DistribuTech has notified Out & About Newspaper (O&AN) that it will not be allowed back in Kroger or Harris Teeter stores in Middle Tennessee.
 
O&AN Publisher Jerry Jones was made aware of the decision on Monday, June 11, by DistribuTech Vice President Derek Duhame.
 
“Mr. Duhame informed me that he was enforcing the wishes and policy of Kroger and Harris Teeter stores,” Jones said. “He also said the two corporations would not approve publications that are controversial, religious or political.”

Jones said that Duhame told him "in the decision to remove Out & About Newspapers, DistribuTech was following our own policy, and in your situation not solely the policy and wishes of the retailer. On behalf of management, I sincerely apologize for any confusion or frustration this situation may have caused the publication and its readers."
 
Jones said the policy seemed to be arbitrarily applied. He pointed out that Southern Voice, a weekly gay newspaper based in Atlanta, uses Kroger stores and other DistribuTech distribution points. Jones also noted that for more than three years O&AN maintained an outdoor newspaper box at the Harris Teeter on 21st Avenue in Nashville. In March they were ordered by DistribuTech to remove the box and to pay rent to be inside the store in the free publication racks they managed.

O&AN has a contract with DistribuTech to distribute in 34 Kroger and three Harris Teeter stores in the Middle Tennessee area. Jones said that contract has now been canceled by DistribuTech.
 
Out & About Newspaper is a monthly newspaper that provides local news and information of interest to the Tennessee GLBT community. It meets the community standard as a “newsmagazine” as set forth by the Metro-Davidson County Public Library system, and it provides coverage of a wide variety of issues and events.
 
“We are not, as Kroger has told many of our readers who have called or emailed them, a publication with a specific ‘agenda,’” Jones said. “This is a clear case of discrimination based on the fact that we provide news for the Tennessee GLBT community. It’s astonishing that this level of corporate discrimination exists in today’s society. Out & About Newspaper does cater to a target audience, just like the Nashville Scene and Nashville Parent. But like those publications, our mission is to provide news and information for our community and to serve as a watchdog and newspaper of record for that community.”
  
GLBT business and equality leaders said they will continue with the current “Save Your Receipt(s)” campaign and encourage fair-minded people to shop at other stores.
 
“This decision underscores the need and importance of participating in the Save Your Receipt(s) campaign,” said Christopher Sanders, president of the Tennessee Equality Project (TEP). “We need to show Kroger the value of keeping fair-minded customers.”

Sanders said the two organizations are asking fair-minded people across the nation to save all their grocery receipts from any grocery except those owned by The Kroger Company and Harris Teeter from Friday, June 8, to Sunday, June 17, and then send those receipts in to be tallied.

The coalition in the campaign includes TEP, the Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce, the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition, Nashville Pride, Inc. and the Nashville HRC Streering Committee.

How to respond with your grocery receipts:

1.  Fax them to (615) 262-3167.  (Tape the receipt to a piece of standard paper first and then fax.)
2.  Scan them into a PDF file and email them to chris@tnequalityproject.com
3.  Mail them before June 12, to TEP at P.O. Box 330895, Nashville, TN 37203
3.  Drop the receipts off at one of these participating locations:

- First Unitarian Universalist Church at 1808 Woodmont Blvd in Nashville. Call (615) 383-5760 for office hours.

- OutLoud! Bookstore at 1703 Church Street in Nashville, Sun-Thu from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Fri-Sat 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

- Tribe at 1517 Church Street in Nashville

- Lucky's Garage at 207 14th Ave. North in Nashville (behind Hollywood Hustler) - Tue., Wed. & Thus. 5 p.m. – 2 a.m.; Fri. 5 p.m. – 3 a.m.; Sat. 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.; Sun. 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.

- Blue Gene's at 1715 Church Street in Nashville

- Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition. P.O. Box 92335, Nashville, TN 37209, www.ttgpac.comttgpac@aol.com, 615-293-6199
 
- Nashville Pride

- Nashville HRC Steering Committee

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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