British LGBT Awards drops sponsorship deals with Shell and BP

The British LGBT Awards has dropped its sponsorship deals from Shell and BP after a raft of top names dropped out or withdrew from the event.

In a statement, the British LGBT Awards said it was “saddened” after a number of nominees and judges – including comedian Joe Lycett, journalist Shon Faye and drag queen Cheddar Gorgeous – pulled out of the process because it was being sponsored by fossil fuel firms. It has “revised” its supporters in response.

The statement said: “While the supporters of the event were chosen based on their proactive approach and firm commitment to advancing equality, diversity and inclusion among our LGBTQ+ community, we fully acknowledge the concerns that have been raised.

“The British LGBT Awards is dedicated to the long-term uplifting of the community and that means all of our community. As a result we have revised our supporters this year and once this year’s event is over we will be looking at our long-term strategy.”

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The awards also said it was “grateful” for those who chose to speak out on the issue of sustainability and the ethics of who it chooses to partner with to further the cause of LGBTQ+ equality.

“The event unfortunately has a number of sponsors with questionable track records on climate change, racism and inequality, including BP and Shell. These two in particular have consistently failed to back up rhetoric of low carbon transition with actions to that effect,” said Ru Paul Drag Race UK star Cheddar Gorgeous.

A spokesperson for BP said the decision to be dropped from the British LGBT Awards is “disappointing”, adding that BP promotes an environment where “everyone can be their best and true selves and feel like they belong, with no exceptions, all year round”.

A spokesperson for Proud@Shell, told the Guardian: “Shell puts diversity, equity and inclusion at the heart of its employee culture and believes that a fully inclusive workplace allows our business to flourish.

“It’s important to highlight this through our presence at events like this one, and it’s regrettable that a few people have reacted so negatively, especially as we’re committed to becoming a net zero emissions energy business by 2050.”

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