Los Angeles Kicks Off Week of Action Against Saks

Submitted by Animal Defense League Southern California:

Sunday, February 7, was the beginning of an international week of action against fur, and we knew the perfect way to kick it off: by returning to our friends at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverly Hills.

We’ve been to this Saks location many times before informing the public about the horrors of the fur industry, and yet the employees at this location seem immune to the suffering of animals. In fact, they are so unashamed by the crimes they perpetrate against American wildlife that they hire guards and lock their doors to close themselves off from our message about the reality of their actions.

No worries – we will just have to keep coming back until they understand.

And that is exactly how we started off the week of action against fur here in Los Angeles. As per usual, our protest was a victory before it even started, because Saks locked their doors as we were crossing the street. We still decided not to leave them disappointed, and stayed outside of the store peacefully exercising our First Amendment rights for the better part of two hours.

Every time we visit Saks and they shut down in this manner, the entire building feels like such a lonely ghost town. Don’t worry, Saks – we’ll be back soon to keep you company.

New Jersey Activists Disrupt Saks

Submitted by New Jersey Animal Save Movement:

On Sunday, January 31, a group of compassionate NJ activists, including several parents and children, walked as a group into Saks Off 5th within a mini-mall in Shrewsbury, NJ.  This action was well-planned and organized as a peaceful yet attention-grabbing disruption to send a strong clear message that animal torture and death in the name of fashion is unacceptable.

Upon arriving through the door of the store, the lead speaker, using a megaphone and holding a fake “dead skinned animal body,” spoke out about the truth behind the fur industry, emphasizing the pain and torture that animals endure such as vaginal and anal electrocution and being skinned alive. Security personnel hovered around the lead speaker but took no aggressive action. Additional activists spread out around the front of the store holding signs like “Marc Metrick has blood on his hands,” calling upon the CEO of Saks to go fur-free, as well as signs reading, “Fur is Dead,” and “Animals are Not Ours to Wear.” One activist held a monitor which played continuous video of graphic images of live animals like rabbits, wolves, coyotes, foxes, minks and chinchillas being restrained while their skins are painfully cut off their bodies, and other common practices within the fur industry.

Eventually this group of dedicated activists exited the store and formed a line outside the front door.  They continued speaking out through megaphones including loudly chanting “Stop the torture, stop the pain. Saks Fifth Avenue is to blame,” and “Saks has blood on their hands.” Activists chanted together, held signs and banners and brought attention to passersby and customers of Saks. Police officers were called and remained present with the activists for the duration of the protest appearing to do so to keep order and safety. The activist believe this was another step in the right direction toward a cruelty-free world for animals.

Miami Activists Mob Saks Fifth Avenue

Submitted by Miami activists:

On January 30, twenty-five activists gathered near Saks Fifth Avenue in Downtown Miami ready for action. We grabbed our signs, turned on our megaphones, and marched towards the Saks wing of the Brickell City Centre mall. Awaiting us, we found a panoply of guards and police, nearly ten at every store entrance. We knew then that it was going to be a fun day.

We began our peaceful and orderly protest on 8th St by the Saks valet area and entrance, and our impact was palpable. Our chants about the fur trade echoed through the downtown area. Our signs caught looks from countless drivers on this busy artery.

Witnessing our success, the sad, small men in uniform tripped over themselves trying to invent one reason after another why we could not stand on this public sidewalk. We finally tired of arguing, and decided to give them what they were asking for. Marching around the complex to 7th St, we found ourselves chanting by the side entrance of a mall courtyard full of customers enjoying lunch.

Seeing their error, the geniuses in blue went into conniptions. They immediately began threatening arrest, and when asked for cause, said that the people eating didn’t want to hear us. But the last time we checked, protesting on public property near a place of food consumption is not a crime in this country. With American flag patches on their uniforms, these cops and cop wannabes were in a frenzy to deny us our First Amendment rights. Their true objection was not the time, place, or manner of our protest – it was the protest itself. We were not about to be intimidated by these traitors, but realized once again that complying with their illegal requests was in fact to our advantage.

