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One gay community ignores Miller boycott.

One gay community ignores Miller boycott

The Milwaukee gay community is ignoring a boycott of Miller Brewing Co. products started by a San Francisco group intent on unseating U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms (R-NC).

The boycott, which has spread to Dallas, is an extension of a boycott against Marlboro cigarettes begun in April by the Washington, D.C., chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP.

The boycott was started last month in San Francisco by homosexuals and lesbians targeting Philip Morris Cos. Inc., Miller's parent company, for its political action committee's financial support of Helms.

Elizabeth Conlisk, public affairs manager for Miller Brewing Co., said company representatives are visiting cities where the beer boycott is being discussed.

"We are always concerned when one of our consumer groups says it will stop drinking our product," she said. "This situation is no different."

Philip Morris also manufactures Marlboro.

Helms, who has received thousands of dollars toward re-election campaigns from Philip Morris, has opposed federal AIDS funding and also authored an immigration law prohibiting people with AIDS from entering or traveling in the United States.

But Terry Boughner, executive editor of Wisconsin Light, a Milwaukee-based newspaper that targets gay and lesbian issues, said AIDS activists have chosen the wrong foil in their attempts to get rid of Helms.

"Miller has been an outstanding friend of the community," Boughner said, noting support for AIDS fund-raising activities and an anti-discrimination practice followed by the company. "We feel this is not the way to treat a friend."

Boughner said the newspaper would publish an editorial next week supporting Miller.

Boughner said he believes AIDS activists in San Francisco and Dallas are misguided if they believe a boycott against Miller would stop money from going to Helms.

"There isn't a dime that you could spend on Miller that would end up in the pocket of Jesse Helms," he said.

Conlisk, added that Miller Brewing Co. and Philip Morris have given $600,000 toward AIDS research during the past two and one-half years. The company recently agreed to give and additional $25,000 to the Milwaukee AIDS project, she said.

Michael Petrelis, a founder of the Washington ACT UP chapter, acknowledged Miller's support for gay causes, but said he believes a Miller boycott would help unseat Helms.
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Title Annotation:Milwaukee gays disagree with boycott against Miller Brewing Co. products
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jul 30, 1990
Previous Article:Philip Morris sees quarter increase.
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