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Monday, July 27, 2015


The NOH8 campaign is currently on a tour of three European cities thanks to sponsorship from online games company King – the brand behind the phenomenally popular Candy Crush Saga and Farm Heroes, among hundreds of other games.

King was originally founded in Stockholm in 2003. It experienced stratospheric growth this decade following the phenomenal success of Candy Crush Saga. It now employs approximately 1,400 people worldwide.

However, this current initiative goes beyond a mere desire to demonstrate that the company values diversity and inclusion. It came about after one of its own staff members experienced a homophobic assault last year.

The staff member concerned is based in Europe and wishes to remain anonymous. Thankfully, he made a quick physical recovery and was able to soon resume work, but his colleagues were shaken by the incident.

‘At the time, a lot of us at King were shocked and felt helpless,’ says tech engineer Isaac Trumbo.

Trumbo, who joined the company in early 2014, is involved in King’s LGBT employee network: Royal LGBT and friends.

‘Everyone was asking whether they could do something, to show that we were not OK with this, and to show solidarity with him, so I thought about the NOH8 campaign.

‘I used to live in California and I was aware of it from very early on, and I knew that the campaign stood for equality.

‘I also knew that people involved with the photographs said that it was an amazing experience and that it was a form of activism that everyone could get behind. So I contacted them and they were willing to collaborate with us and that’s how it came about.’

NOH8 was launched in California in 2008 as a reaction to Prop 8 – the legislation barring same-sex marriage in the state.

It was launched by photographer celebrity photographerAdam Bouska and partner Jeff Parshley. Since that time, the ‘silent protest’ has grown to include thousands of photos of supporters – all with duct tape over their mouth and the NOH8 logo on their face.

King helped the NOH8 team travel to Europe. They did a photo session at King’s offices in Covent Garden on Wednesday, which was open to employees and members of the public.

There will be a second session in Barcelona’s W Hotel on Sunday (26 July) and then on Tuesday (28 July) at the Nordic Light Hotel in Stockholm; it’s the first time NOH8 have done photos in Spain or Sweden. Members of the public can simply turn up to be photographed but should wear a white shirt.

Participants will need to pay a small fee to be photographed by Bouska (around $38/€35 for a solo portrait).

Money raised from the photo sessions will cover minimum expenses and go towards helping NOH8, a registered non-profit organization continue its work in highlighting discrimination.

‘They’re just great people and they do a great job with the people they’re photographing. It’s a pleasure to be collaborating with them,’ says Trumbo, who is accompanying them to each European destination.

Jeff Parshley told Gay Star Business that he and Bouska were still blown away by how NOH8 resonated with people.

‘As the founders, it still amazes us when the message of NOH8 is recognized around the world.

‘Since we are entrenched in the daily operations we sometimes forget how much it has grown since its inception. We have created a massive facade on the outside yet, to us, the campaign is just beginning and still very grass roots.

‘The global message of anti-bullying and anti-discrimination is very important. We are just happy people around the world choose the NOH8 Campaign as their outlet to speak out and show support for equality world wide.’

He also said that despite the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage in the US, much more needs to be done. Accordingly, NOH8 had evolved since its inception, ‘to encompass any form of discrimination or inequality of any kind.

‘The message of NOH8 can be interpreted in so many different ways and for so many different reasons and we love that. We are all different and we all deserve to be treated equally in all aspects of life.’


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