Last June, various local media outlets including Capitol Hill Seattle reported on the furor caused by a local printing company refusing to print publicity material for the new gay bar, Diesel. The printers, Access Printed Media originally accepted the order from the bar, but they subsequently received an email with this poorly worded information:
After careful consideration, my boss has decided that we won’t be able to print for your bar. Not that we’re against homosexuals at all, but because knowing that our printed products will be advertising and promoting the kind of lifestyle that goes against our morals is something that he can’t bring himself to do.
This discriminatory act naturally caused a flurry of anger in the LGBTQ community and received considerable attention from local media and a lot of angry words directed towards Access Printed Media. You would think local printing companies would tread more carefully when dealing with the queer community.
Guess again. Thursday night, we learned that another local printing company originally accepted, then declined to print the programs for The Beebo Brinker Chronicles, a lesbian produced play adapted from the best selling lesbian pulp fiction novels of Ann Bannon, produced by Cherry Manhattan Presents which opened at Re-bar last night. Sasha Summer Cousineau, one of the producers and performers, informed us of this prior to the beginning of the show, then later related the story in the pre-show speech. Zebra Print & Copy of Seattle declined to print the programs due to “content”. The production asked that the company decline via email but the company refused to put it in writing. (Maybe they had heard of the previous controversy?) The production company had to scramble at the last minute to find a replacement printer. (Added info from Cherry Manhattan Presents: “Urban Press was the printer that helped us. They sponsored our printing by giving us a deep discount and by turning the printing around very quickly.”)
The show is obviously sexy, and the poster for the show features woman in their lingerie, but other than the content of the actual production, there’s nothing overtly graphic or adult about the program. If Zebra Print & Copy declined to print due to content, basically what they are saying is that they are declining due to the LESBIAN content of the material. Which is their decision, albeit a foolish one, but I also have to admit that if I ran a printing company and some right wing group ignorantly came to my business with an order to print up 2000 homophobic posters, I’d turn them away, too. Of course, turning away business that condones bigotry is a bit different than being bigoted yourself.
And why do I think that if it had been say, The Paramount calling in a $10,000 order for the programs for a big budget Broadway bound production of “Beebo Brinker” that they would have been very happy to cash that check tainted with lesbian content…
CORRECTION: Sasha Summer Cousineau from Cherry Manhattan Presents just sent us an email correcting her earlier story. She incorrectly identified the printing company who refused to print the program for “Beebo Brinker”. The printing firm who refused the order was Zebra Print & Copy of Seattle, not the other Zebra company in Bellevue. Her apologies and ours for misidentifying the company. Please show Zebra Copying in Bellevue as much love as you can. Thanks, and again apologies for the error.)