Across the street from the Russian Consulate in Manhattan on Wednesday (31 July), the owner of two gay bars and some of his bartenders poured bottles of Stolichnaya Vodka into the gutter as a crowd of more than 100 people watched.
It was their way of calling attention to the anti-gay laws enacted in Russia which will host the Winter Olympics in Sochi early next year.
'We know that we cannot cripple the Russian government. We can bring attention to the issue, and it’s working. It’s just one piece of the puzzle,' Bob Fluet, one of the owners of Boxers NYC in Chelsea and Boxers HK in Hells Kitchen tells Gay City News.
Fluet had his bars take the Russian vodkas off their shelves last week.
The protest was organized by RUSA LGBT (Russian-Speaking American LGBTQ& Association) and Queer Nation.
'It’s not illegal to be gay in Russia,' Queer Nation activist Ann Northrop said at the protest. 'They did away with that years ago. It’s now illegal to be open about being gay.'
A similar demonstration in planned in West Hollywood, California, on Thursday (1 August) in front of the popular nightclub Micky's.
'While we can’t be on the streets of Russia protesting the recent anti-LGBT legislation, we can show support by not selling Russian brands in turn bringing national attention to these terrible crimes,' said Micky's owner Michael Niemeyer.
They will ceremoniously pour Russian vodkas, including Stoli and Russian Standard, down the curbside drains. But the bottles will actually contain water due to environmental regulations.