Looking for the best place to get a drink at next week's San Diego Comic-Con? Apparently, it's not the Hyatt - formerly one of the most popular watering holes for SDCC attendees - which is currently embroiled in a controversy over its (former) owner's political views. As comic professionals call for a boycott of the hotel during the con, one publisher dares to detourn. Details under the jump.
Retailer Chris Butcher was the first to point out the following to the comic industry's attention:
Organizers held a news conference in front of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, near Seaport Village, on Thursday. A coalition of LGBT community leaders and the labor movement spoke out against Doug Manchester, who contributed a donation in support of Proposition 8, which would allow only men and women to marry in the state of California. The group opposes the ballot measure because it threatens the recent state Supreme Court decision that allows marriage between men and women.
In a previous interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Manchester said that he decided to donate to Proposition 8 because he had heard that schools that teach that marriage is between a man and a woman could be sued for discrimination against homosexuals. He also told the Union-Tribune that he was motivated by his strong Catholic faith to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
Butcher's response was short and simple:
I know it's unlikely that anyone is canceling a hotel reservation for Comic Con at this late date, but if you wanted to take the time to tell the owner what an asshole he is on those handy comment cards they provide you, or perhaps in other more creative ways, well, I would support your decision.
For my part, the Hyatt can go fuck itself. I'll be drinking elsewhere. I'd invite you to do the same.
This led to others discussing the idea of a party boycott of the popular hotel; many were in favor, although writer Brian Wood pointed out that such a boycott may hurt servers hoping for big tips, leading indie publisher Boom! to come up with an alternative protest:
As the sage Brian Wood stated, boycotting only hurts the wait staff… so given that the owner has decided to be a homophobic bigot the BOOM! DRINK UP is now the BOOM! DRINK UP/GAY PRIDE PARTY!
Everybody, come, wave your freak flag high, tip the waiters and we will be taking shots of the party and sending the pictures directly to the proprietor to let him know exactly who his customers are and how much money he looks to lose in the future.
(The Boom! party is happening on Thursday from 9pm, if you want to attend and support them.)
For his part, Chris Butcher isn't convinced:
There are probably 20,000 service industry workers in San Diego that all appreciate your tip-dollars more-or-less equally.
There are two or three properties in San Diego where your drinking money goes into the pockets of a homophobe who is working against human rights, and using the money he is given from those properties to do so.
It's a simple decision to make, but it is a decision. Anything else is honestly just rationalizing. I'm not going to be holding a placard outside your hotel room or anything, but there are probably 200 establishments for drinking and congregating within 15 minutes walk of the convention centre. Drinking at any of those probably won't fund jackholes, and drinking or eating (or, unfortunately, staying) at The Hyatt will.
This time next week, we'll see whether anyone's morals survived the promise of being able to get a drink right next to the convention center.