Advertisers Are Fleeing L.A.’s LGBT March Against Trump

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The marching bands and rainbow floats that traverse gay pride parades offer plenty of opportunities for advertisers looking to court LGBT customers. But an anti-Trump march? Good luck getting advertisers on board for that.

Sponsors are fleeing L.A.’s #Resist march this year out of fear of being associated with its overtly political message, according to march organizer Brian Pendleton. “No corporate dollars that used to go to the parade are going to the march,” Pendleton told Four Two Nine.

This corporate skittishness is a new phenomenon for L.A. Pride, which has traditionally lured a bevy of well-heeled sponsors to its sequined floats as well as its impressive three-day music festival featuring headliners like Carly Rae Jepsen and Charli XCX. Last year’s principal sponsors included Wells Fargo, Vegas.com, Bud Light and Skyy Vodka, which describes itself as “steeped with the progressive spirit of California.”

But this year, as organizers decided to shelve the open air trucks filled with go-go dancers, corporate interest has cooled. Only one of last year’s sponsors, Nissan, told Four Two Nine that they planned on supporting the march. (Three others didn’t respond.) [UPDATE: A PR representative from Nissan told Four Two Nine that the company plans on sponsoring L.A.’s Pride Festival, not the Resistance March.] While the event is 55 days away, leaving plenty of time for would-be sponsors to change course, Pendleton doesn’t seem optimistic. “Community members are behind this, but the corporate community is somewhat dubious and nervous about it,” he said.  

“I find it amazing that we’ve been able to get corporations on board with the celebratory frivolity of a parade, but when it comes to standing up for human rights, it’s making them a little bit nauseous.”

Wells Fargo, a sponsor of L.A.’s first gay pride, confirmed to Four Two Nine that the company did not plan on participating in the march this year. “Wells Fargo is prohibited from supporting political events,” said Paul Gomez, the company’s California media representative. “We also don’t want to lose focus on what pride is all about.”

In fact, the majority of LGBT pride parades around the world were born out of protest; one of the first public rallies in support of gay people, held in 1967 in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, was a pointed display of defiance in the face of police brutality.

Pendleton says that the march will be fine whether or not it gains corporate sponsorship. “We’ve had individuals write us checks for ten thousand, fifteen thousand dollars,” he said. “The community is behind us.”

It could behoove corporations to take a Pepto Bismal and dive in; those that have stood up to Trump in the past have benefited financially and in the public sphere. Nordstrom’s beef with Ivanka led to a spike in stock prices and advertisers who subtly (and not so subtly) critiqued Trump’s immigration policies in their Super Bowl ads received oodles of favorable press coverage.

This year’s pride participants will gather at Hollywood and Highland, the site of L.A.’s first official gay pride parade, and travel three miles to West Hollywood Park. The march’s description on Facebook originally read, “Floats and marching bands are nice when we are not at war. Now is the time we shake things up and take to the streets.”

Pendleton insists that this year’s march is meant to be inclusive of LGBT people across the political spectrum. “I don’t think standing for human rights, healthcare, immigrants and LGBT issues should be divisive,” he said.

“I know that my Republican parents, who are no longer alive, would have been supportive.”

About The Author

Steven Blum is the digital editor of FourTwoNine. He's written for Vice's Broadly, The Stranger, Blackbook Magazine, Tablet and the Daily Dot.

  • Foodie Panda

    It’s not an anti-Trump march. It’s a march for LGBTQ rights that generations have fought long an hard to achieve over the years, culminating with the major advancements under the Obama administration. Now that we’re under a conservative administration and Congress, those rights we’ve fought long and hard are under attack at the local, state and federal levels.

    • RickyRicardo

      It’s called the Resist March .. the term resist has been used to resist Trump, therefore it’s an anti-Trump march.

