Gay marriage proponents boycotting El Coyote Cafe

Pic by Amy Lemur used under Creative Commons
Pic by Amy Lemur used under Creative Commons

Some gay marriage supporters are calling for a boycott of El Coyote Cafe after learning that manager, and reportedly partial owner Marjorie Christoffersen donated $100 to Proposition 8 group ProtectMarriage.com.

Flickr user Jeff Johnson writes that he talked with Marjorie at El Coyote this evening and asked her about the situation. She told him, “I love you guys, I would never do anything to hurt you, I wish I hadn’t done it”.

According to Jeff, Marjorie is having an open breakfast at 11:00 AM on Wed, Nov 12 to speak to the community.

My friend James, who tipped me off to this, added:

The only thing that will get them out of this is a huge public apology and a shitload of money for Repeal Prop. 8.

I guess the message is: Don’t fuck with the gays. They’ll trash your hair, your clothes, your interiors…and then they’ll close down your restaurant!

My question is this: is it worth boycotting what has been known as a gay friendly restaurant over a donation made and view held by one person, affecting the paychecks of dozens of other employees? Is this an effective way to rally people to your side?

Fightin’ Mad Mary, and Micah at Shut up! I know!, have joined the boycott, and Eater LA has chimed in on the issue.

39 Replies to “Gay marriage proponents boycotting El Coyote Cafe”

  1. “is it worth boycotting what has been known as a gay friendly restaurant over a donation made and view held by one person?”

    Yes it is. It was the owner, not an employee. Is it OK to make money off of the community but then when it comes to their civil rights it’s OK to stab them in the back? No way.

  2. One of the things which seemed lacking in the NO8 campaign was direct education in the communities most likely to vote “yes” – NO8 commercials were running at least once or twice during the Daily Show for weeks prior to the vote – somehow I think that was preaching to the converted. When the other side is presenting it as a religious issue and is stumping from the pulpit, commercials will not do much to present the issue in a truthful way. Most of the arguments I’ve heard from people who voted yes – absurd as they may be – were very basic. Prop8 was presented as a referendum on the morality of homosexuality, which it wasn’t… and probably the most absurd, yet sincere worry I heard was that if “gay marriage” was legal then gay people would sue to get married in churches that want to do it… When one is fighting against ingrained moral perceptions, those perceptions must be changed through education – the other option is to wait till the old folks who still have these misguided issues and can’t keep religion and law separate simply die off… It’ll happen sooner than later. I tend to think that education is key… Hopefully the CA Supreme Court will kill Prop8, bit it’ll rear it’s ugly head again.

  3. Is this an effective way to rally people to your side?

    Unless the employees supported the boycott, my answer would be no.

  4. Boycotting the dirty businesses that support oppressive, divisive and prejudice causes is the best way to protest. In the end of the day in America the people with cash don’t care about your opinion, they don’t want to be fair, because they don’t think the average person counts. They think the average person is very amusing. The only language that people understand is, “we’re going to f*** with your money.” Whether that be messing up your stuff or simply not purchasing your stuff.

    I think it’s odd that the only time people want to talk is when people:

    1. Burn things.
    2. Boycott things.

    Before either of those two things happens business feels free to do whatever they want. In US history and really any history no one in power ever wants to talk to you regardless of how open or tolerant or willing you are to talk to them unless things begin happening to their stuff. And that’s sad. It’s sad it has to get to that point before they sit down at the table with people.

    So she wants to talk now, well she should have talked to people before she gave money.

    It looks like she also gave money to Bush in 2004 and we know what kind of policies he put into place, so obvious to me this is a pattern of aggressive behavior against the community.

    Now if I gave money to No on 8, the Green Party…and some right wing type people wanted to boycott me, then oh well. I think she only cares and wants to talk because people found out. If she wants to talk, I hope the people who are No on 8 remember to ask her questions on other issues too, like the rights of undocumented immigrants and her feelings on health care, we need to tie everything together because it is all interrelated, because if she’s changed for real, she should have changed on those topics too.

    There are plenty of businesses that want to support people and not JUST exploit them for profit and those are the establishments we should be helping to survive. The economy is bad, why should we help people by giving our hard money to people who want to destroy our society.

    Browne

  5. I’m curious how many El Coyote boycotters might instead be ordering up a Domino’s pizza, whose founder has done little to hide his ongoing financial support of anti-abortion rights groups.

    If you’re gonna boycott one company because of the views of its owner, you better check out every place you patronize and boycott ’em all. Or just fry up some dirt and dig in.

  6. William,

    BusTard and I regularly let people know about Dominoes. We actually lost a friendship with our only other couple friends who refused to stop ordering from Dominoes.

