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29 June 2011, 12:36 pm 58 Comments

Breaking News: HRC Store Vandalized on Stonewall Anniversary

This post was submitted by Managing Editor

Notorious flagship tote bag dispensary “Human Rights Campaign and Action Center and Store” on Connecticut Avenue totally got roughed up last night, according to TNG’s shadow-mercenary queer terrorist double-agent informants, who alerted us by way of a glamorously high-stakes and sexually tense Bond-like live drop on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial. A group going by the eminently unGoogleable name of “The Right Honorable Wicked Stepmothers’ Traveling, Drinking, and Debating Society and Men’s Auxiliary” took credit for the action, citing the inspiration of the Stonewall Riots in a playfully overcaffeinated liberal arts grad sort of press release certain to win them thousands of adoring fans in the relaxed, prank-loving, not-in-the-least-bit-politically-curmudgeonly gay blogosphere:

“We’ve got good reason. This week marks the 42nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking–all of it happily indiscriminate–and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since. Yet, somehow we’ve forgotten our riotous roots.”

As of 11:00AM this morning, pink paint and graffiti were still visible to the intrepid TNG reporters who dared to set down their iced Americanos, fire up their Iphone cameras, and try desperately to remember what their j-school training taught them about breaking Real News:


Michael Cole-Schwartz, HRC’s Director of Communications, responds:
“HRC’s DC Action Center and Store was vandalized last night with paint on the front windows and an LGBT group has claimed responsibility for the crime. It’s unfortunate that after a marriage win in New York that represented an unprecedented coming together of LGBT groups, some are more interested in fostering division in the community.”


Trusted source Some Guy Who Overheard Us in a Coffeeshop reminded us that just last weekend riotous queer anarchists broke windows at a Seattle American Apparel. TNG can confirm at this time that the phrase “Deep-V for Vendetta” has somehow yet to be used as a blog post title by anyone.

c. TNG

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  • Andrew D said:

    Interesting, not sure i’m in agreement with all of this or this type of tactic. But I do think it’s important to remind the present of how we got here. Curious to see what else the group will do and if they’ll get smarter about how they do it.

  • Kyle said:

    Please grow up.

  • Katie said:

    Seriously? We have no better targets than the HRC? I personally think they are classist and snotty, but is targeting a queer org the best use of our time and energy?

  • Alan said:

    This is stupid and makes me mad.

    “The modern LGBT movement owes its success to three days of smashing, burning, punching, and kicking–all of it happily indiscriminate–and the confrontational tactics of groups like ACT-UP that followed in the decades since.”

    However it also owes its success to the lobbying, the cocktail party fundraisers, the politicking, incrementalism, and bending over to take another one from the dems to inch a step closer to equality. All these things that HRC is faulted for — they (usually) are done with the right intentions, and (usually) move the ball forward, if ever so painfully slowly. I might not always approve of their tactics, but I don’t always approve of anyone’s tactics.

    HRC is not the enemy. This is a shame. I’m going to go give HRC some money, which I haven’t done in many years.

  • diana said:

    This is not funny, nor is it appropriate. I’m also outraged at the flippant way TNG “covers” this story – you guys are better than this. Using the intimidating tactics of our opposition is not the way to win equality. I hope you get arrested.

  • VictorD said:

    This is bloody hilarious. Will it accomplish anything? Meh, who cares. Folks need to remember that marriage equality was passed on the backs of tuition hikes and tax caps. Cuomo played us gayz masterfully by giving his reign of austerity and class war a patina of progressive shine. So yes, if your ideal of gay “progress” is to build a more inclusive capitalist rape state, then HRC is your place to be. But I don’t like oligarch anal. Next time I meet the HRC kiddies I’ll tell em to go play in traffic.

  • They sell snow globes? Really? said:

    Uh, no Diana. This is funny. And intimidating? Really? It’s cosmetic. They can hose the paint off in a few minutes. Are we such wilting flowers that we’re intimidated by people who calculate dollar value in pounds of glitter and spend their time making hilariously immature jokes about sticking things in their butts?

    If so, oh wow, we’re in need of a good shaking up.

    And you hope they get arrested? Stop snitching!

  • Dan said:

    Look, let’s not forget the important detail here:

    They took the care to not vandalize the ice cream store. That shows a certain level of maturity.

