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Some Local Bars Join Russian Vodka Boycott Movement Over Anti-Gay Law

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

david_highfield David Highfield
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Some local bars and restaurants are boycotting Russian Vodka.

It is part of a growing ban across the world after Russia passed a new anti-gay law. The law makes it so gay people holding hands or wearing rainbow pins could be fined, or even go to jail.

In New York and Los Angeles, Russian vodka was symbolically dumped in the streets.

Some gay bars are boycotting it, but it’s not just gay bars. Both Shiloh Grill on Mount Washington and Harris Grill in Shadyside are no longer serving vodka from Russia.

“People need to get a little bit better in tune with human rights,” said owner Rodney Swartz. “I can’t go over there and hold picket signs or anything, but if I can do a little bit of it from our participation out of a couple of restaurants here in Pittsburgh, that’s what I’m trying to do.”

At Cruze bar in the Strip District, they had already stopped serving Russian vodka.

“I actually pulled Russian vodka a few years ago when I saw the Russian government go toward anti-LGBT policies,” said Gary Van Horn.

He’s the owner and also the president of the Delta Foundation, an LGBT rights advocacy group.

However, he says there’s a wrinkle to the boycott, because one of the most prominent brands is technically based in Luxemburg.

“Stoli has been a long-time supporter of the LGBT community, so it’s kind of an interesting situation to be in,” he said.

As a result, at places like Spin in Shadyside, Stoli vodka has been pulled until the owners get more facts.

The Winter Olympics are scheduled to be in Russia. Both a Russian politician and the Russian sports minister say gay athletes or visitors could be arrested or deported.

But the International Olympic Committee says the Olympics are open to everyone.

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