    It’s all connected.

    Browne

  7. A friend of mine was in Zono Sushi in Glendale last week, and there was apparently a stack of “Yes on 8” pamphlets by the front door.

    Despite the fact that, presumably, anyone could have left them there, I’m never setting foot in there again.

  8. Also, Terry Caster, who owns A-1 Self Storage, gave hundreds of thousands to Prop 8. If any business should be boycotted, it should be that one.

  9. Just to make sure we have our semantics correct: a boycott is generally considered a one-time affair designed to correct an outstanding single wrong. When extended over a long period of time, or as part of an overall program of awareness-raising or an expression of antipathy, the correct terminology is either moral purchasing or ethical consumerism and, as my friend Will Campbell suggested, should not be applied selectively but, rather, across the board.

  10. Will, ya gotta pick your battles, you can’t fight them all on the same day.

    Would our new President Elect be heading back to a restaurant where the owner decided to vote that African Americans count as 1/2 of a person? How can anyone enjoy a meal w/ friends knowing that the person across the counter thinks of you as less valuable/important or deserving of equal rights than themselves.

    Vote-Protest w/ your $$$$, hit em where it hurts!

  11. What if you discovered that your employer was a backer of Prop 8? Would you quit your job in protest? What if a bunch of ethical consumers stopped buying your employer’s product or services and you found yourself unemployed?

  12. Yeah Rodger, I would. I left a job when I graduated from college making 50,000 dollars a year to take a job making ten dollars an hour owing to the politics of my employer, so yeah some people would take it that far. If I was working for an employer who was prejudice and people stopped buying that product owing to that then oh well, the universe works itself out.

    People should look just as closely at their employers ethics as they would for a neighborhood they would choose to live or a school they would send their child to. Your job is where you spend a large part of your life (unfortuantely) and the ethics of your employer are important.

    I hope people do look at this and do actually start doing that and asking people questions. If you have a choice of course, some people don’t have a choice, but if you live simply and choose not to be a consumer addict you can choose who you work for.

  13. Ethical consumerism is what we should all be practicing. All of this is very reactionary, which is not bad you do what you can do. Sometimes you don’t realize things in our society are wrong, especially if you’ve been in a middle class existence mindlessly spending your money on crap, not critically looking at the media, assuming all of these things are in your best interest.

    It takes times such as these to shake people into action.

    Being proactive (ethical consumerism) is better and if you can get it done on a large scale it can be very effective.

  14. Markland, in 2004 I wrote a series of Op-Eds for Strike the Root, a political journal hosting the Libertarian and Anarchist perspective on current events. Guess what? I do not label myself as either Libertarian or Anarchist but, rather, centrist.

  15. Being proactive (ethical consumerism) is better and if you can get it done on a large scale it can be very effective.

    Yes, I believe I made that point two hours ago, Browne.

  16. Hey Rodger, I was just agreeing with you I wasn’t trying to win a contest of who could post an idea that lots of people have been talking about for a long time in other arenas, but if you want to be a jerk about go right ahead.

    What was that Rodger, you think I’m trying to steal your commenting thunder?

    Just so everyone knows Rodger said it first. He came up with the idea of ethical consumerism so make sure to mention him and quote him and tell him how he’s god.

    Is that better?
    Browne

  17. A tad reactionary there, Browne, especially considering that you were the one who first brought up the word “boycott” in this discussion.

  18. Rodger if I hurt your feelings because I didn’t acknowledge your brilliance. I apology. You are a brilliant god, I wish I could be as smart and forward thinking as you.

    I thought the title of the post was something about Boycotting the El Coyote, but you know I can’t read and you are smarter than me.

    I get that my post started off talking about boycotting and ended up going into ethical consumerism, but this is a freakin’ blog dude. This isn’t a college paper or a story for some journal so if me mixing those two terms hurt your feelings, well you just should probably get over that. I mean you don’t have to, you can continue to “fight” about something that I actually agreed with you on (I mean isn’t that the point, you convey an idea and a person accepts it) but hey if you need to fight on the internet, because of something missing in your home life who am I to deny you that pleasure.

    Browne

  19. You went way too far there, Browne. I never once employed sarcasm or…

    because of something missing in your home life

    … personal insults in my comments to you. If that’s all you have left in your arsenal, I think we’re done here, pal.

  20. Rodger you get nasty with people for no reason don’t get surprised at people get nasty right back. I agreed with you, used your post to discuss other things and for some reason you get all aggro with me.