  • Robby D said:

    the point was to get people talking… read the press release

  • jimbo.info » Blog Archive » Whiny little angertwinks desperately looking for a cause said:

    [...] famous Life magazine black and white photo. And they stage pointless acts of vandalism like this or this in the name of “anarchy.” Sorry kids, but that shit ain’t gonna fly with me. [...]

  • Kyle said:

    “To get people talking”? I don’t buy it. Vandalism isn’t how you start a dialogue; it’s how you start a shouting match. I don’t much like HRC. But this action was counterproductive at best. It alienates one’s fellows and emboldens one’s enemies.

  • Cow said:

    If people are freaking out about paint, they have lost their damn minds.

    Seriously? Egypt just burned down half its government ministries and you have a problem with paint?

  • Kyle said:

    @Cow: that argument is called a ‘false equivalency’. It’s quite common on the internet, but it really isn’t useful or enlightening.

    I don’t see anyone freaking out here. As for myself, I’m just disappointed at the childishness. SMH.

  • Cow said:

    That’s not false equivalency. This is a comparable situation. You can’t celebrate outright popular violence in one country (which mostly liberals seem to tacitly support) and then be aghast that OH NOEZ SOMEONE THREW PAINT AT A GIFT SHOP.

    do you have a paypal account? I’d be happy to send you money so you can buy a sense of humor.

  • Kyle said:

    Implying I lack humor? Now that’s what is called an ‘ad hominem attack’. Also not very useful or enlightening.

    Again, I’m not aghast, I’m disappointed. It’s a pathetic gesture. Do you think the director and board of HRC will learn their lesson as they stoop to clean up the paint? Oh wait, they won’t be doing that, will they? It’s the employees who’ll have to clean this mess up, people who just want to do a their job and survive like the rest of us. Did the perpetrators even consider who would be punished by this act of childishness?

    It’s simply sad, not ghastly. It’s a middle-class, privileged temper tantrum. Nothing to freak out over, but nothing to celebrate either.

  • Cow said:

    Okay seriously, you take me saying “omg take a joke” as an ad hominem?

    Also, it’s pretty clear that this wasn’t addressed at the head of the HRC. It was addressed to the broader population that makes up the base. It also clearly wasn’t a claim that suddenly we’d have riots in the street but it advocated for people moving away from non-profits and towards direct action and local community groups.

    It’s pretty shitty frankly to assume they’re middle class. We’re in the middle of a recession, do you remember? Everyone’s piss broke. And privileged in what way? Like do you know this people? You’re all “AD HOMINEM ATTACK” and then you make some really weird assumptions about who would do this.

    And nothing to celebrate? So are you telling me that ACT-UP wasn’t cool? They wrecked shit up too.

  • Kennedy said:

    I gotta say, whatever my views on the specific tactic (i don’t actually care either way), it’s telling that the statement issued by the HRC PR flak doesn’t try and refute any of the charges about their efficacy or cash-sucking and instead just tells you that because gay marriage passed, you should shut up and not ask any questions of our HRC overlords.

  • Levi said:

    It was harmless, nobody got hurt.

    Besides, HRC is rolling in dough to clean that up anyway…Unlike the trans people they throw under the bus.

  • Kennedy said:

    I gotta say, whatever my views on the specific tactic (i don’t actually care either way), it’s telling that the statement issued by the HRC PR flak doesn’t try and refute any of the charges about their efficacy or cash-sucking and instead just tells you that because gay marriage passed, you should shut up and not ask any questions of our HRC overlords. Raising questions is “divisive” apparently which seems like an excuse for them to do whatever they want without any accountability.

  • Robby D said:

    arent you all talking?

  • Michael Rogers said:

    @Robby D Get people talking? Killing Kenedy got people talking. Since when is getting people talking a measure of success. The only thing I hear people talking about is how this was bad.

    I, for one, hope the people who did this are arrested and charged with the crime.

    Drawing a comparison between this cowardly act and the courageous actions of the LGBT activists at Stonewall is absolutely, under any measure, completely pathetic. I personally hope that every national and state organization put out statements slamming this crime. I also hope that bloggers across the blogosphere condemn this act also.

