Friday, July 10, 2009

LGBT Bloggers, Activists and Orgs Win $100k in Dispute with Rockstar Energy Drink

Back in April, LGBT blog, The Bilerico Project, posted an article exposing the connection between conservative homophobic talk radio host Michael Savage and Rockstar Energy Drink. In the article, guest blogger Michael Jones of, revealed that Rockstar was founded by Savage's son Russell Weiner with Savage's financial backing.

Savage is well known for his homophobic rants, where he has compared gays and lesbians to rapists and pedophiles, saying,

"When you hear 'human rights,' think only someone who wants to molest your son, and send you to jail if you defend him. Write that down, make a note of it."

"When I see two puffy white males kissing each other, I want to puke. When I see two women kissing each other, on the lips, as lovers, I want to vomit."

The article has kicked up a storm of controversy over the past few months, with Rockstar attorneys threatening to sue Bilerico and unless they removed the post. They claimed that Savage was not affiliated with the company and disavowed any anti-gay comments he may have made.

However, Savage's son, Rockstar CEO Russell Weiner himself has a blatantly homophobic past. Weiner and Savage are co-founders of the right wing Paul Revere Society. According to the Bilerico article, "At a Rockstar-sponsored concert at Concord Pavilion in 2004, Russell Weiner warmed up the crowd by chanting "Who's heterosexual and proud? If you're not, hopefully you will be soon."

Although the bloggers posted some clarifications, they refused to back down and called for a boycott of Rockstar's products.

Yesterday, Rockstar caved. Bilerico's Bil Browning announced in a joint press release with and Rockstar Energy Drink, that the company, while admitting nothing, will be donating $100,000 to a cross section of LGBT organizations and programs and is changing it's employment practices to include a greater respect for the diversity of its employees and its local Las Vegas, NV community.
"(From ROCKSTAR Energy Drink CEO Russell Weiner announced today that the beverage company will expand its LGBT corporate policies and make $100,000 in donations, shared among several prominent LGBT organizations. The donations represent a significant contribution given ROCKSTAR's relatively small staff of 120 employees.

The contribution will be shared among the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), and The Trevor Project, and ROCKSTAR Energy Drink will also financially sponsor the National LGBT Bloggers Initiative. The donations and affirmation of LGBT-friendly corporate policies mark steps by ROCKSTAR to demonstrate support for the LGBT community.

"It has recently come to ROCKSTAR's attention that there might be a misconception about our company's policy and my personal support for LGBT rights," said Weiner. "We apologize for that misunderstanding, and want to make clear today that our company fully supports our LGBT employees and our LGBT customers."

You can read the complete press release at The Bilerico Project.

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