Why would someone contribute $693,000 to take away the rights of an entire minority group in California? Terry Caster and his family did just that. Caster, his 8 children and many of their spouses gave a total of $293,000 to help qualify Proposition 8 for the ballot earlier this year. Then when the plea went out for more money from the Yes on 8 campaign in late October, Caster opened up his checkbook and gave an additional $400,000 to take away same-sex marriage in California. That's $693,000 to Yes on 8! Terry Caster was the 2nd largest contributor in California to the Yes on 8 campaign.
Caster told the San Diego Union-Tribune in May that marriage equality threatens society. "Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society," he said.
Terry Caster owns San Diego-based A-1 Self Storage Company which has 30 locations throughout California.
Today Californians Against Hate officially kicks off its Boycott of A-1 Self Storage Company because of Terry Caster's enormous contribution to the Yes on 8 campaign. We are launching a new boycott website and believe that the gay community and our millions of friends will support this Boycott of A-1 Self Storage.
If you are a current customer of A-1, we hope that you will move your belongings to another company. There are hundred of other self storage business to choose from. Those who are looking to rent a new storage unit, we encourage you to go to any one the many other options available.
This will be the third boycott called by Californians Against Hate over the last four months, and we are determined to make this our most successful.
Of the other two boycotts, one is ongoing and the other was settled. On July 18, 2008 Californians Against Hate announced its first boycott at the March on Manchester, a demonstration and rally in San Diego against Doug Manchester. Manchester owns two hotels in San Diego, The Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel and the Grand del Mar Resort. Manchester gave $125,000 to the Yes on 8 campaign. Many groups and individuals have honored this boycott, and it has received a tremendous amount of media coverage.
On September 19th our "Don't Buy Bolthouse" campaign was kicked-off at a demonstration in front of Ralph's Supermarket in Hollywood. At that time, we asked consumers not to buy products produced by Bakersfield, CA based Bolthouse Farms. William Bolthouse, Jr. the company's former CEO had made a personal contribution of $100,000 to Yes on 8. On October 9th "Don't Buy Bolthouse" was ended after 3 weeks when an agreement was reached with new Bolthouse CEO, Jeff Dunn. Bolthouse Farms embarked on a comprehensive diversity program designed to support inclusiveness in its dealings with all stakeholders including the LGBT community. Additionally, they agreed to financially support several LGBT organizations.
Californians Against Hate began a "Call Terry Caster" campaign complete with its own web site on August 8th. The campaign asked people to call Caster personally to ask him why he gave so much money. The 800 numbers to his personal office and to A-1 Self Storage were posted on our site. This campaign continued through yesterday, and will now be replaced by the Boycott of A-1 Self Storage.
We will be primarily conducting the Boycott of A-1 Self Storage virtually. It will be done through web sites, social and business networking sites and through the blogosphere. We have a link to Yelp on the Boycott website and will be asking people to go to Yelp and leave a comment next to the A-1 Self Storage facility near them.
Boycotts have had a place in civil rights movements for a long time. In the last 20 years they have mostly been done by conservative Christians. There was a wonderful story written by Bill Ainsworth of the San Diego Union-Tribune on July 28th on the history of boycotts and their effects.
The King of Boycotts has been the American Family Association (AFA) headquartered in Tupelo, Mississippi. Their web site includes a whole page on the "Homosexual Agenda." AFA is headed by the father and son team of Don and Tim Wildmon. They own 190 radio stations and have an annual budget of $24 million. AFA began targeting big companies that had any connection to gay or lesbian activities in the early 90's.
AFA ran an 8 year boycott against Disney because it dared to rent out its Disney World Theme Park for an annual gay party, and they offered benefits to same-sex partners of employees. In 2003, AFA boycotted Abercrombie & Fitch, calling on it to stop using pornography in its quarterly catalog. In 2005, the AFA boycotted the company American Girl, the maker of dolls and accessories, because the company supported the charity Girls, Inc., which the AFA called "a pro-abortion, pro-lesbian advocacy group." Also in 2005, AFA boycotted Kraft Foods for being a sponsor of the 2005 Gay Games in Chicago. In spring 2005, the AFA launched a boycott of Ford for advertising in gay magazines, donating to gay-rights organizations, and sponsoring gay pride celebrations. In 2006, the AFA urged its members to condemn Sears for running commercials on Logo, an LGBT cable channel.
Then by no coincidence, on Memorial Day this year, AFA announced a world- wide boycott of McDonalds for contributing a mere $20,000 to the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The timing was intentional. It came as soon as it was known that Proposition 8 had qualified for the November ballot. The boycott of McDonalds was sent as a warning to corporate American that you better not contribute to the No on 8 campaign or we will boycott you, too.
And then the most ridiculous of them all, on August 25th, AFA called for a boycott of Hallmark Cards, because they now sold same-sex wedding cards.
AFA has boycotted over 25 companies for their support of issues and organizations in which they believe.
Well, Californians Against Hate strongly believes that we should boycott Terry Caster's A-1 Self Storage company because of his $693,000 contribution to take away equality from an entire class of people in California. And we will.