CHICAGO – Chicago’s three gay newspapers are carrying a March 19 open letter ad signed by almost two-dozen Chicago gay bar owners urging people not to buy Coors Company products.

The signers charge that Coors family members are some of the biggest contributors to anti-gay organizations and initiatives. Coors has faced gay and labor boycotts since the 1970s and has tried for years to place its products in Chicago’s gay and lesbian nightclubs.

“With the renewed effort to place Coors products in our establishments, we thought it necessary to remind our community of the Coors family’s anti-gay history,” said Art Johnston, co-owner of Sidetrack, one of Chicago’s largest and most popular gay establishments. “Enriching the Coors family enriches the anti-gay movement in our country. We won’t underwrite our community’s enemies.”

The ad, signed by the bar owners and Chicago’s most notable gay rights activists, states: “Profits from the Coors companies flow substantially to members of the Coors family. Coors family members have a long and continuing history of funding right-wing, anti-gay causes with their profits.”

The signers acknowledge that it is the family’s right to use its profits as it wishes. “It is also our right not to purchase products whose profits are used against us.”

Organizers of the ad have also established the anti-Coors website:

From the late 1970s on, Coors faced numerous boycotts among gays, immigrant groups, and labor because of the company’s questionable labor practices and anti-gay policies.

The Coors Brewing Company substantially changed its policies in response to the boycott. In addition, the Coors Brewing Company has funded gay organizations. Nonetheless, profits from the company continue to go to Coors family members who heavily fund anti-gay initiatives.

“We are the first to admit that the Coors Brewing Company has initiated good policies and has changed substantially,” Johnston said. “Nonetheless, profits from the company are used by the Coors family to support some of the most anti-gay organizations and initiatives in this country. That is their right. And it is our right to turn our backs on products that enrich anti-gay activity.”

– Reprinted with permission from