Cliff's Boycott & Castro Flag Controversy
(Boycott organizers in front of the variety emporium, top two pics. During the protest, police officers were called to tell us we couldn't use the sound amplification device, a bull horn, without a permit. Credit for all images: Bill Wilson Photography.)
Reporter Sasha Lekach of the Bay City News service came to our presser on Tuesday afternoon to launch a boycott of Cliff's Variety Store, and she filed this terrific story picked up by the SFAppeal.com site:
A handful of protesters, including a few in the buff, have vowed to boycott a Castro neighborhood store in San Francisco over an ongoing dispute concerning the iconic rainbow flag and other uses of the neighborhood's public space.
Terry Asten Bennett, one of the owners of Cliff's Variety store at 479 Castro St., sits as the president of the Merchants of Upper Market Street and Castro, and her store is the target of the small boycott because of merchant group's decisions regarding flag modifications . . .
Regardless of the successful campaign for the transgender flag to fly in November, gay rights activist Michael Petrelis teamed up with three nudist activists and stood in front of the store Tuesday afternoon holding signs stating "Boycott Cliff's" and bellowing into a bullhorn.
Petrelis said MUMC needs to offer the Castro community more transparency with their decisions and use of public land. "We are asking them to hold public meetings" and in the meantime asking customers to boycott Cliff's, he said . . .
Cleve Jones, a prominent LGBT activist who worked with assassinated San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk for human rights in the 1970s, walked through the store doors during the boycott to show his support for Asten Bennett and Cliff's.
What union organizer other than Jones, who works for the UNITE HERE union, would ignore a picket line and not show solidarity with protesters?
Come out this Saturday, October 20 at 2 pm to Jane Warner Plaza in the Castro for a rally to support nudists and wresting control of public spaces from private merchants. After a fun nude-in at the plaza, we're probably going to march to Cliff's and hold a speak out. Join us!