New York City’s St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee have had to back down and allow a group of gay NBC employees walk behind their own banner.
NBC broadcast the parade every year, and threatened to stop their coverage if an LBGT presence was not permitted. Confirmation from the committee is due to come later today.
NBC are known to be supportive of their gay employees, as have an existing gay group called Out @NBC Universal which is composed of gay staffers and supportive straight friends.
It follows the storm over Guinness owners Diageo pulling out of sponsoring the last parade, just a day before St Patrick’s day, due to no visible gay presence.
“Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year’s parade,” a statement read.
“As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”
LGBT activists protested along the 2014 parade route, with one group, Irish Queers, threatening legal action. NBC viewing figures dropped sharply, with only 213,200 tuning in.
New York’s parade is the oldest and largest St Patrick’s Day parade in the world, having run for the past 253 years.