Should you boycott Domino’s over LGBT equality co
I joined the LGBT boycott of Domino's pizza last year after learning that founder and former CEO, Tom Monaghan, was a radically conservative social activist. Somethings irked me about the story though; there is a Domino's right in Boystown(one of the world's most concentrated gay ghettos) and the pizza itself is delicious and fast- not something I was keen to give up.
Nevertheless, I stuck to my guns (toy guns, real ones are [possibly] illegal in Chicago). In a city filled with options for greasy, cheese covered, pepperoni-laden goodness, why bother with a company that is potentially supporting discrimination against me?
So, when a friend suggested that I order Domino's for dinner tonight, we ended up both digging around for evidence supporting the claim that money going to Domino's was money going to hate.
For the sake of making this easy to consume, I'm going to make my discoveries a list:
- Tom Monaghan left his role as CEO of Domino's Pizza and is no longer involved with the company. [link]
- Tom Monaghan sold, if not all, nearly all of his shares in Domino's and no longer reaps any significant financial benefit from the corporation. (Top 10 "other" holders: link] )
- Although the LA Times article previously mentioned stated that Monaghan would remain on Domino's Board of Directors, he has since resigned that post as well. [link]
- Current Chairman-of-the-Board David Brandon has made financial contributions in excess of $200,000 to the Republican party, candidates, and PACs supporting the Republican party. link]
- Brandon did make a $5,000 contribution to The Ave Maria List PAC in 2002. This contribution was passed on to the likes of Bob Dole and John Thune, amongst others. This is the PAC that Tom Monaghan founded in order to promote Catholic ideals in US government. [link]
- Current CEO of Domino's, J. Patrick Doyle, has likewise made $13,300 in contributions to the Republican party but there is no evidence of support for other anti-gay groups. [link]
- Neither Brandon or Doyle have made significant political contributions outside the Republican party.
- A Domino's Pizza PAC has existed and distributed $61,500 to Republican candidates since 2002. No contributions have been reported since the 2006 election cycle, but the PAC collected an additional $10,500 that I was unable to account for and could presumably be used for future contributions. [link]
- Total contributions to Republicans and to conservative causes from Domino's and its current top-two leaders total at least $274,800.
Having for the most part cleared those most likely to reap financial benefit from Domino's, I moved on to answering two other questions:
- Does Domino's itself stand for equality?
- Is there a better alternative for a national pizza chain? (Thank's Adam for posing this question.)
For this I leaned on HRC's Corporate Equality Index for 2011 (pdf). I am not always a fervent supporter of HRC's political activities but I find their CEI to be indispensable and unmatched when it comes to deciphering a corporation's stance on LGBT issues.
Domino's has scored a 60/100 on the CEI since it was first listed in the index in 2008. That number is pretty grim, and more telling is the fact that they have made no strides to improve their score in four years of being listed. The report says that while Domino's prohibit's discrimination based on sexual orientation, has an employer-supported resource group, and positively engages the LGBT community (usually by way of advertising), they do not provide domestic partner benefits and they also do not provide protection against gender identity or expression.
Slightly better on the CEI, Yum! Brands (owner of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC) ranked a 65. They one-up Domino's by providing domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive diversity training, but miss out on a huge number of points (15) by not "positively engaging the LGBT community." Certainly some room for improvement, but a better option by far. This bodes well for me as I am a huge fan & supporter of Taco Bell. Yum! indeed…
I hope this helps you make a more informed choice when it comes to enjoying an American favorite. If nothing else, it highlights the complexity of making a seemingly simple decision when you are a minority.
You're free to make your own decisions about how to act with this newfound information. Personally, I won't be returning to Domino's anytime soon. While I resolved many of my existing doubts about the company, a slew of new ones have been discovered. I'd much rather spend my money locally, someplace where I can talk to the owner and know first-hand where my relationship with the business stands.
I have to give Glee credit where credit is due: it’s not easy to be progressive on TV, especially when your parent company is News Corp. Through the past season and a half, Glee has shortly approached a broad range of sensitive topics that many other current shows in it’s time-slot wouldn’t dare touch. Unfortunately, it always quickly steps away, afraid run with the issue. When Quinn became pregnant, the writers were quick to make it clear that she would not be getting an abortion, despite abortion being a consideration many viewers have to make at a young age and with little guidance.