    I love the Blade – they are my hometown paper — but question why they would run the entire press release of this group of thugs. Is it normal for a paper to run the lengthy statements of such criminals ? Also, it seems kind of unfair to drop in a quote from HRC only after the 14 paragraph statement of this gutless group. The Stonewall activists didn’t hide who they were like these losers have.

    This is not civil disobedience, it’s violence… there is a huge difference.

  • Wow, that's fucked said:

    Cowardly? Seriously? It’s paint. Have you lost your mind? PAINT. P-A-I-N-T

    Frankly, calling it violence is pretty disgusting of you considering I just had someone threaten me with a knife on u street. How dare you compare someone throwing paint to actually threats on my life. Trans women are getting murdered in the streets and you’re worried about paint? Congrats on the privilege you have to not care about the possibility of dying because of your gender and sexuality.

  • Wow, that's fucked said:

    Cowardly? Seriously? It’s paint. Have you lost your mind? PAINT. P-A-I-N-T

    Frankly, calling it violence is pretty disgusting of you considering I just had someone threaten me with a knife on u street and call me a faggot. How dare you compare someone throwing paint to actually threats on my life. Trans women are getting murdered in the streets and you’re worried about paint? Your priorities are screwed.

    PAINT DOES NOT EQUAL VIOLENCE. Nothing was destroyed. Do you go around and think every bit of graffiti on the entire planet is an act of violence?

  • Liam McG said:

    Agreed, PAINT IS NOT VIOLENCE. It is, however, childish. What was the fricking point? Even thinking that this is a tribute to or in any way related to the bravery of the men and women who got the crap beat out of them at Stonewall is both insulting and laughable. The lack of knowledge of and respect for our history it demonstrates is breathtaking.

  • diana said:

    Yes, it’s just paint. However, we’ve called simple paint a hate crime if it comes with a different motive (I can hear our opponents say, “it’s just a little paint”). It’s also violence. It is also, however, childish, unimaginative and rather lame. If you want to work for equality… pick up the phone, knock on a few doors, take a local preacher out to lunch or lobby your legislator. Politics is always gruellingly slow, and always frustrating, it doesn’t justify a temper tantrum. Get a life.

  • Wow, that's fucked said:

    NO IT’S NOT VIOLENCE. no one was hurt. that is NOT violence.

    I’m sorry but listening to you call this violence is the ultimate absurdity. you’re no different than the right wing that calls any kind of direct action violence.

    I was threatened at knife point. You comparing that to a temper tantrum is absolutely beyond the pale.

    And so what if it’s childish? How does that matter? It was clearly a playful action.

    It’s also a stupid accusation as their press release pretty clearly stated that what they were going for was a broader movement that was more engaged on the grassroots level. The assumption that these are people who only throw paint is dumb.

  • Kyle said:

    HRC isn’t a great organization. But this kind of action isn’t going to change their course. No one in HRC is going to say, “People threw paint at our store; maybe we should be more politically progressive and activist.” Moreover, this kind of action isn’t going to win sympathy for those who hate the HRC. Those who already hate HRC aren’t going to hate it more because of flung pink paint, nor are they suddenly going to be inspired to act up more. At best we’ll all forget this thing happened by next week. At worst, it will gain the HRC some sympathizers, doing exactly the opposite of what the paint flingers had hoped (if one is to believe their micromanifesto). It won’t lead to more direct action, or uprisings in the street. It was silly, childish and pathetic.

  • John said:

    There’s no surer way for attention starved children (I’m talking mental age) to get what they want than to lash out at people who *aren’t* their enemies. Look how well it’s working.

    Boy, they sure showed that big bad HRC!


  • Michael Rogers said:


    Some very angry people here.

    Fine, replace Violence with Destructive. Save me the violins that it’s “disgusting” — Crime is crime.

    Me thinks the over the top responses to my post mean that perhaps some people here feel a strong need to defend the actions of _________? Oh right, they are such wimps they hide who they are.

    Hiding behind a press release and saying this honors Stonewall (and by people are so uneducated to our history that they wrote “East Village,” no less) is a joke.

    And as for comparing this to ACT-UP. BULL SHIT. I was arrested in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1989 with ACT-UP never hid behind wimpy unsigned factually wrong press releases.

    Then again, everyone here seems to believe in their comments so much they use first names only. At least that is marginally better than the wimps.

