Another contact from a Pittsburgh Cinemark Theater (Pittsburgh Mills). Note this one uses the term “sexual orientation” in lieu of yesterday's “sexual preference” usage by the corporate office. Do you think it is a local sensibility or just a lesson well learned?
They formally state that they include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policies. I asked to see a copy of that policy, especially since yesterday it included sexual preferences and asked for clarification on the change in language. I also asked them to identify any local or regional LGBTQ organizations which they have supported and reiterated the value of being proactive in this regard to offset the damage their company endures as a result of the CEO's donation in support of Prop 8.
Do they seriously think that changing one word in a sentence is going to appease me? Especially when that sentence is allegedly corporate policy? You just don't change policies overnight and you sure don't change them on a local level without corporate input. Any meaningful discussion with advisors from the LGBTQ community would have, hopefully, ensured that the policy include gender identity as well, so I'm assuming this was just an attempt to make me go away.
Are we going to go away? Yes, actually. I'm going to go to Squirrel Hill to see “Milk”. I'll go to the Southside Works to see other movies. I'm going to go online and continue encouraging you Cinemark Theaters to email and call them with requests that they take action to undo this regrettable damage by their CEO. If they want us as customers, they need to treat us with respect and dignity. If you don't have an option in your community, consider using Netflix which just partnered with Logo to offer DVD rentals of their programming. Rent movies from your library. Get some friends together to pool gas money and drive to the nearest town with a non-Cinemark theater to see “Milk”
We as a community have options. We aren't held hostage to every corporate entity in our community. The CEO of Cinemark sent us a clear message that he'll gladly take our hard-earned dollars and then turn around to spend them to keep us in second-class citizenship. Cinemark theaters across the country need to take individual action to offset this damage. If the theaters in Pittsburgh contributed $1,000 to the local LGBT Film Festival or the Gay & Lesbian Community Center, then theaters in 9 other metro communities followed suit … would that be okay to us? Would the lesson be learned?
As for the employees being harmed by a boycott, that's an age old argument. I'd ague the employees are harmed more by the lack of a union than anything we can inflict. I'd argue that employees can put some pressure on their bosses to acknowledge the damage being done and the viral nature of the bad reputation. I'd argue that by calling for the company to create a culture that respects all customers, the work environment will be stronger and healthier and more affirming for LGBTQ employees and their families. I'd argue that if you know someone who works for Cinemark and might lose some income because of this issue, take your ticket money and buy them a gift card for groceries. Put your money where your mouth is, but keep your mouth open calling attention to this shameful conduct on the part of Cinemark.
Cinemark corporate can at any time meet with leaders on the national level of the LGBT community to discuss a resolution. They can get the numbers and the names. Here in Pittsburgh, regional staff can email me for the local contacts. A solution can be found before “Milk” premieres that leaves everyone a winner.
But you can't just change one word in a sentence and expect us to believe that things are different in your corporate culture. If anything, that shows that nothing has changed at all.