Watch: Amazon Wanted to Name Seattle's Pride Parade after Itself. That was a Hard No.

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday March 25, 2022

Seattle Pride took a pass on Amazon's bid to name this year's Pride celebration in the city after itself — and "cut ties'' with the online shopping giant — citing, among other factors, Amazon's donations to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians, NBC News reported.

The e-commerce giant had offered $100,000 for the Seattle Pride Parade to be renamed "Seattle Pride Parade Presented by Amazon." But the timing didn't feel right, Seattle Pride head Krystal Marx told NBC, noting that this will be the first in-person Pride celebration in the city since 2019, with events in 2020 and 2021 impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saying "Pride isn't for sale any time of year," Marx told NBC, "When someone has their name attached to the title of a full event that we haven't had for two years, it makes me, as a queer individual, think this parade is going to be entirely about Amazon and celebrating their contribution."

Something else that didn't feel right: Amazon's habit of giving money to anti-LGBTQ+ politicians.

Saying in a "Corporate Sponsorship Statement" that "Pride is earned, not bought," Seattle Pride said that it is "reviewing our corporate partnerships to ensure our partners' words and actions align with our organization's values.

"It is critical they actively support — and do not harm — our community not only on parade day, but throughout the year," the statement said.

"The group cited a report using data from the government transparency nonprofit group OpenSecrets that found the company donated more than $450,000 last year to lawmakers who opposed the Equality Act," NBC News noted.

Amazon's giving wasn't limited to anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers at the federal level; the Seattle-based company also "reportedly donated more than $11,000 to lawmakers in Washington state since 2020 who have pursued anti-LGBTQ legislation in the 2022 legislative session," NBC News noted, with Seattle Pride "citing data from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission."

The Amazon money train has also benefited anti-LGBTQ+ groups in the form of "AmazonSmile — an Amazon company program that allows shoppers to select a nonprofit group to receive 0.5 percent of the proceeds from eligible purchases," the report detailed, saying that the program "has enabled more than 40 anti-LGBTQ groups to raise funds."

Amazon addressed the issue, with a spokesperson telling NBC News that the company "engages with policymakers and regulators on a wide range of issues that affect our business, customers, and employees."

"That does not mean we agree with any individual or political organization 100 percent of the time on every issue, and this includes legislation that discriminates or encourages discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community," the spokesperson added.

Amazon pointed to its past support of the Equality Act, NBC News noted, with the e-tailer having been "one of the more than 500 companies that have signed on to a statement urging Congress to pass the Equality Act, organized by the advocacy group Human Rights Campaign."

The news comes in the wake of the Walt Disney Company electing to "pause" its political giving in the state of Florida after being criticized for its donations to the state lawmakers behind the "Don't Say Gay" bill that was recently sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Watch the NBC News clip by following this link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.