Friday, May 27, 2005

Kraft Foods To Religious Right: We Don't Negotiate With Bigots

People like the American Family Association's Chairman Donald Wildmon must wake up every morning, heave a heavy sigh, and say “So many people to hate and so little time.”

Kraft Foods has been targeted by the AFA and the Religious Right for their sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. It also doesn't help that Kraft features a picture of that well-known gay activist SpongeBob SquarePants on their Macaroni and Cheese boxes.

The AFA has issued an Action Alert asking its 2.2 million-member zombie brigade to call Kraft “...and tell them to pull their financial support from the 2006 Gay Games.”

But here's a positive message to take into your long weekend: Kraft has responded to these attacks by telling the AFA and their ilk to go to hell. You can see the internal memo from Marc Firestone, Kraft's Executive Vice President, Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary at Daily Kos, but here are some of the things Kraft has said in taking a stand:

“The true test of any commitment is how you respond when challenged. Kraft is experiencing this to a degree right now, as a result of our decision to be one of several contributors to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago... In recent days, the company has received many e-mails, the majority of them generated through the America Family Association, which objects to our sponsorship. We also have received calls and e-mails - - not as many, but equally passionate - - thanking us for supporting this event.”

And ...

“While Kraft certainly doesn't go looking for controversy, we have long been dedicated to support the concept and the reality of diversity. It's the right thing to do and it's good for our business and our work environment.”


“It can be difficult when we are criticized. It's easy to say you support a concept or a principle when nobody objects. The real test of commitment is how one reacts when there are those who disagree. I hope you share my view that our company has taken the right stand on diversity, including its contribution to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago."

I just called Kraft at 1-800-323-0768, waited on hold less than 60 seconds, and thanked them for not backing down from these bigots and for taking a courageous stand.

You should too – you'll feel good after you do it. We need to be just as vocal as the people on the wrong side of an issue like this and this is an easy way to do it.

As someone who sometimes doubts there's much humanity left in Corporate America, I'm delighted to see Kraft standing by their commitment and ethics. I'll feel much better when I whip up some Easy Mac for my little boy this weekend.