encourage hate crimes against the LGBT community.
The move was propositioned by Stranger writer Dan Savage who wrote a blog post calling for all bars to “dump Stoli” and other Russian vodkas. He also condemned Russia for limiting the rights of the LGBT community, calling Putin’s Russia fascist.
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“The vodka boycott is especially appealing because everyone can participate in it,” Lisa Menichino, owner of a gay bar called Cubbyhole, said. “It has the power of people.”
Stoli’s website has been redesigned with colors of the rainbow and a large banner that explains the company’s support of the protest. The company has also supported gay pride parades recently in South Africa and Austria.
The Luxembourg-based company quietly noted that their products are made outside of Russia, and have no association with the country.
Stoli is not the only brand to take advantage of the boycott. SKYY Vodka took to Twitter shortly after Savage’s article caused excitement, posting an ad that reads “Cheers to Equality” with a martini and American flag in the background.