That’s because the remaining street was Miami Ave. On 8th, we had been able to make our message heard by the public. On 7th, by a select set of diners. But on Miami, our voices echoed through the entire mall courtyard.

We stuck around for another hour or so, with the mall cops scratching their heads and erratically throwing Red Bull-fueled tantrums. We knew they had lied to us about applicable laws in the prior areas, but had simply outfoxed them. (And thankfully, gathered their names for our attorneys, should they choose to lie to us and violate our rights in the future.) And our message rang through downtown Miami on behalf of animals on fur farms, with shoppers on every level of the mall coming to the side of the walkway to look down and see what we had to say. With all the harassment, we still kept the message 100% on the animals – all to the great embarrassment of Saks. One passerby even stopped to take a picture with us and show her support.

See you next time, Saks!

Victory: Alice + Olivia Gives up on Fur After 11 Days

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Yesterday, Alice + Olivia contacted the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade to say that they are going fur-free. After 18 actions and 11 days, we win.

In fact, A+O pulled all fur from its stores and website in the first week of our campaign, but refused to officially go fur free until today.

Stacey has bragged about using fur without remorse for years. An actual billionaire with unlimited resources to fight us. And it took her two weeks to decide that giving up part of her business was a better option than dealing with us.

And this is only the beginning.

A strategy for success
We were ready to take on Alice + Olivia’s executives, board members, investors, their other companies, even charities on the boards of which they sat. And we were ready to further diversify our tactics, within the bounds of the law. But we achieved success by focusing on A+O storefronts alone. The victory was thus the result of aspects of our strategy built into its architecture from the first day:

Coordinated national action
The animal rights movement is strongest when we work together. Our opponents are national and international. By choosing a common target and making it a focus for every city, we win. This victory was made possible by independent local groups in Chicago, Boston, New York, Atlanta, Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, Connecticut, Los Angeles, and Orange County.

Forceful and tactically diverse action
Alice + Olivia experienced 18 actions in 11 days. And we know of at least six more that were planned prior to our week of action against fur on February 7. Tactics ranged from a day of phone calls to chalking to disruptions to demonstrations to a special alarm-based action from a lone rabbit. One independent street art activist made “Wanted” posters of Stacey Bendet, but this victory came too quickly for them to put them up around her city. While we may not be able to maintain this pace with longer-term targets, the important take-away is that Alice + Olivia was under a state of siege. On Monday mornings, management’s email inboxes were full of reports from stores in different cities about “the activists.”

Results-based campaigning
We began as a few people with a theory. With results-based campaigning – winnable goals and smart strategy to achieve them – we build our movement and build momentum for future victories. Let’s break down these two goals to see if the theory holds up.

Building our movement
The Monique Lhuillier campaign began with only a few cities. After that victory, over a dozen cities were ready to take action. And our structure – total autonomy for local groups with our full backing and support – empowers local activists and ensures a diversity of tactics as we move into the future.

Building momentum for future victories
We beat Monique Lhuillier in 14 days. And after seeing what we achieved, Stacey Bendet – a designer with almost twenty times as many stores as Monique – went fur free in 11. Now, our reputation precedes us as we move to larger designers and retailers.

Onto the next
We will not achieve animal liberation with wishful thinking and positive intentions. We will achieve it by using incremental victories as stepping stones. We are knocking down the fur industry brick by brick, and together we will watch it crumble. Join us and make history.

Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade – United States

Atlanta Activists Give A+O a Surprise

Submitted by Atlanta activists:

Alice + Olivia has seen massive protests nationwide, but still will not commit to going fur-free. So we decided that the best way for us to relax on a winter Sunday afternoon would be to head over to their Atlanta boutique and express ourselves with our full capabilities.

When we arrived in Buckhead Village, we found that A+O had posted two guards outside of their store, one stationary and one roving. Clearly, the hard-hitting actions across the country in the prior two days had an impact, and our hearts filled with joy at the thought of increased overhead for animal abusers.

We’re not sure what A+O thought they were accomplishing, but they certainly didn’t darken our day. When we returned after some food and coffee, their hired goons had left. And we made our move.