    I think this can go back to Prop 8, you get nasty with people they get nasty right back. This was a good little demonstration of that. Centrist people think their polite and fair way of being nasty (voting for messed up laws, denying immigrants their rights) because it doesn’t involve breaking the law or because it’s within the rules of some unfair game that their nastiness is polite and above board while the rest of us are suppose to be happy with it because of some arbitrary rules you created.

    No more.

    No on Prop 8. No on sexism. No on racism. No on homophobia. No on legalized slavery.

    Browne

  21. I gotta agree with Browne (on the substance, pre-fight with Rodger) and Bert. Will, all due respect, but I think you raise a bit of a straw man. Boycotting one business is not mutually exclusive with boycotting others. If someone wants to come up with a list of other businesses that spend the money they earn from us on causes with which we disagree, I’m all for it, but that doesn’t preclude starting with the first identified one first. Hell, I still do not buy Exxon (now Exxon Mobil) gasoline because of their disgusting failure to take responsibility for, and their continued legal foot dragging against paying to clean up, their horrendous Valdez oil spill in Alaska a couple of decades ago.

  22. Matt, I’ll go ya one boycott better than Exxon, and this one goes back to the Cold War. To this day I refuse to by Toshiba products since it became known that they sold special equipment to the Russians that enabled the precision milling of submarine propellers to a degree that it made them much harder for the US to detect.

    But my point wasn’t really about a boycott-it-all-or-boycott-nothing proposition. I just see hypocrisy in those bandwagoning against such an easy and tiny target in a world where one can probably find a reason to boycott everything.

    But if people wanna point and scowl and boo at El Coyote because the manager obliged her church’s request to give them money? Then they should take their righteousness and go get their margaritas at Barrigans for the next week or eternity, or at least until it comes out that the manager of that place whose brother is a chicken farmer out in Norco kicked in a $50 to an anti-2 group. The bastard.

  23. you get nasty with people they get nasty right back.

    Yeah, that’s an effective strategy. How’s that workin’ for ya?

    Centrist people think their polite and fair way of being nasty (voting for messed up laws, denying immigrants their rights

    You’re assuming a lot there, coming off my admission of being centrist. First of all, I didn’t vote for Prop 8. Hell, I’m not in California any longer. But if I was I would’ve voted it down. Why? Because Utah is a state sanctioned theocracy that has no business creeping outside it’s already disturbing borderlines. And that’s the real issue here. Seeking punitive measures against businesses that contributed to the ballot initiative is … well, punitive. How do you know so much to presume what they were thinking in their support? In your world all supporters of Prop 8 are bigots. “A Vote For 8 is a Vote For Hate?” right? You have a short memory, friend. It wasn’t so long ago that the RNC was trying to link Barack Obama to Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s ideals just because he attended the church that the esteemed Wright preached at. So, tell me, Browne, how does it feel applying the shoe to the other foot? Or did you vote the Republican ticket?

  24. El Coyote has been like a home away from Home for me for the past 25 years. In fact, when it was announced that gays could marry in CA, my now wife and I agreed the best way to celebrate would be to have our reception at El Coyote, which we did.
    Everyone at El Coyote did everything they could to make the night special for us, they helped our friends decorate the back room, the sang for us, everyone working that night came back to congratulate us, and anyone not working has made a point of congratulating us on subsequent visits, even Marjie. In addition, we received a gift certificate from Billy and everyone at El Coyote as a wedding gift for the same amount that was donated to Yes on 8.
    While I don’t agree with the owner’s political or religious views, I know that by boycotting the restaurant we will be hurting all of the wonderful people that work at El Coyote. The same people that made my gay wedding such a memorable occasion, the same people that, on election day, many of the people working that night came up to us to tell us they voted NO on 8.

    I can’t imagine hurting those people that have shown such care and friendship to my wife and I.

  25. @ biscuitwheels

    That’s so nice. I’d like to have them help me celebrate my special day with my bride to be.

    Oh wait, I can’t. I can’t legally marry her.

    Oh well.

  26. @ biscuitwheels (again)

    Sorry for the snark, I didn’t notice you until the end that you said it was a “gay” wedding.

    My bad. Still bitter, still bleeding, still feeling like less than a human in the government’s eyes- and I took it out on your comment.

    I’m sorry.

  27. the simplest way to clean this up without damaging the employee’s and El Coyote is for Marjorie Chrisofferson to sell her ownership position out to her other partners and then for El Coyote to verify that this woman or any of her holding companies are no longer affiliated with El Coyote. If I was a limited partner is this right now I would be demanding a board meeting to get her ass out and buy her position out and save my investment before its toast. If she really cares about El Coyote and its employees and her fellow investors she should sell out. That is what people who are upset and that would include her fellow investors should be demanding.

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