Cinemark doesn't offer DP benefits

Posted on 24 Nov 2008 at 5:19pm

Gay-rights advocates who are pushing for a boycott of Cinemark Theaters over CEO Alan Stock’s support for Proposition 8 just got more ammunition for their cause.
Joe Blair III, who’s been an openly gay employee and consultant for Cinemark for the last 20 years, confirmed Monday that the company doesn’t offer domestic partner benefits to its employees.

Blair’s statement confirms previous comments made by Bob Shimmin, Cinemark’s openly gay vice president for food and beverage, in a column posted on 365gay.com. In the column, Shimmin suggested that Cinemark offers domestic partner benefits only to its employees in California.

Blair said Cinemark has an employment policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, but he said he was unsure about other policies and practices related to LGBT employees.
Blair serves as facilitator for Business Network Collin County, an LGBT business network that’s affiliated with the Collin County Gay and Lesbian Alliance. Cinemark is based in Plano, the largest city in Collin County.
Blair said he held various positions with Cinemark from 1990 until 2000, including regional marketing coordinator and director of IMAX theater marketing. Since then Blair has worked as a consultant for the company, including on marketing efforts geared toward the LGBT community.
Some in the LGBT community are pushing for a boycott of Cinemark, the third-largest theater chain in the U.S., because Stock gave $9,999 to a political action committee supporting Prop 8, a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in California.
Blair said he’s “totally torn” about the boycott.
“The company that I have worked for for nearly 20 years is not in any way an anti-gay company. Because of this great country that America is, Alan Stock certainly has a right to contribute money to anybody he wants to,” Blair said, adding that he was “disappointed” to learn about Stock’s contribution. “Just like Alan has a right to donate money, if people feel it’s appropriate to boycott, they certainly have the right to do so.”
Cinemark isn’t included in the Human Rights Campaign’s annual Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies based on LGBT employment policies.

Darryl Herrschaft, director of HRC’s workplace project, said Tuesday that Cinemark isn’t included in the index because the company didn’t join the Fortune 1000 until this year. HRC sends surveys for the CEI to the Fortune 1000 each February. Cinemark joined the Fortune 1000 in April, meaning they will receive a survey for the first time in 2009.

The only other theater chain listed in the Corporate Equality Index is AMC Theaters, the second-largest in the U.S., which offers domestic partner benefits to its employees, according to HRC.

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