F E A JURE
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Herrschaft said that CEI scores are based
on corporate policies and practices relating to
non-discrimination policies, health insurance
policies and domestic partner benefits, as
well as corporate actions such as supporting
anti-gay organizations or taking positions on
legislation that hurts the LGBT community.
The CEI scoring “is not the right infor
mation to be looking at,” he said, if one is
concerned primarily with the health of the
Lee said HRC should be taking into con
sideration the harm companies cause
through other actions outside of legislative
and philanthropic arenas. He cited Reynolds’
“Project SCUM,” or “Sub-Culture Urban
In his letter to HRC, Lee claimed that
Reynolds had “planned Project SCUM (that’s
Sub-Culture Urban Market) to target gay men
in the Castro District of San Francisco.”
In a written response to several questions
posed by Q-Notes, Seth Moskowitz, a commu
nications director with Reynolds American,
said that Project SCUM was never a finalized
or utilized marketing plan.
“It was a proposal in a document from one
[of] R.J. Reynolds’ sales offices for a marketing
program called. Sub Culture Urban Marketing,”
Moskowitz explained. “This inappropriate and
offensive document presented an idea for mar
keting cigarettes to adult smokers who chose
alternative lifestyles. The proposal was never
pursued or put into action.”
Moskowitz added, “In 2001, when R.J.
Reynolds became aware of this document,
the company saw that it used language that
was unacceptable, inappropriate, offensive
and insulting and the company publicly apol
ogized. The document did not reflect the
opinions, policies or practices of the compa
ny — in fact, it could not have been more
opposed to R.J. Reynolds’ operating philoso
phy and practices.
“This thoughtless document did not, and
does not, represent R.J. Reynolds’ view of, and
respect for, its customers and employees.
Rather, the company used the discovery of
that document as a catalyst for communicat
ing once again to its employees the manage
ment philosophies and practices by which the
company is to be run.”
While the Project SCUM plan was never
put into action, Lee nonetheless feels the
company has used advertising to draw in
new LGBT customers for Reynolds cigarette
brands. “The tobacco industry uses similar
strategies of making products more avail
able and more appealing today,” he said.
“Instead of calling us scum, the industry
talks about inclusion, diversity, and respon
sibility. Either way, the purpose of targeted
marketing is getting LGBT youth and adults
to start smoking.”
Moskowitz admitted that R.J. Reynolds
Tobacco, as any other company would, wants
LGBT consumers to choose their brands over
others. “If the ultimate question is this: does
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company want LGBT
adult tobacco consumers to use an R.J.
Reynolds brand instead of a competitor’s
brand — the answer is, yes. The company
would like to earn the business of all adults
who have made the choice to smoke ciga
rettes or use tobacco products.”
He said that “gay adult tobacco consumers,
like the rest of the adult tobacco consuming
population, have the same ability and right as
the rest of the population to evaluate and
make informed decisions about whether or
not they want to use tobacco or any other con
Although the company hasn’t run any
print advertising in more than a year,
Moskowitz said that the company had, in the
past, run cigarette advertising in publications
like The Advocate and Instinct. “It would not
be appropriate to exclude gay audiences or
media from R.J. Reynolds’ brand communica
tions,” he said.
R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company and its
corporate parent, Reynolds American, adhere
to equal opportunity policies in employment
and hiring — policies that include sexual ori
entation and gender-identity.
Moskowitz said the company strives “to
ensure that LGBT employees are treated the
same as other employees.” In 2002, R.J.
Reynolds included LGBT employees and their
partners in medical, dental and vision benefits
under a domestic partner plan.
Lee is adamant in his opposition to giving
undue praise to tobacco companies. “We have
to stop the addition to the tobacco industry’s
flattery and mone)^’ he said. “All the tobacco
industry’s marketing and promotion (includ
ing its inclusive policies) do is help sell ciga
rettes. Tobacco company‘social responsibihty’
to the LGBT community means a higher body
count in Winston-Salem and beyond. It does
not mean more rights and less discrimination.
“Smoking in LGBT communities is a social
justice issue,” he added.“Tobacco is the only
legal product that when used correctly leads to
disability and death. Our communities smoke
considerably more than straight folks, and we
thus suffer from earher death and more disabil
ity due to tobacco-related diseases. As a com
munity, we have not faced so many obstacles
only to lose our lives early Ifom smoking.” I
— Are you a smoker? Want to quit?
Get help by calling QuitlineNC at
and visit www.becomeanex.org.
Both are free resources.
Find more LGBT-specific information at
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16 MARCH 21 .2009 • Quotes