Seattle Pride drops Amazon sponsorship, cites company’s donations to politicians that support ‘anti-LGBTQIA+’ legislation

Mar 23, 22
Seattle Pride drops Amazon sponsorship, cites company’s donations to politicians that support ‘anti-LGBTQIA+’ legislation

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Seattle Pride is initiating a process to evaluate its corporate sponsors and will not partner with Amazon for its 2022 pride parade. (Seattle Pride Photo)

Seattle Pride is cutting ties with Amazon as a presenting sponsor of its 2022 celebration in June.

In a statement Tuesday, Seattle Pride faulted Amazon’s “financial donations to politicians who actively propose and support anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation, oppose pro-LGBTQIA+ and other human rights legislation.”

The group cited Amazon’s donations to lawmakers that voted against the Equality Act, in addition to contributions to nearly 200 elected Congressional delegates who received an “F Grade” from the Human Rights Campaign. It also called out Amazon donations this year to Washington state legislative sponsors of “anti-LGBTQIA+ bills.”

“We simply cannot partner with any organization actively harming our community through the support of discriminatory laws and politics,” Seattle Pride said in its statement.

The group also criticized the AmazonSmile program, which enables customers to donate to various charities, some of which Seattle Pride flags as anti-LGBTQIA. AmazonSmile has previously been criticized for featuring such groups.

Seattle Pride is known for an annual pride parade that has been in existence almost 50 years and now has dozens of corporate supporters, including presenting sponsors Alaska Airlines and T-Mobile.

Amazon’s sponsorship of the parade from 2009 through 2019 totaled about $42,000. But this year the company offered a $100,0000 sponsorship, according to Seattle Pride executive director Krystal Marx. Amazon also asked for prominent placement of its logo at the 2022 parade and in promotional materials, and for an Amazon-affiliated individual to say “a few words” from the announcer stage, Marx told GeekWire.

“While many of our other corporate partners stuck with us during the pandemic and sponsored our virtual Pride events and other year-round activities, Amazon did not,” said Marx. “I can’t pretend to know their thinking, but it comes across as wanting to make a big splash now that we’re back in person.”

The Amazon spheres lit up in pride colors at the company’s headquarters campus in Seattle in 2018. (Amazon File Photo)

“Amazon engages with policymakers and regulators on a wide range of issues that affect our business, customers, and employees,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to GeekWire. “That does not mean we agree with any individual or political organization 100 percent of the time on every issue, and this includes legislation that discriminates or encourages discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.”

The spokesperson added: “Amazon has long supported Seattle Pride because we believe that the rights of LGBTQ+ people must be protected. We stand together with the LGBTQ+ community, were early and strong supporters of marriage equality, and are working at the U.S. federal and state level on legislation, including supporting passage of the Equality Act.”

The statement echoes Amazon’s stance on LGBTQ+ rights as part of its “Our Positions” page.

Amazon is rated highly by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation as one of the “best places to work for LGBTQ+ equality.” Its “glamazon” affinity group of employees is involved in activities around Pride month and year-round.

Last year two employees resigned to protest the company selling a book that characterizes adolescent girls identifying as transgender as part a “cultural enthusiasm.”

Seattle Pride said it is evaluating corporate sponsors to “ensure they are of the highest caliber and actively support – and do not harm – our community.” It cited more companies that support the parade as “a token gesture – often referred to as ‘rainbow washing.'”

Editor’s note: This story was updated to include information about Amazon’s 2022 offer of parade sponsorship.

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