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10/06/2008

A donation as cold as the stone?

by Jeremy Hooper

Gays, we have some potentially good news and some potentially bad news.

The good news: We might have found a way for you to cut excess calories out of your diet.

The bad news: The method might involve a principled boycott of one of this nation's most prominent ice cream chains

Picture 9-99That's because a reader of the Joe.My.God site has revealed that Donald and Susan Sutherland, the founders of Scottsdale-based Cold Stone Creamery, have donated $10,000 to Arizona's anti-gay marriage Proposition 102:

Cold Stone Creamery Founders Donate Against Gay Marriage in Arizona [JMG]

Now, we say POTENTIALLY when referring to any and all boycott-y plans, because the variable that nobody seems to know at this point is just how connected the Sutherlands still are to the Cold Stone brand. However, they were on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" earlier this year demonstrating and hawking the brand, so it would seem that they do still have an interest. We just want to take pause before encouraging anyone to take action, since the Bolthouse Farms situation from earlier this year has turned into such a debate about a company's potential for being a completely separate entity from the founders (even when, like Bolthouse, the company still bears the founder's name).

So for now, politically-minded queer consumers, I guess we'd recommend sitting tight until more info oozes forth. Although just to be safe, you might want to fulfill your needs at the uber-liberal Ben & Jerry's. We're also pretty sure you can trust the seemingly inclusive-colored Pinkberry. And we'd like to also think that you can reliably milk some cream from that old queen named Dairy, but we're not 100% sure about that one either.

Ah, f**k it -- just go vegan.

**UPDATE: The company has responded. Apparently, the Sutherlands are no longer involved, but still have a promotional connection:

I wanted to provide some clarity on a post on your blog regarding Cold Stone Creamery,

The Sutherlands founded Cold Stone Creamery in 1988. In May 2007, Cold Stone Creamery was acquired by Kahala and since that time the Sutherlands have not been involved in the business. However, as the founders of a well-known ice cream brand, they are called upon from time to time to tell the history.

While Cold Stone Creamery does not involve itself in political matters, we can assure you that Cold Stone Creamery welcomes all ice cream lovers in our stores.

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Your thoughts

I did some internet digging a few hours ago and only came up with the oprah info as well, which is interesting. I am hesitating to call for a boycott until more info is uncovered. I am already vegan, woot. I'll have extra interest in a gay boycott.

Posted by: queerunity | Oct 6, 2008 3:34:51 PM

The Sutherlands founded Cold Stone Creamery in 1988. In May 2007, Cold Stone Creamery was acquired by Kahala and since that time the Sutherlands have not been involved in the financial side of the business. However, as the founders of a well-known ice cream brand, they are called upon from time to time to tell the history.

While Cold Stone Creamery does not involve itself in political matters, we can assure you that Cold Stone Creamery welcomes all ice cream lovers in our stores.

Posted by: Cold Stone Creamery | Oct 6, 2008 6:43:31 PM

Cold Stone:

When those individuals who go on popular television programs and associate their name and image with your product involve themselves publically in political matters, so do you.

If you do not support Proposition 102, say so. Clearly. You might even want to donate an equivalent amount to the other side.

Otherwise all I know is that your spokespersons support the initiative and that I won't be crossing the street at the Beverly Connection in West Hollywood to buy your product.

Posted by: Timothy | Oct 6, 2008 7:15:25 PM

Yes, the LGBT community has the memory of elephants. When Coors started to fund the founding of the Heritage Foundation, and other non-gay friendly groups many LGBT people stopped drinking Coors, and its taking them a generation or two to rebuild the damage.

Posted by: Matt from Ontario | Oct 6, 2008 7:42:29 PM

Coors was/is behind much of Reaganomic TRICKLE DOWN theory. Here is quote re book by Bellant:

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 6, 2008 7:56:46 PM

Sorry that last post didn't contain link... so I found this one!
corporations.org/coors/


Coors vs. the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual community

Boycott Coors Committee
Coors funding of anti-lesbian and gay groups and their relationship with the Castle Rock Foundation
Coors Courts Queers -- But Critics Say, "Don't Feed the Hand that Bites You"
Coors Controversy Boils Statewide
Coors and the Homophobes: The Adventure Continues -- Critics Call New Foundation "Smoke and Mirrors"
Silver Bullets And Gold Coins
West Hollywood Commends "Gay-Friendly" Coors -- Activists Call Action "Unconscionable"

....and you would even consider drinking COORS...advertisers love you!

Posted by: LOrion | Oct 6, 2008 8:00:53 PM

And to think, I used to love going there all the time. I'm so disappointed in you, Cold Stone Creamery.

Posted by: Harold | Oct 7, 2008 1:50:12 AM

Do they still hold stock in Coldstone? If so, if a significant part of their current income comes from Coldstone profits (which would explain why they're still out there promoting the business even after they've retired from it), then buying from Coldstone Creamery is yes, funding bigots who use those funds to help promote and enforce their bigotry.

Posted by: bellatrys | Oct 8, 2008 7:56:41 AM

I’m happy to provide further clarification.

Since May 2007, when Cold Stone Creamery was acquired by Kahala, the Sutherlands have not been store owners, shareholders, employees or otherwise involved in the management of the business.

However, naturally as the founders of a well-known ice cream concept, they are called up from time to time by the media and others to tell the story, but they are not paid by Kahala to do so.

While Kahala and Cold Stone Creamery believe each individual has the right to get involved in causes they feel passionate about, the company does not endorse ballot initiatives or contribute to political causes. The personal beliefs of the Sutherlands as well as those of past and present franchisees, crew members and employees are not representative of the company. As I mentioned before, we welcome all ice cream lovers in our stores.

Furthermore, you may be interested to know Kahala's overall position as it relates to diversity and inclusion. We are committed to embracing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our business. In addition to following mandated equal opportunity laws, the company provides equal employment opportunities without regard to race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, religion, national origin, marital status, ancestry, sexual orientation, veteran status, citizenship status, pregnancy, medical condition, or any other protected status. This applies to all areas of employment including hiring, training and development, promotion, transfer, compensation, and all other conditions and privileges of employment in accordance with our company's core values.

In addition, at our corporate headquarters, Kahala employees have spearheaded two different organizations dedicated to promoting diversity and inclusion within the company, Juntos and the Women’s Professional Network. For the purposes of this topic, I will focus on Juntos. The 15-member committee is focused on upholding our commitment to inclusion by celebrating and promoting diversity amongst our employees, franchisees, customers, area developers and suppliers. Juntos celebrates the unique talents, strengths and perspectives of our diverse community as we strive to make Kahala a global organization. This mission is carried out through the establishment of goals, education, employee relations and community outreach. Thanks to the efforts of the Juntos committee, Neil Giuliano, president of GLAAD, recently was at our corporate office as a guest speaker to educate our employees on the issues that affect the LGBT community.

Lastly, you might be interested to know that Kahala extends full spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partnerships. Cold Stone Creamery started offering these benefits in 2004. As soon as possible after the acquisition, Kahala adopted the same policy and began offering these benefits to its employees.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to direct them to me, Jami Clark, at jclark@kahalacorp.com

Posted by: Cold Stone Creamery | Oct 9, 2008 10:36:32 AM

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