The show hasn’t done much of a service for gay people either. Applause for the show’s gay characters shouldn’t exceed a polite golf-clap. Kurt, the gay character with the greatest spotlight, is the spitting image of America’s unfortunately stereotyped view of homosexuals. Other queer characters are offensive (Sandy) or their relationships are weak (Brittany and Santana’s strange bisexual connection.) True, these relationships and personalities do exist in reality, but they’re over-portrayed in media and do a serious disservice to the majority of gay people who don’t fit those molds. America-at-large only sees these outlandish and promiscuous bitches obsessed with pop music and fashion characters. No wonder LGBT people aren’t seen as equals.
All that changed with tonight’s departure from everything we’ve come to know from Glee.
While I appreciate Blaine, the exceedingly handsome object of Kurt’s current fickle dreams (and the first one who is actually gay), I don’t think he is the big news from this episode.
I know I wasn’t the only viewer shocked when Dave, one of the show’s two core bullies, grabbed Kurt during a confrontation and kissed him. Just like that, prime-time has a gay kiss, and nobody expected it to happen. It wasn’t fragile or shy, it didn’t come from an interior designer, and the character was most certainly not comfortable with his sexuality. This was an angsty teenage football player, afraid of who he might be, losing control of his impulses momentarily before ducking back to safety. It’s the first time I’ve been able to sympathize with a Glee character. I was never a bully, but I did plenty of things to avoid confronting my sexuality growing up.
The rest of the show was typical, a few Aesop’s Fables sprinkled through corny humor and a handful of delightful albeit over-engineered songs. Maybe T-Pain can have his auto-tune machines back when Glee goes on hiatus.
[Originally posted at that.dork.jordan.]
It was quite refreshing to see a range of gay characters in this past episide: Blaine, a confident and strong gay character, and to have the total opposite - Dave, an insecure bully who is also gay. At the start of the show, you think it's going to tackle the issue of anti-gay bullying, but the twist with the kiss really threw a curve.
For anyone who hasn't seen it, the all-male acapella of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream was truly amazing!
For anyone who hasn't seen it, the all-male acapella of Katy Perry's Teenage Dream was truly amazing!
The Free Ride is Over
I've always been of the opinion that while supporting your favorite candidate is important, when election day nears, the final push and vote should be for someone with a chance of winning. Any significant split vote can easily lead to placing the worst possible candidate into office.
Lucky for Democrats and Republicans, vote splitting is usually not a problem. Party line is the status quo; people either acknowledge the split vote problem and take the trade-off, or are too lazy to do the research in the first place.
The major parties have been riding this train for years. We vote for a favored party year in and year out because the single other choice is horrifying. A quick poll on twitter corroborates my theory. Only one person responded that they were unwavering with their choices.
To vote party line is an understandable and not-unreasonable position to take. I think we can all see the logic in wanting to vote for someone with a chance. It seems moot to vote for someone you know has no chance before the polls even open. That mindset doesn't take the full climate of politics into mind, though.
That's why I'm announcing a personal policy shift. From here on out, I will vote for the best candidate, not the lesser of two evils.
Politicians running for either of the two big parties are comfortable. They see a single opponent. They know that their only impedance to winning is one other person. As voters, we've removed accountability from the system.
With that in mind, politicians have little motivation to do anything but vote with their party. The people we elect year in and year out do not have the electorate in mind. They are driven by the desire to maintain their career with only the unchecked American media (whose biggest interest is sensationalism in order to make money) and unlimited corporate contributions to influence them. Voters have become little more than minions in a popularity contest between two lost giants.
The binary system is not working.
We're (nearly) all to blame. We haven't been educating ourselves and we haven't been voting with a brain. Electing the ideal candidate is difficult; it requires time and effort to match values with names. Americans are lazy and unbiased data, if available, is difficult to find.
My proposition: for all future elections, vote for the best candidate. My offer: to make available a trustworthy source of information that can be easily consumed before the next major election. We have an obligation not just to vote, but to vote for people who will steer America in the right direction, and few who hold office today are there.
I'm ripping the pegs off my bike; the free ride is over.
If you are interested in joining a project to make information on politicians easier to access, more trustworthy, and more personal; and you have a strong knowledge of politics, technology, or design, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.