James Beard Foundation to Boy Scouts: You Can Keep Your Award, And Your Bigotry Too!
Posted April 23rd, 2012 by Evan Hurst
This, people, is what integrity looks like. The James Beard Foundation received an award from the Boy Scouts of America, which troubled Michelangelo Signorile, due to their anti-gay record. Mike was especially troubled for this reason:
It was especially troubling considering that the legendary chef and cookbook writer James Beard was an openly gay man who was thrown out of Reed College in Portland in 1922 for precisely the same reason: because he was gay.
And the Boy Scouts bans gay scoutmasters and scouts. So he reached out to Susan Ungaro, president of the James Beard Foundation, and here’s the note she sent back:
While I support all the poverty and hunger-fighting programs of the Boy Scouts of America, including sending at-risk youth to camp, your report brought to my attention that accepting the Distinguished Citizen Award implied I support their anti-gay policy, which I absolutely do not. When I accepted the honor, I was focused on supporting the New Jersey chefs and restaurant community.
I have informed the Boy Scouts of America that I am rescinding my acceptance of the award.
It’s one thing when we find out that an organization has been funneling their money to right-wing bigots. If the organization doesn’t know about the other activities of some right-wing front group and they stop the cash flow, that’s great. But for an organization to actually reject an award because they know that associating in any way with an organization like that tarnishes their own name — well, like I said, that’s integrity.
Kudos to the James Beard Foundation for standing up for what’s right.
Tags: Boy Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, integrity, James Beard Foundation, Michelangelo Signorile, Susan Ungaro