WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Local bar owners and LGBT organizations joined forces Thursday to protest Russian vodka over the country's recent passage of anti-gay laws.
The "Down The Drain With Russian Vodka" ceremony took place at 11 a.m. in front of Micky's bar, 8857 Santa Monica Boulevard, in West Hollywood.
During the ceremony, participants poured Russian vodkas, including Stoli and Russian Standard, down the curbside drains. The bottles actually contained water due to environmental regulations.
With the overwhelming support of Russia's parliament and Russian President Vladimir Putin's approval, the country recently banned gay pride events, gay adoptions and gay "propaganda."
"We come together to stand up against Russia's treatment of its LGBT people," says Micky's Owner Michael Niemeyer. "While we can't be on the streets of Russia protesting the recent anti-LGBT legislation, we can show support by not selling Russian brands in turn bringing national attention to these terrible crimes."
WeHo Bars To Pour Out Russian Vodka In Protest Of Country's Anti-LBGT Laws
REVOLVER Video Bar, Eleven, Tortilla Republic, and The Abbey also participated in the event along with the producers of LA PRIDE and city council members.
Stoli's maker, SPI Group, said the company is "a fervent supporter and friend" of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered community.
In a statement Friday, CEO Val Mendeleev called the new laws "dreadful actions" and cited initiatives the company has taken to support the gay community, including serving as the official vodka of Miami Gay Pride Week.
"I want to stress that Stoli firmly opposes such attitude and actions. Indeed, as a company that encourages transparency and fairness, we are upset and angry," Mendeleev wrote. "We fully support and endorse your objectives to fight against prejudice in Russia."
The privately owned, Luxembourg-based company has no ties to the Russian government. The vodka is made from Russian wheat, rye and raw alcohol at a distillery in Latvia.
A similar protest has already been held in New York City.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)
for more features.