Entering the store with megaphones blaring, our message was immediately clear: stop tormenting innocent animals on fur farms. We stayed inside chanting and educating employees until our friends in the Atlanta PD arrived and asked us to move our protest to the sidewalk out front.

Despite our compliance, the police couldn’t resist cooking up some trouble in an effort to intimidate us out of exercising our First Amendment rights. But their shenanigans disrupted store operations and called the entire block’s attention to A+O’s animal cruelty better than we could have hoped to on our own. Thanks, officers. See you next time.

Alice + Olivia, you know that fur is cruel and outdated. Go fur free.

Activist Disrupts Connecticut A+O While on Road Trip

Submitted by a vegan traveler:

While driving to visit my sister, I decided to stop by Alice + Olivia in Greenwich, Connecticut.  I couldn’t drive through a town that has an Alice + Olivia and not stop to disrupt their business.

One of my non activist friends went inside the store undercover to pretend to be shopping so that she could catch the disruption on video. Although she is not an activist, she knows how despicable the fur industry is and she was eager to help. 

I went in the store with my sign and message of compassion. I told the employees that we (animal rights activists) will peacefully protest at every store, in every city, until their CEO Stacey makes the compassionate decision to stop selling fur.  I peacefully walked out of the store  and then I then stood outside and chanted  with my megaphone.  Alice + Olivia’s neighbors deserve to know that they support the cruel and horrific  fur industry. 

While doing activism alone may seem brave, and it did take a lot of courage for me to do (I had to give myself a pep talk before) It is always safest when other activists are their to support you and have your back in case anything unexpected happens. 

Alice + Olivia,  please make the compassionate decision to go fur free!

Chicago Activists Demand A+O Go Fur Free

Submitted by Chicago activists:

Chicago activists rattled Alice + Olivia yesterday on the Magnificent Mile. Activists with Fur-Free Chicago attempted to deliver a sign with balloons attached to the retailer, urging them to make a public announcement that they are going fur-free, or that they would have to deal with being our main target. With a protest planned publicly for later in the day, the retailer had their door locked with a sign stating “3 customers inside at a time for your safety.” Yet, just days prior, this was not their policy when 7 activists took over the retail store to disrupt their normalized violence.

Despite this, the employee came to the door, allowing the activist to slide the “gift” into the door, then pushing it out the door when the activist quickly unwrapped the sign, turning on the alarm on and holding it in the window for the employee to see. We walked away while chanting, “Fur trade, death trade.”

Immediately, the retailer called the police. Which resulted in 8 Chicago Police officers on bicycles to arrive to the location, where they remained until our protest began two hours later. 

Two hours later, after attempting to occupy the retailer with the balloon drop, 11 activists joined together outside of the retailer, urging them to announce their commitment to no longer torturing animals. Again, the door was locked with a Sergeant inside for the entirety of our demo and 15 police officers standing in front of the retail store, awaiting our next moves.

Activists took turns speaking out against the retailer, pleading with them to announce that their days involved in the violence of animals for fur are over.  Activists started chalking the sidewalk outside of A+O, showing the public that the retailer profits off of blood, fear and pain. 

The activists escalated against A+O in order to further push the retailer to acknowledge their participation in animal violence and go fur-free. An activist draped in a faux fur coat passionately spoke out for the animals as a red smoke bomb went off representing the blood of animals. The activist draped in faux fur was doused in blood, as he emotionally pleaded with the retailer to leave animals alone. 

Dallas Activists Show up in Style to Alice + Olivia

Submitted by Texas Animal Freedom Fighters:

As it turns out, for those of us working on the Alice + Olivia Animal Cruelty Campaign, our reputation precedes us.

Today, January 23, 2021, when we arrived at the Highland Park Village outdoor mall, we found that the entrance nearest Alice + Olivia had been barricaded, that local police were stationed at every other entrance, that the sidewalks through the mall were being combed by more police, and that two private security guards were posted in front of the Alice + Olivia storefront. All for us peaceful protestors. Stacey, we are flattered.