    ACT-UP members were PROUD of their actions…. not hiding in the shadows.

  • Cow said:

    Michael, when you do things that are illegal, telling people your name is probably a bad idea. I would think that is obvious.

    ACT-UP often times took action without identifying themselves. What you are saying completely contravenes history. I’m also pretty sure if that they did identify themselves, you’d call them attention whores so the whole argument is facile.

    Also, let’s be clear here: This shit is fucking funny and you have no sense of humor if you can’t laugh at a press release that talks about snorting ritalin and cramming things in your butt.

    What cracks me up is that the author of the original article was poking fun at this exact attitude: curmudgeonly.

  • Michael Rogers said:

    When did ACT=UP’ers do things while hiding who they were. I do not support property damage, but when ACT-UP members broke windows at the FDA no one hid. If you have guts have guts. Do it and face the system. There is no courage doing a property damage hit and hiding. It’s cowardice.

  • Kyle said:

    @Michael: agreed. If the people who perpetrated the vandalism really wanted to get a point across about their hatred of HRC and/or LGBT complacency in general, they would have done it in public, or at least would have put out their statement with names attached.

    I’m amused by how angry the supporters of this ‘action’ have become when others don’t see the ‘humor’ in it, much less efficaciousness. I think this comes from the ‘everyone is special’ and ‘everyone gets a trophy’ mentality. Some of us aren’t patting the paint-throwers on the back for ‘acting up’, but rather calling them on their bullshit and childishness. How dare us? How dare us not be supportive of this ‘effort’?

    If you want people to laugh, then please be funny. If you want people to rally behind your actions, be efficacious and courageous. If you want people to engage you in dialogue, learn to debate logically.

  • Cow said:

    Michael. All the time. Like when they ate food coloring and epicak and puked all over the white house and ran.

    When Dorothy comes looking for you scarecrows, don’t worry about the brain. Just ask for a sense of humor and a sense of perspective.

  • Cow said:

    Also, what’s hilarious about this is that it clearly worked. They get a shitload of press coverage and even the people who wouldn’t engage in this kind of direct action are agreeing very publicly with the message.

    So what it says is that for the cost of a quart of paint and some lightbulbs, they did more to raise the profile of anti-Gay Inc sentiment that all these lame blogs have done in their lifetime.

  • Michael Rogers said:

    @Cow 1. I was in ACT-UP… They got into the White House and puked? Hmmmmmm.

    2. “press”? I’d hardly call an extended discussion of ANONYMOUS people in a comment thread “press.”

  • Kyle said:

    I haven’t seen any real evidence that this incident ‘worked’. I’ve looked at sites that covered the incident, and the people who are complaining about HRC were already against the organization to begin with. In other words, nobody has changed their minds or ‘woken up’ due to the paint-throwing. Furthermore, the discussions seem mostly centered not on the HRC or on the status of the queer community in general, but on whether or not the paint-throwing incident was appropriate. Stirring up a controversy over the appropriateness of throwing paint at the window of a closed store in the middle of the night may or may not have been what the paint-throwers intended, but that is all that they’ve achieved, for the most part.

  • Cow said:

    Michael, you are so lying through your teeth.

    And it’s being talked about. Hence, it worked.


  • Michael Rogers said:


    What am I “lying” about? Why not come out and tell us who you are?

  • Michael Rogers said:

    And seriously, it is not my intent to lie…but I had no idea that Act-UP members got into the white house and started puking, (or am I missing what happened?)

  • Cow said:

    Because I have a job where posting on the internet isn’t allowed.

    And the ACT-UP stunt was in the mid-90s at a press conference.

  • Cow said:

    Also, there’s a fundamental thing here that I don’t get: Sometimes putting on a mask is necessary so you don’t end up sitting in a jail cell. What’s the problem with that? It’s not cowardice in the least. It’s common damn sense.

  • Michael Rogers said:


    People have taken WAY bigger risks with no masks… especially our brothers and sisters at the Stonewall in the WEST village… especially the people who marched on the White House in 1964!

  • Kyle said:

    It’s simple reality: you can be prudent or you can be courageous. There’s nothing wrong with being prudent. Most people are prudent to some degree. But usually it is incorrect for someone who is acting prudently to claim to be courageous.

    As for the paint flingers, their action was childish and inconsequential, but hiding their identities was at least prudent. Prudent, but not courageous.

