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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Macy's Apologizes, Reaffirms Commitment to GLBT Community


I knew the fat lady hadn't sung about this whole affair yet. Well, she's belting it out now — and it's a requiem for MassResistance. That's the name of the radically intolerant fringe group of mAssholes I wrote about on Wednesday — the ones who were boasting they organized an effort forcing Macy's to take down a window display of two male mannequins in front of a Gay Pride schedule.

It seems the group's impact on the entire episode was only a charade — enormously inflated and grossly overstated.

Macy's has issued an apology to the gay community because of what they call a "mistake" and has reaffirmed its commitment to gay and lesbian concerns.

From the letter of apology from Macy's East Chairman & CEO Ron Klein:

To the Members of the GLBT Community:

...First, let me stress that Macy's commitment to diversity and to the GLBT community is unwavering. Our history is rooted in inclusiveness, and it is a core principle of Macy's.

I do recognize, however, that during Boston Pride Week, our actions did not appear to support that commitment. Every one of us in the Macy's family sincerely regrets that what we had genuinely intended to be a celebration of Gay Pride Week became the center of a controversy.

For many years, our company has dedicated a window in our Downtown Crossing store in Boston to Pride Week, and we did so enthusiastically again this year.

When the controversy arose over the content of our display, the decision was made to maintain the display with no changes. We wanted to stand firm in our support of Boston Pride Week and the GLBT community — just as we always have.

Unfortunately, as sometimes happens in large organizations, a miscommunication occurred and the controversial mannequins were removed. Again, they were not removed because of pressure — but because of an internal breakdown in communication. Macy's mistake — unquestionably.

Some can also call our decision not to return the mannequins to the window a mistake. Historically, our windows dedicated to causes and celebrations have always been executed through the use of text and props such as posters. We traditionally do not feature mannequins in these "community windows" because the introduction of merchandise has no role in our tributes.

I would ask the GLBT community to consider all that we did do — and have done — for Pride Week and the GLBT community. We did feature the Pride Week calendar of events in our window; we have done so for many years and are committed to doing so in the future. We hope the GLBT community will look past one element in a window display and recognize the exemplary record Macy's has in support of diversity and the GLBT community. We are one of the most supportive companies in the country to our GLBT employees, including many members of senior management, as well as, vendors, and customers. Our annual support of Pride Week in Boston and in other cities across the country should clearly demonstrate our commitment.

Am I regretful that Macy's made a mis-step in this instance? Yes. I am also regretful that some may question our commitment to the GLBT community based on this incident.

However, I am hopeful that Macy's long track record of support for inclusion and diversity will be remembered by the GLBT community and will be a strong counterbalance now that the facts are known.

As a Macy's employee, I am proud that our company supports and marches in Pride parades in Boston, Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Petersburg, Seattle, and New York City (where I have personally marched for several years). I am proud of Macy's participation in AIDS walks in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and New York City. I am proud of Macy's Passport fashion event, held in San Francisco and Los Angeles, that has raised $21 million for HIV/AIDs research since 1988. I am proud of Macy's 86 ranking in the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index — the second-highest ranking possible. And I'm proud of all the community partnerships, events, awards programs, marketing campaigns, recruiting efforts, and education and awareness programs undertaken by Macy's with and for the GLBT community.

I can tell you with deepest sincerity that Macy's commitment to diversity and to the GLBT community always will be an important part of our company and our community outreach.

I'm telling you — reading this makes me proud of the company — and regretful I didn't give the folks there the benefit of the doubt over a bunch of loony-toon zealots who have nothing better to do with their time than police store windows. This company has been and is one of our strongest allies, and — as this letter attests — their hearts and minds are well-rooted. If you gave them any guff over this incident, please let them know their apology is graciously and humbly accepted.


More:

Boston Herald: Error, Not Pressure, Killed Gay Display

In Newsweekly editorial: Macy's Did The Right Thing

And continue to check out Boston Bud's excellent blog, MassResistance Watch, in which he consistently exposes the group's distortions and small-mindedness. One of his recent posts regarding Macy's apology letter astutely points out:
The last two paragraphs of the article caught my eye and is most interesting (and funny):

Brian Camenker, president of MassResistance, the conservative group formerly named Article 8 Alliance, which launched an Internet and e-mail protest against the store urging a boycott over the window, insisted it was his group that prompted the action.

“They definitely bowed to our pressure,” Camenker said, adding that he plans to send more e-mails urging supporters of his group to boycott the store chain because of Klein’s letter.


"And if I stamp my feet and hold my breath until I turn blue..." What I find funny is if you contrast that with them talking about the gay community calling for a boycott. This is from their June 13th email update:

As the Macy's incident continues to make news not only here but, we're told, now in Europe, the fun continues.

One of the interesting aspects of this is the complete fit that the homosexual community is having over it, which seems to us quite out of proportion to any rational reation. A major homosexual magazine, The Advocate, has called for a national boycott of Macy's because of YOUR show of force!

So using their logic, Article 8/MassResistance's boycott is because of YOUR show of force! Congrats!

I'm not certain I could ever find "logic" in Mass Resistance's delusional methods — but it's a point well-made nevertheless! Congrats, all!

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