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Olly Alexander calls out brands ‘redoing their logo in rainbow’ for Pride

Reiss Smith June 21, 2019
Olly Alexander kneeling on stage and a rainbow Listerine bottle

Olly Alexander has called out brands using the rainbow logo for Pride. (Getty/Listerine)

Olly Alexander has shamed brands capitalising on Pride month without making any meaningful contribution to LGBT+ groups.

The Years & Years frontman shared a screenshot of an email on Instagram, wherein an unnamed brand representative asked whether he “might be able to do a post” to promote an “amazing Pride collection.”

“My manager has been getting requests like this every day,” Alexander wrote on Friday (June 21).

Noting that the email shared “no details on what this ‘amazing pride collection’ is or what this big famous brand with lots of money plan to do with any proceeds,” he continued: “The bare minimum approach here makes me laugh.

“No matter where you stand on corporate brand-pride tie-ins, it’s hard not to feel this year’s 2019 Pride collection of mouthwash, t-shirts, socks… banks and sandwiches has felt especially icky.

“Representation matters, of course, and corporate Pride / rainbow capitalism might be hideous but at least queer people are getting paid.

“Re-doing your logo in a rainbow and ‘donating a portion of proceeds’ is not enough.”

 

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my manager has been getting requests like this every day, I’m guessing it was emailed out to a bunch of people, no details on what this amazing pride collection is or what this big famous brand with lots of money plan to do with any ‘proceeds’. I just…. the bare minimum approach here makes me laugh. No matter where you stand on corporate brand-pride tie ins it’s hard not to feel this years 2019 pride collection of mouthwash, t-shirts (socks shoes jumpers glasses hats ) banks and sandwiches has felt especially icky. representation matters, of course, and corporate pride / rainbow capitalism might be hideous but at least queer people are getting paid…and….I know there are well intentioned people behind many of these campaigns but….just no. Re-doing your logo in a rainbow and ‘dOnAtInG a PoRTiOn Of pRoCeEds’ is not enough!!!!(possibly not even happening with this brand!??)) I wish brands would realize how embarrassing this kind of shit is ‍♀️

A post shared by olly (@ollyyears) on

Alexander’s post has garnered more than 13,000 likes, with both Sam Smith and Christine and the Queens replying: “Amen.”

His words echo those of many others in the LGBT+ community who are sceptical of brands and organisations flying the rainbow flag on Pride month.

Brands cash in on Pride

Listerine raised eyebrows in May when it released a rainbow-coloured bottle of mouthwash.

One Twitter user wrote: “I’m so f*****g tired of companies just chucking a rainbow on their s***e to sell to us as if it means something.”

Another joked: “We as gay people, we get to choose how we freshen our breath.”

“The bare minimum approach here makes me laugh.”

—Olly Alexander

Marks and Spencer made an early Pride contribution at the start of May with its LGBT sandwich.

Rather than lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, Marks and Spencer’s LGBT stood for lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato.

The supermarket chain chose not to donate any proceeds directly to LGBT+ groups, but instead donated £10,000 to the Albert Kennedy Trust, the charity for young homeless LGBT+ people.

Trump and the Home Office adopt the rainbow

Donald Trump provided perhaps the strangest addition to the rainbow capitalist offering with his “LGBTQ for Trump” T-shirt.

The US President is selling the souvenir for $24, despite his ignoring Pride month repeatedly. Since taking office, his administration has attacked LGBT+ rights more than 100 times, according to GLAAD.

Capitalism aside, the Home Office has been criticised for its decision to deport a gay man named Ken Machari, to Kenya, where gay sex is illegal, all while using the rainbow in its social media logo.

The NSPCC was also attacked for its decision to cut ties with transgender activist Munroe Bergdorf in the face of an anti-trans hate campaign, again while flying the rainbow flag within its logo.

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