Thursday, March 20, 2014

AllOut & American Apparel Broke Promise to Russian & Global Gays
(AllOut's Principle 6 gear seen here modeled by Russian lesbian leaders Elina Yuvakaeva, left in hat, and Anastasia Smirnova. Courtesy photo.)

Since early December, many mainstream news outlets from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times to dozens of of gay blogs and across various social media have pumped out gushing PR about the professional LGBT advocates of AllOut, Athlete Ally and their collaboration with American Apparel selling clothing to benefit gay Russians. The apparel was emblazoned with the Principle 6 of the Olympics charters banning discrimination.

I've tried here and here to follow the money with this international endeavor, and in late January Wesles Adams of AllOut, at my urging, shed a bit of sunlight on the project and announced when his group would provide more info, underlining added:

The cost of producing the apparel ranges from about 15-30% depending on the item and the size. [...] After covering these costs and the costs of promoting the sale of the apparel (e.g. pr, website, etc) that All Out and Athlete Ally have advanced, the net proceeds will be donated to several Russian LGBT groups.

American Apparel has indeed been transparent with us about their costs and has also supported the campaign out of their own pocket through PR and online advertising. [...]

Closer to Sochi, we'll be making an announcement about how much money we'll be donating to LGBT groups in Russia from the sale of Principle 6 apparel.  Of course this will depend on how many people actually purchase shirts, which is why we're putting so much energy behind it and hope you will support our endeavor!

For almost a month, since the Olympics concluded, I've emailed AllOut's executives and posted requests on the QueeRussia group requesting information about how much money was raised, which groups in Russia will receive the funds and what ever happened to the promised announcement they would make before the games.

AllOut, Athlete Ally and American Apparel have broken their promises to be transparent with the LGBT Russian community, donors and gay activists across the globe. I've not heard a peep from these folks.This is no way to conduct global LGBT advocacy.

AllOut owes us a full explanation and genuine transparency about their sale of Principle 6 apparel. How much money was raised, what amount was eaten up by manufacturing and PR expenses, and where is the money going?

1 comment:

7b939e8c-9e29-11e3-8aaf-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Michael:

THANK YOU for your commitment to transparency and accountability on AllOut and American Apparel as well as all of the other groups who ask our community to use our spending power to help them raise funds for a cause.

I'm sad to say that I think this is the first of MANY organizations who are guilty of the same thing regarding their fundraising efforts for Russian Federation gay, lesbian and transgender communities.

I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your commitment to holding these organizations accountable.

Companies and organizations need to stop abusing our community with false promises that our contribution will be used to help others.

Keep up the good fight!