When it comes to the City of Seattle doing business with entities that are perceived to be anti-LGBT rights, Mayor Ed Murray is a raging hypocrite and he’s running away from explaining his inconsistent positions.
Last week, Seattle Weekly highlighted local activists upset with Seattle’s partnership with AEG, the company not just behind saving Bumbershoot, but actively pursuing the KeyArena redevelopment for Mayor Ed Murray.
Why are activists upset? The 77-year-old owner of AEG, Philip Anschutz, donates considerable funds, through his foundation, to conservative organizations activists call anti-LGBT. Those groups include the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Family Research Council.
“This is very problematic,” Equal Rights Washington’s Monisha Harrell told the Weekly. “They always say that when you know better, you need to do better. Now that this information is coming into the light, this is one of those times that is true.… If the head of AEG has a record of supporting those who would do harm to our communities and our rights, we should certainly be looking for another partner for Bumbershoot.”
While I mostly disagree that we should punish companies that donate to causes that anger activist groups (regardless of their ideological position), Mayor Ed Murray does not.
Mayor Ed Murray and boycotts
In March of last year, Murray banned any official city travel to Indiana, upset with their religious freedom bill that Murray believed “legalized discrimination” arguing the law “should not be tolerated.” Days later, Mayor Murray banned city travel to North Carolina over a bill that he believed discriminated against transgender people’s access to restrooms.
What’s Murray’s take on AEG donating to causes that supported the laws he called discriminatory? He appears okay with it. His office is dodging questions on this. Murray’s spokesperson, Benton Strong, told me: “Not going to comment on this today.” I asked what day might he be commenting on this and he has not returned my email. The Weekly was similarly dismissed.
At the time, many noted, that it’s unlikely the city was committing any substantial dollars, if any, to travel to North Carolina or Indiana and it was an example of the Mayor posturing to his Progressive voter base. But when it comes to actual dollars on the line, in this case through KeyArena and the partnership with Bumbershoot, Mayor Murray pushes his purported values aside.
To be fair, I’m glad, in this instance, that he’s a giant hypocrite. We shouldn’t pull a partnership with AEG over this. It would most likely kill Bumbershoot, a forum that highlights LGBT and LGBT-friendly performers. Let’s not forget last year’s big headliner, Macklemore, who proudly performed “Same Love” and strongly criticized then-candidate Donald Trump. Company employees shouldn’t be punished for holding political views that are different from our own and AEG, as a company, is not anti-LGBT.
Nevertheless, this issue highlights Murray as opportunistic and hypocritical. It deserves to be called out.