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April 21, 2005

Microsoft Screws Gays, Caves to Religious Extremists

The Stranger's Sandeep Kaushik breaks a story that is already exploding in Microsoft's face:

...last month the $37-billion Redmond-based software behemoth quietly withdrew its support for House Bill 1515, the anti-gay-discrimination bill currently under consideration by the Washington State legislature, after being pressured by the Evangelical Christian pastor of a suburban megachurch.

What's shocking here is that Microsoft, which has a fantastic record on supporting civil rights for its gay and lesbian employees, appears to have caved to empty threats from a loudmouthed bigot.  Major screwup.

It's already starting to get play on national blogs, including Slashdot and AMERICAblog, where John Aravoisis has some suggestions for action:

1. Call Microsoft's director of Government Relations, Jack Krumholtz, at tel. 202-263-5900 and tell him:

- You know about Microsoft secretly pulling its support for the Washington state gay rights bill, and you're not happy about Microsoft kissing up to anti-gay bigots.

- You demand that Microsoft IMMEDIATELY and PUBLICLY endorse the gay rights bill in Washington state, and demand that Microsoft publicly repudiate its new policy of backing-off of support for the civil rights of gays and lesbians and other Americans.

- Tell him that if the Washington state gay rights bill dies on Friday, Microsoft's reputation goes down with it.

2. Contact these other contacts for Microsoft and its public relations reps and tell them the same thing:

- Jim Desler,
Microsoft US

- Dirk Delmartino,
Microsoft Europe
+32 (0)2 550 06 21

- The firm handling public policy for Microsoft in DC:
The Glover Park Group
Washington, DC

- The firm handling Microsoft's "rapid response" to questions:
Waggener Edstrom Rapid Response Team

- Media Relations for Microsoft
Global Communications & Television
(212) 339-9920
- Microsoft Investor Relations
Curt Anderson
(425) 706-3703

- Walt McGraw, Edelman, (206) 223-1606, walt.mcgraw@edelman.com

- Shon Damron, Edelman, (323) 857-9100, shon.damron@edelman.com

Carlos de Leon,tel. 425-703-3824, or carlosde@microsoft.com

Katie Goldberg, tel. 206-268-2244, or katie.goldberg@edelman.com

2. Demand that Microsoft return the award it received from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. We don't give corporate bigots awards, and we don't expect them to keep such awards under false pretenses. If Microsoft has now rethunk its position on defending civil rights, then give back the damn award:


Posted by Jon Stahl on April 21, 2005 at 03:55 PM in The Politics of Business | Permalink


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