  • ElenorRigby

    West Hollywood pride has always been about siphoning as much money out of everyone’s pockets as possible. Most of us stopped going years ago once it became less like a party and more like going to a place where you pay $20 just to walk onto the grounds and within 20 seconds you have banks, time share companies, investment bankers, skin care companies and everything else under the sun practically tackling you to get your name, info and to try to force you to buy something. One year we made it past that and when we got to the place where they sell drinks, some large blonde girl nearly dragged us away once we got our drink tickets and told us they had “vodka samples” for us… which was just kool aid with vodka in it… and then told us “that will be four drink tickets each, please.” The whole thing is just a big corporate clusters*ck and it exists solely for the purpose of making money for the sponsors. Once an actual message of “stand up for our rights” came to be part of it… they all high-tailed it. Luckily, the Downtown LA Pride is much better, cheaper to get in and isn’t just an excuse for time share companies to try to squeeze your phone number out of you to sell to 10 other companies.

  • AussieB

    I’m no Trump supporter but don’t think Gay Pride should be turned into yet another anti Trump match. Especially in liberal LA. Might make you feel better but it’s not going to gain you one new voter. You’ll get a lot of negative press. (Not to mention there are LGBT people who are Republicans or support Trump). Liberals are marching weekly or tweeting up a storm. The worst /most extreme are getting violent and acting like Fools. Meanwhile, Democrats keep losing elections at all levels of government & half the country doesn’t vote. Celebrate Pride & instead of weekly matches, go work at a phone bank, knock on some doors, register people to vote & do something that will make a difference on election day

    • rdm24

      I think the LGBT people who supported Trump are very much the audience of this march.

      • Pinko of the Grange

        So a whole weekend for what 5% of the community; seems like a waste of resources for people that are so selfish they can’t think of any one else’s well being but theirs.

      • Pinchi Güero

        Just like the Democrats created the KKK during Reconstruction to intimidate blacks and whites from voting Republican the LGBTQ community is now being used to intimidate LGBTQ from voting Republican or supporting the lawfully elected president.

        You’re unconsciously bringing up an important issue when you state that “LGBT Trump supporters are the audience of this march”. Those planning on participating in this march are assuming that they need to tell others something. Maybe try listening to people with different ideas or views. We’ve heard everything you have to say already. We’re inundated with it daily through the news, every single LGBTQ organization, every bar or club, on the radio, on LOGO, Hollywood, etc.; however, when it’s our turn to speak we’re shouted down and our “gayness” is questioned. Stop thinking that you’re the only one with something to say and start listening to others. That’s how you learn tolerance.

        • rdm24

          Thanks for educating me on how the Democrats are still the Dixiecrats, and that the Republicans are true to their Reconstruction roots, arguing for armed intervention to enforce civil rights in intransigent southern states, and that we should ignore the past 70 years of history when interpreting these parties.

  • Pinko of the Grange

    Even at the height of the plague, we didn’t make pride a political vehicle. We had groups that represented the very political fight. Pride was a celebration that we had made it through another year and a place to remember those that didn’t. To welcome the parts of the tribe that never set foot in Gayborhood except for pride. Pride’s protest wasn’t whining in the streets but it was to show that we are here and we are united, all while being fun, festive and fabulous; at least for a weekend.

    To make the event itself a protest at his point is self defeating. If you need to protest follow the example of the Radical Fairies: a separate march between brunch and a disco nap.

    But hey what do I know I just helped keep a lot people alive and the community together.

    (To those that think pride is just a way to separate a queer form their money. Wake up stuff costs money)

  • Pinchi Güero

    I’m glad to see sponsors refusing to participate in this Hate March. This march has nothing to do with LGBTQ Pride. It’s about throwing a tantrum because the election didn’t go the way they wanted. Anyone participating in this march is only working to dividing “the community” and expressing nothing but hate. This is about being exclusive since it doesn’t include or represent the whole community. 14% of the LGBTQ community voted for Trump and people need to accept that fact, process it like adults, and get over it. This isn’t how mature adults behave. This is so high school. There are going to be a lot of hypocrites marching wearing #NoH8 on their faces and clothes as they actively promote hate. This is an enormous step backwards for “the community” and making “the community” into a hate group. I’m embarrassed and ashamed that my community is behaving in such an ignorant and childish manner. The organizers must be removed and replaced. This is going to only be anti-Trump LGBTQ. It will not be the LGBTQ community. Pride will be the festival afterwards. This is just a brown shirt march to intimidate voters and people in the community to follow the herd and to bring the march organizers profits and career opportunities. THIS is hate towards those not like us. THIS is intolerance. THIS is not Pride. THIS is hate. THIS is not who were are.

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