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Should you boycott Domino’s over LGBT equality concerns?

I joined the LGBT boycott of Domino’s pizza last year after learning that founder and former CEO, Tom Monaghan, was a radically conservative social activist. Somethings irked me about the story though; there is a Domino’s right in Boystown(one of the world’s most concentrated gay ghettos) and the pizza itself is delicious and fast- not something I was keen to give up.

Nevertheless, I stuck to my guns (toy guns, real ones are [possibly] illegal in Chicago). In a city filled with options for greasy, cheese covered, pepperoni-laden goodness, why bother with a company that is potentially supporting discrimination against me?

So, when a friend suggested that I order Domino’s for dinner tonight, we ended up both digging around for evidence supporting the claim that money going to Domino’s was money going to hate.

For the sake of making this easy to consume, I’m going to make my discoveries a list:
  • Tom Monaghan left his role as CEO of Domino’s Pizza and is no longer involved with the company. [link]
  • Tom Monaghan sold, if not all, nearly all of his shares in Domino’s and no longer reaps any significant financial benefit from the corporation. (Top 10 “other” holders: link] )
  • Although the LA Times article previously mentioned stated that Monaghan would remain on Domino’s Board of Directors, he has since resigned that post as well. [link]
  • Current Chairman-of-the-Board David Brandon has made financial contributions in excess of $200,000 to the Republican party, candidates, and PACs supporting the Republican party. link]
  • Brandon did make a $5,000 contribution to The Ave Maria List PAC in 2002. This contribution was passed on to the likes of Bob Dole and John Thune, amongst others. This is the PAC that Tom Monaghan founded in order to promote Catholic ideals in US government. [link]
  • Current CEO of Domino’s, J. Patrick Doyle, has likewise made $13,300 in contributions to the Republican party but there is no evidence of support for other anti-gay groups. [link]
  • Neither Brandon or Doyle have made significant political contributions outside the Republican party.
  • A Domino’s Pizza PAC has existed and distributed $61,500 to Republican candidates since 2002. No contributions have been reported since the 2006 election cycle, but the PAC collected an additional $10,500 that I was unable to account for and could presumably be used for future contributions. [link]
  • Total contributions to Republicans and to conservative causes from Domino’s and its current top-two leaders total at least $274,800.
Having for the most part cleared those most likely to reap financial benefit from Domino’s, I moved on to answering two other questions:
  1. Does Domino’s itself stand for equality?
  2. Is there a better alternative for a national pizza chain? (Thank’s Adam for posing this question.)
For this I leaned on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index for 2011 (pdf). I am not always a fervent supporter of HRC’s political activities but I find their CEI to be indispensable and unmatched when it comes to deciphering a corporation’s stance on LGBT issues.

Domino’s has scored a 60/100 on the CEI since it was first listed in the index in 2008. That number is pretty grim, and more telling is the fact that they have made no strides to improve their score in four years of being listed. The report says that while Domino’s prohibit’s discrimination based on sexual orientation, has an employer-supported resource group, and positively engages the LGBT community (usually by way of advertising), they do not provide domestic partner benefits and they also do not provide protection against gender identity or expression.

Slightly better on the CEI, Yum! Brands (owner of Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and KFC) ranked a 65. They one-up Domino’s by providing domestic partner benefits and transgender-inclusive diversity training, but miss out on a huge number of points (15) by not “positively engaging the LGBT community.” Certainly some room for improvement, but a better option by far. This bodes well for me as I am a huge fan & supporter of Taco Bell. Yum! indeed…

I hope this helps you make a more informed choice when it comes to enjoying an American favorite. If nothing else, it highlights the complexity of making a seemingly simple decision when you are a minority.

You’re free to make your own decisions about how to act with this newfound information. Personally, I won’t be returning to Domino’s anytime soon. While I resolved many of my existing doubts about the company, a slew of new ones have been discovered. I’d much rather spend my money locally, someplace where I can talk to the owner and know first-hand where my relationship with the business stands.

3 Responses to Should you boycott Domino’s over LGBT equality concerns?

  1. BJake3580

    While you have supposedly completed research, you destroy your whole arguement at the end by making an uninformed and uneducated statement. Spending your money locally, getting to know the owner and have a first hand relationship is exactly what Dominos is in almost all cases. Most Dominos are locally owned, with the owner being an intricate part of the community, who spends money, time and thier life blood in the same community which you are trying to protect. In most cases this person is a leader in the same causes which you may support and in most cases this local owner has a family, local concerns and is a more engaged than anyone from a pizza restaurant with another name. You can get to know the owner as he is local, you can spend your money locally as his money is the same money you spend in your communinity. SO who are hurting?

  2. MRMcDermott

    You live in uptown Chicago and you even THINK about calling Dominos when you want pizza? Hey, I’m not “boycotting” Dominos, I just haven’t bought from them in years because there’s so much better out there. And I used to deliver for them, too.
    Then again, I remember the first time I read a Windy City Times. I was most surprised by all the cigarette ads in there, considering how much tobacco money funded Jesse Helms’ campaigns.

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