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Backlash burns coffee chain after its logo surfaces at anti-gay rally

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The coordinator of the movement, Eugenia Gonzalez, on June 29 announces a march for conservative values on July 3 in Puebla. Photo: Periodico Centro
The coordinator of the movement, Eugenia Gonzalez, on June 29 announces a march for conservative values on July 3 in Puebla. A Punto del Cielo coffee shop was used for the press confence. Photo: Periodico Centro

After enduring widespread criticism on social networks, Café Punta del Cielo officials distanced themselves from an anti-gay marriage rally in Puebla that brandished the coffee chain’s logo.

The Mexico City-based chain, which has two branches in Mérida, apologized in a news release and confirmed that a local franchise owner who allowed the anti-gay group to use its space and display its logo will face sanctions from the corporate owner. Elsewhere, the corporation said the group used the logo without authorization.

It is not known if the franchisee in Puebla has connections to the franchises across from Mérida’s Plaza Grande or the City Center shopping plaza.

Images like this circulated quickly on social media, suggesting that Punto del Cielo supported a rally against marriage equality.
Images like this circulated quickly on social media, suggesting that Punto del Cielo supported a rally against marriage equality.

“Café Punta del Cielo was definitely not an official sponsor of this event. Our brand and logo were used without authorization. We are a neutral company and we respect and welcome all people regardless of gender, preference, religion or political ideology,” the company said on their social networks.

The National Front for the Family, which organized the rally, held a press conference at Café Punta del Cielo in Puebla, and the coffee company’s logo was included among others on a banner at the group’s rally. The group maintains that allowing same-sex marriage undermines family values.

But enough viewers on social media saw the rally and march as homophobic, and the franchise and rally organizers have disassociated from each other.

No mention of the coffee chain is currently on the protest group’s Facebook page, although Google cached a post celebrating their upcoming press conference at the shop.

This post on an anti-gay marriage group's Facebook page was taken down after the coffee shop that gave them space received backlash online. Photo: Google via Facebook
This post on an anti-gay marriage group’s Facebook page was taken down after the coffee shop that gave them space received backlash online. Photo: Google via Facebook
Regiogay.com published this image of the anti-gay marriage group's press conference held at Punta del Cielo Mirador.
Regiogay.com published this image of the anti-gay marriage group’s press conference held at Punta del Cielo Mirador, in Puebla.

But on social media, many customers vowed never to return to the coffee chain.

“Too bad…won’t be stopping by there again if this is their attitude,” said one person on Facebook, responding to a Photoshopped image of a sarcastic banner hanging from the chain’s Monterrey airport outlet. “Of course!!! Never again!!!” echoed another.

A banner pasted on a photo of a Punto del Cielo suggests the rage felt by readers sympathetic with the marriage equality movement. Photo: Facebook
A banner pasted on a photo of a Punto del Cielo suggests the rage felt by readers sympathetic with the marriage equality movement. It says “In this company we support the natural family therefore we do not support the struggle of the LGBT community, but anyway, please keep drinking our coffee.” Photo: Facebook

“… We’ll always distinguished ourselves as a fully inclusive company, both among our team, and with customers who we proudly serve, with respect for different ideologies, religions or preferences … ” said the company in a statement.

At the rally July 3, about 2,500 attended the rally and march to protest a quickly growing equality initiative that would allow civil marriage between same-sex couples and liberalize laws on adoption and gender identity.

Punta del Cielo has nearly 200 shops in Mexico, and one each in San Antonio, Texas; Madrid, Spain; and Hong Kong, China. Aside from operating coffee shops, the company markets its own line of coffee beans and coffee makers.

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