Image for Gloria Jeans: "We are not homophobic"

Gloria Jeans: "We are nothomophobic"

The Gloria Jeans coffee company is again attempting to clarify its relationship to the Australian Christian Lobby and the Hillsong Church as it deals with one of the most public and powerful boycotts Australia’s LGBT community has ever dished out.

The reveal of the café crew’s $30,000 donation to the ACL has prompted a massive backlash, at a time when the Lobby’s clumsily-delivered anti-marriage-equality message is their main activity.

The “boycott Gloria Jeans” message has been all but inescapable this week, even after the company reacted quickly on Queen’s Birthday Monday to declare their support for equality and diversity.

Last night at Oxford Street’s Midnight Shift drag queen Joyce Maynge performed one of her favourite ‘70s songs Gloria, encouraging her audience to loudly boo when she mimed the song’s name in the chorus. Even gay hook-up app Grindr now has this special message for its thousands of Aussie users, linking them to a petition, which now has almost 2,000 signatories:

But yesterday’s most damning coffee spill came from national youth mental health foundation Headspace, which released a statement explaining why it now wants nothing to do with the annual RU OK? Day mental health awareness campaign which Gloria Jeans proudly sponsors.

“That a major sponsor of the campaign, Gloria Jeans, made a significant donation to the Australian Christian Lobby in 2010 has given us cause for concern,” notes Headspace.

“Headspace supports the right of organisations such as the ACL to free speech. However, when that free speech has the potential to harm the quality of life of young people and perpetuate bigotry, inequality, fear and violence we know we have a responsibility to stand up for the rights of those whose voices are so often unheard.

“It is because of this that Headspace feels it has a moral and ethical duty to withdraw as a partner of RU OK? Day.”

Late yesterday afternoon, Gloria Jeans’ senior management team issued another response to the community’s concern via its official Facebook page.

“Over the last few days there has been a lot of discussion about our company and we would like to take the opportunity to clear the air,” it began, again noting its belief in respect for “equality and diversity”, and even going as far as to stress “We are not homophobic and are proud that our team members come from all walks of life and sexual orientations.”

Unlike its coffee rival Starbucks this week, Gloria Jeans would not pledge its support for marriage equality, noting “we hold no position on marriage law, and in line with our values support people’s freedom to choose who they love.”

As for the company’s Australian Christian Lobby donation: “We would like to apologise for any hurt or offence which may have been caused by the paid advertising we undertook for the 2010 prime ministerial debate event, hosted by the Australian Christian Lobby.

“It appears that there is now a perception that we endorse the views and values of the ACL. This is not the case. Gloria Jean’s Coffees does not support the independent views and values of the ACL.”

What about Hillsong Church? “Gloria Jean’s Coffees is a privately owned business and not owned by the Hillsong Church,” the statement continues.

“This misunderstanding often arises because our founders are active parishioners of their local Hillsong Church.

“We are not affiliated with Hillsong, however we do support a wide range of charities and churches in the communities in which our coffees houses operate including Hillsong.”

That support continues to this very day. Earlier this week, Gloria Jeans was mysteriously removed as a major sponsor of the Hillsong Church’s upcoming conference, but today the coffee brand is back on the list of those partnering with the controversial religious group’s major annual event.

Gloria Jeans has now twice responded to the LGBT community’s concerns about the organisations our coffee coins end up funding – but are you convinced?

Same Same has sought to tell both sides of this developing story and we’ll continue to keep you updated. As ever, we appreciate your feedback, either with a comment below or a vote in our poll here.

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Mishy78 said on the 16th Jun, 2012

Thanks samesame for the mention of my petition, please keep sharing as it has now gone viral, we don't believe anything GJ's say.


Virgindirk said on the 16th Jun, 2012

Im sure there are many other businesses out there who give regular donations to hillsong and ACL that we dont't know about who are thinking "is the bad press really worth it" and hopefully might consider giving future donations.


ocha said on the 16th Jun, 2012

Make these bastards pay......... for the crap coffee they have.


Freeway said on the 16th Jun, 2012

What a disgrace! The plot thickens...


Matt4228 said on the 16th Jun, 2012

Got to love gay marriage talk. Those for, its very common to see verbal carpet bombing anyone who opposes them, and scream bigot and hater when people, especially christians, retaliate, even when its done calmly and nicely. Look at you, picking on anyone that supports christians, which also do alot of things like charities, help centres and helping addicts and the homeless find better lives and happiness. You guys should have higher standards than that and should be ashamed of yourselves.


ImAwesome said on the 16th Jun, 2012

These idiots make me laugh at how stupid they sound. No one is buying this crap...


Wonderland said on the 16th Jun, 2012

No, YOU should be ashamed of yourself for not having an issue with people (from whatever walk of life, religion etc) discriminating against people based on sexuality.
You don't care about the fact that certain people don't get the same rights as you? Good for you but think about this: if you accept discrimination against one group of people, what's to say you're not next? Don't accept discrimination in the name of religion.
Shame on YOU!

BTW, talking about higher standards: demanding perfection from GLBTI people but not being able to give them some human respect. Tsk tsk tsk.


talkastro said on the 16th Jun, 2012

It's quite simple really. The boycott continues unless Gloria Jeans gives $30,000 to AME (Australian Marriage Equality = the guys who have been fighting for our rights). Then they can say they are neutral.


TheOldie said on the 16th Jun, 2012


lots of other gay friendly companies out there we can support who also donate to
"things like charities, help centres and helping addicts and the homeless find better lives and happiness."

as per VirginDirk would be curious to see what other companies who get our $ but do things similar to Gloria Jeans. We get told all the time we have a higher $ spend so lets put it use and support those that support us.


Dsquare said on the 17th Jun, 2012

Sorry, but the christians declared war on us a very long time ago. When thy stop using their imaginary friend as an excuse to try and justify hatred we'll leave them alone. Until then they'll get as good as they get.

As for being ashamed, organisations that try and claim that they are based on love and peace and then do all they can to persecute those who don't agree with their fantasies should be the experts in shame if they cared to look past their own arrogance.


chiral said on the 17th Jun, 2012

No wonder the local police go there for their morning coffees


Sc00ta28 said on the 19th Jun, 2012

Do they really think that we are that stupid, Oh right so we get a statement from their executives and its all ok,
Boo hoo he is only sorry that he lost the pink dollar which is a precious metal. :)
Stand strong for our community. Great work Mishy78 and thank you for making us aware of this injustice!!!


dublinlulu said on the 20th Jun, 2012

Uh, yeah. Good luck convincing us you're not homophobic, Gloria Jeans! If you're not anti-gay then the sky isn't bloody blue. Also: their coffee is by far the shittiest since I have had since moving here from Ireland! Coincidence or not? ;-)


Robinzz3 said on the 20th Jun, 2012

I won't be going to GJ's and Im asking all my friends gay and straight not to either, so far everyone agrees, GJ's is not on the menu anymore....


Taschub said on the 15th Aug, 2013

I have only been twice & didn't enjoy the experience . Now I know why !! hehe lol


TheOldie said on the 17th Aug, 2013

the one in Neutral Bay has closed . Mind you never went there anyway.


Tigerland said on the 18th Aug, 2013

Hate their Coffee. I've never set foot inside a Starbucks store either.