There’s something wrong with a message that requires spin, covering up, and censorship, and the decision by Jitters & Bliss Coffee to step into the National Organization for Marriage’s pathetic Starbucks boycott is exemplary in this regard. Yesterday, NOM gave J&B some free press, promoting the company as a Starbucks alternative that maintains a “neutral corporate position on marriage.” This is, of course, except for partnering with the most vocal and rabid anti-equality organization in the country and trying to profit off their dismal protest. “Neutrality” is code for invisibility and continued oppression of the gay community.
Jitters & Bliss has shown just what a scam NOM is trying to pull under the guise of this “neutrality” through the astounding mismanagement of its Facebook page today. Earlier today, J&B was censoring pro-equality comments, blocking posters who added such comments, and ultimately shut down its page for a period of time. The page rebooted this afternoon with the following message and comment, which have also since been deleted:
In light of Jitters & Bliss Coffee paid advertising on NOM website, our position has not changed. Like many companies we are NEUTRAL on the gay marriage issue. We respect our customers’ diverse views on it as with the many other issues facing our nation today. Yes, we are paying advertising on NOM, and would do so on gay sites too (with a NEUTRAL, inclusive position). Our nation is diverse as is our customer base. “God Bless you, and the USA!”
Please, no posts!
The post was obviously rife with lies. First of all, J&B is clearly doing more than “advertising,” seeking to profit off anti-gay stigma by giving money to NOM to get free publicity in NOM’s own materials. Secondly, the company clearly doesn’t respect diverse views if it’s deleting pro-equality comments from its page and trying to censor feedback in general. Both its Facebook page and Yelp page are continuing to receive negative comments because of its NOM alliance, turning the scheme into a PR disaster that it clearly is unprepared to manage. At the time this post was published, the Facebook page has again been pulled from public view.
Plenty of businesses have already learned that supporting their LGBT employees and customers is good for business. When NOM launched a protest of General Mills for its support of nondiscrimination protections and marriage equality, the company responded by offering water to the protesters, unfazed by their efforts. The fact that J&B has had to respond to detractors with censorship and lies demonstrates just how quickly an anti-equality position will compromise customers’ trust.