Companies flock to support Pride after Chr. Hansen fallout

After a debacle with major sponsor Chr. Hansen, Copenhagen Pride and LGBT+ Denmark salute the biotech company’s rebel employees for swimming upstream.

This week, Copenhagen Pride celebrates diversity and the right to love whoever you want.

The event has 72 companies as official sponsors, more than ever before. 

That’s despite the controversy stirred by the Danish biotech company Chr. Hansen, which dropped its visible sponsorship of Pride and LGBT+ people due to pressure from its stakeholders in the US, where Pride is currently the subject of political controversy.

In Denmark, Chr. Hansen has met with strong criticism for the move, illustrating the reputational tightrope walked by companies who try to appease both Danish and more conservative countries’ values.

Pride sabotage in Copenhagen
But that’s not to say there’s no anti-pride sentiment in Denmark. Earlier this week, the advertising agency behind one of Copenhagen Pride’s billboards – Sylvester Hvid & Co. – found that most of the campaign’s signs had been vandalized, according to TV2 Kosmopol.

“It only underlines to me that the case is incredibly important,” says Martin Munk Christensen, digital strategist & client director at Sylvester Hvid & Co.

Christensen says that “fags” was even shouted at him and a colleague when they reinstalled the billboards.

“We’ll go out and set them up again. And if they are then demolished again, then we will have to go out and put them up again. We’ll keep setting them up until they stay put,” he said.

Strength in the face of adversity
Nevertheless, the Chr. Hansen fallout seems to have generated even greater support for the LGBT+ movement amongst Danish companies.

“We received around 25 percent more inquiries and expressions of interest from potential sponsors this year, compared to last,” the organising chair of Copenhagen Pride Benjamin Hansen told TV2.

LGBT+ Denmark salutes rebellious Chr. Hansen employees
LGBT+ Denmark has awarded its annual Årets Laks (Salmon of the Year) prize to the employees of Chr. Hansen “who, either visibly or behind the lines, have had the courage to criticize the management’s withdrawal of support of Copenhagen Pride.”

The award, now in its 21st year, is a tribute to people and organizations who dare to swim against the current to fight for the rights of LGBT+ people.

“It is neither pleasant nor risk-free to criticize management in one’s workplace. After Chr. Hansen’s management removed their visible support for Copenhagen Pride without warning, 400 employees signed a letter of protest and insisted on an internal dialogue,” writes LGBT+ Denmark in a press release.