Unlike animal abusers and their protectors in uniform, we activists are practiced at turning adversity into opportunity.

So while a few activists walked around the mall in pairs like shoppers, the rest of us piled into an Uber Black XL with signs and megaphones. The silly cops securing the mall perimeter were looking for a group of scruffy vegans on foot with protest gear, or in compact cars with bumper stickers. So as we entered in our Trojan horse, we didn’t receive a second look.

As the vehicle drove further into this nest of police, we waited for the right moment – and poured out directly in front of Alice + Olivia.

We handed off signs and megaphones to the waiting activists, and the demo started before we made it onto the sidewalk. Every pedestrian and store clerk in the mall turned and stared as we held A+O accountable for the heinous crimes they perpetrate against animals.

Aside from the store security, and the cop with them, the other officers were so busy guarding the entrances that there was nobody nearby when this raucous protest began in the heart of the mall. We managed to stall these geniuses for a full three minutes before they succeeded at kicking us off the property.

Perhaps Stacey Bendet believes that forcing us onto public streets will make us go away. But we will never go away, Stacey, until you go fur free. So we stayed on the street in front of the mall for another 45 minutes. To escort us across from the mall, the police shut down an entire street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in the neighborhood, and then kept an entire lane closed for the duration of our protest. As our five megaphones echoed through the streets, Alice + Olivia effectively couldn’t do business, owing to the many uniformed officers making their store look like the scene of a homicide.

Alice + Olivia thought they could intimidate us, but by blanketing the place with police and private security, the only people that they kept away were customers.

So let’s review, Stacey. We embarrassed you in front of an entire mall, despite literal barricades and a secure perimeter. We shut down a major traffic artery (or rather, the police did for us). In the neighborhood representing your largest customer base in the city, we turned the entire commercial center into a thunderous cacophony of chanting and speakouts against you.

Make the announcement.

A+O Doesn’t Want Smoke With Houston Activists

Submitted by Texas Animal Freedom Fighters:

On Friday, January 22, Texas Animal Freedom Fighters joined the fight against Alice + Olivia. We are demanding that they end their sale of fur and make a public announcement that they are going fur free.

We walked through the Highland Park Shopping Center outdoor mall, holding our megaphones and signs low until we rushed into the store, where another activist was already inside, posing as a shopper, to ensure we would get in.

This campaign is clearly having an impact, because the lone employee knew why we were there before we could even speak (or, rather, yell). In fact, this location had been receiving phone calls today as part of a national action. And just to make sure, we left behind some literature for her.

Even from within the store, our chanting was loud enough that pedestrians came to watch and film us through the window. And when security kicked us out, we just used that as an opportunity to attract even more attention to the animals that Alice + Olivia tortures inside of fur farms every day.

We let off a smoke flare, making us impossible to ignore for the entire block of the outdoor mall, as colored smoke billowed into the air in front of the store.

We stayed as long as we could before the guards finally bullied us into leaving the shopping center. The smoke flare was still going off as we walked the long distance to the public roadway, prompting stares from everyone, who listened to our chants and saw our signs about Alice + Olivia.

After the disruption, one new activist said, “Wow, I want to do another one of those.” Too bad there aren’t two Alice + Olivia stores in Houston. I guess we’ll just have to come back to this one – over and over, until they go fur free.

A+O Can’t Wash The Chalk Off Fast Enough in Los Angeles

Submitted by an independent activist in Los Angeles:

It’s been a week, and you know what that means – time to go chalk the Alice + Olivia Melrose store again.

On Friday, January 22, I showed up at dawn and left the sidewalks on all three sides of the store’s facade covered in a glowing rainbow of colors.

“A+O kill mink for vanity”
“Go fur free”

Chalking is fun and cheap. It is a low time commitment. It can be done solo or in a group. It is impermanent and safe.* And most importantly, it’s a great way to educate the public about Alice + Olivia’s animal cruelty.

See you soon for another art project, Alice + Olivia.

*[Note: CAFT USA does not control or endorse this independent author. Courts have found that chalking is protected by the First Amendment. Always research your local ordinances before any protest activity, and comply with applicable law.]