Lambda Legal Announces Protests at WNBA Games Against Major Sponsor Foot Locker for Firing a Gay Employee; New York Protest Set for Game Thursday Night
(New York, September 14, 2004) – Lambda Legal said today that it will protest against Foot Locker outside WNBA games in several cities – including a game in New York on Thursday night – because the company discriminated against a gay employee. Foot Locker is strengthening its ties with the women’s basketball league.
Lambda Legal, joined by other lesbian and gay New Yorkers, will distribute leaflets about Foot Locker’s discrimination and talk to passers-by and people attending a WNBA game at 6:45 p.m. outside Radio City Music Hall on September 16. (The Liberty, New York’s WNBA team, is playing at Radio City Music Hall because Madison Square Garden has been occupied for the Republican National Convention.)
Protestors outside Radio City Music Hall will distribute information on Foot Locker’s antigay discrimination, along with post-cards for people to send to the company’s CEO, Mathew Serra, urging Foot Locker to treat all of its employees equally. Similar protests are set for Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle this week, on the heels of the announcement of a multi-year partnership between Foot Locker and the WNBA. Foot Locker protests are part of “Blow the Whistle on Workplace Discrimination,” a broad nationwide campaign against anti-gay discrimination (including at Foot Locker) that Lambda Legal launched when it recently filed a lawsuit against the company in South Carolina for firing a gay employee.
“This week, we’re ‘Blowing the Whistle’ on Foot Locker outside WNBA games to make it absolutely clear that antigay discrimination won’t be tolerated,” said Michael Adams, Lambda Legal’s Director of Education and Public Affairs, who will be at Thursday night’s protest. “We’re holding Foot Locker accountable for its deplorable actions. Bigotry isn’t just wrong. It’s also bad business.”
Kevin Dunbar, 26, suffered antigay harassment and discrimination at the hands of his co-workers, supervisors and a customer. Foot Locker promises a harassment-free workplace and includes sexual orientation in its policies on discrimination and harassment, but when Dunbar formally complained, the discrimination grew worse. Dunbar was transferred from one store location to another and eventually fired.