Shareholders Endorse Kraft's Support of Gay Games Event

28 April 2006

Kraft Food's controversial decision to sponsor the eight-day Gay Games event in Chicago this July with a $25,000 donation was upheld by Wednesday's annual stockholders meeting.

Sponsorships are rarely a subject for debate at annual meetings. But stockholder Dr Marcella Meyer, project director for Chicago's Southwest Parents Committee, took exception to Kraft's involvement in a gay sporting event.

In a proxy statement she proposed that: "Kraft Foods does hereby disassociate itself from the 2006 and all future so-called 'gay games', and that no future financial support be given for the 2006 'gay games' or any other future activities supporting, proselytizing, promoting or encouraging homosexual activity or life style."

Kraft's board recommended stockholders to vote against Meyer's proposal on grounds that that its contribution is "well within the scope" of the company's overall charitable-giving program, which totaled $85 million in food and financial support last year.

The board's recommendation was upheld by 99% of shareholders.

Nonetheless, Dr Meyer is not the only objector to Kraft's support of the event. In May of last year the company received a vociferous protest from the American Family Association.

This too was rejected by Kraft in a statement by evp-corporate counsel and secretary Marc Firestone. This read: "Diversity makes us a stronger company and connects us with the diversity that exists among the consumers who buy our products."

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff