When activists saw the list of sponsors for the British LGBT Awards 2023, they quickly organised to protest the inclusion of companies responsible for discrimination, exploitation, and carbon emissions.
The campaign soon achieved results – around a dozen nominees including Joe Lycett withdrew from the awards, and then with just two days to go, the organisers ook to social media to announce that they were “revising” their sponsors. BNP Paribas, along with Shell and BP, all slipped off the website list.
Sue Perkins also pulled out as the compere at the last minute.
On the night of the awards, a loud and noisy crowd listened to speeches across the road as activists handed leaflets to the guests arriving at the Brewery venue in Barbican.
Groups representing people affected by the various sponsors put forward speakers who handed out ‘pink-washing’ awards. These were given to the companies that claim to support LGBTQIA+ communities, while destroying communities and eco-systems around the world.
One of the headline sponsors, Macquarie Capital were given an air pollution award by Stop The Silvertown Tunnel campaigners – the company is financing this controversial build which will increase traffic in the poor and already heavily polluted Borough of Newham.
HSBC received an award from Stop The West Cumbria Mine, and legendary activist Mike Jackson (Lesbians and Gays Support The Miners) spoke about how discrimination is used to split communities, inspiring people to work together and see our common struggles.
Colombian activists gave an award to BNP Paribas for funding the destruction of Indigenous land there, along with HSBC.
BNP Paribas funds Total Energie and the highly controversial East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), which came under fire at the recent People’s Health Tribunal. It’s also one of the funders of Equinor which is developing the Rosebank Gas and Oil Field.
Fresh from a victory kicking BP sponsorship out of the British Museum, BP or not BP? gave an award to BP for climate destruction.
Amazon received an award for its union-busting antics.
At the end of the protest, all the awards were ceremoniously smashed on the ground, and activists vowed to return next year if the LGBT Awards don’t kick out the harmful fossil fuel companies and their financing enablers.