  • The New Gay » The New Gay Week in Review: Young Americans edition said:

    [...] Cranberry-fed pigeons shit on the front of the HRC store or something, and Andrew F manages to make it a national news item [...]

  • Cow said:

    Yeah, dude, it’s a choice between not getting arrested and being “courageous”

    All those kids in Egypt who were setting fire to government buildings and wearing masks were a bunch of cowards. They really should have blogged about it with their real names and then turned themselves in for a nice cattle prod up their ass.

    Come the fuck on. You’re basically the equivalent of the Mattachine Society, who put up signs after Stonewall reading “We homosexuals plead with our people to please help maintain peaceful and quiet conduct on the streets of the Village.”

    This is a facile argument. There are photos of Stonewall rioters with shirts over their faces. you’re basically arguing this point as a slight of hand to avoid having to deal with the questions raised.

  • Michael Rogers said:


    It was not enough that y’all tried to compare this to Stonewall. Now you are actually invoking the freedom fighters in Egypt. Seriously?

    Listen, if you want to compare these wimps with people being attacked by army soldiers with machine guns have at it. In the words of Golda Meir, “Don’t be so humble, you’re not that great.”

    In all seriousness, invoking the Egyptian freedom fighters and stonewall fighters with this crowd is both pathetic and funny (pathetic because you are so delusional to invoke them you need pity and funny because it MUST be a joke.)

    By the way, take a look here at the images from Stonewall (http://bit.ly/mUhbGX), I don’t see ONE mask, let alone more than one.

    I’m starting to think that with your repeated defense of these cowards, that you are one. If you are, come on out and be the hero you claim to be. If you aren’t, why weren’t you there? Too wimpy?

  • Cow said:

    Yes. I’m comparing it to that because the specific question of whether or not one should wear a mask when engaging in illegal direct action is applicable.

    This is liberal bullshit. You’re willing to support people torching buildings as long as it’s attractive brown people far far away. But someone throws paint that can be washed off on a window and you’re freaking out.

    And wow, the end of your post Michael is fucked up beyond recognition. I have a job that doesn’t make posting my name all over the internet easy. So basically if you support this direct action, you’re obviously one of them. What kind of snitch piece of shit are you?

  • Cow said:

    Also, if you would buy a brain, no one compared it to Stonewall. The argument here was that confrontational direct action is an important part of our activism that we seem all to willing to sell out.

    Go raise some funds or something. It seems that’s all your good for.

  • Cow said:

    No, wait. By the logic of your dipshit argument, you must be Joe Solomonese. Right? Right?

  • Cow said:

    And shouldn’t you be jerking off over getting your picture in the paper?

  • Michael Rogers said:

    First, I have never once called you a name, so to reduce it to that level, well, we all know what happens. Once you run out of arguments out comes the name calling.

    If oyu would like to justify wearing a mask in the Egyptian uprising to hiding a while inflicting property damage, you have that right. I, on the other hand, have the right to say “hmmmm, that seems a bit much in these circumstances.”

    I do notice that you would rather hurl pejoratives than actually address my thoughts For example, you said Stonewallers wore masks when that is simply untrue. Perhaps it was the same team that moved Stonewall from the West Village to the East Village that decided to add in the masks as supporting evidence. Alas, there were no masks, the least you could do is acknowledge that.

    Incidentally, I apologized when I got the puking at a press confernece wrong, but I notice you have not acknowledged that the one time there as property damage at an ACT-UP protest it was done in the full light of day with absolutely no masks (that was at the action on the CDC in Atlanta).

    Stonewall, not incidentally was not a direct action, it was a defensive action.

    Over the past few posts you have
    a) called me a “dipshit”
    b) called my post “fucked up”
    c) called my thoughts “bullshit”
    d) accused me of “freaking out”
    e) called me brainless
    f) said I supported the torching of buildings by distant “brown people” (your words)

    If you want to have an adult discussion, fine. At this point I will not engage you, unless you are respectful.

    In retrospect I was wrong to call you a “coward” because you are right, people cannot post on the web for various reasons. For that, I apologize.

    Now, would you like to proceed with mature language? Then great. If you are not desirous to to that, that is OK too, but I’ll not be responding to any more ad hominem attacks.

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