fbpx

Alan Cumming on PETA, animal rights, vegan Dilly Bar

Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming, left, wears his “Not a Dairy Queen” shirt, which called on the fast food company to offer a vegan option. Four years later, Cumming poses on the right with the vegan Dilly Bar from Dairy Queen. Photos: First image by Mike Ruiz. Second image from Alan Cumming.

Alan Cumming wore it loud and proud on his T-shirt — “Not a Dairy Queen.”

The Tony Award winning actor, who identifies as bisexual, wore the tongue-in-cheek, innuendo pink shirt as part of the 2016 campaign with the animal rights group PETA, who called on Dairy Queen to offer a vegan option at their fast food locations.

Cumming, 55, a longtime PETA member, said the “Not a Dairy Queen” campaign was “saucy” and clicked with his sensibility.

Advertisement

“PETA used that well known brand, Dairy Queen, with a well-known, slightly racy phrase with someone who pushes the envelope a little bit with wit,” Cumming in an interview. “I’m quite saucy. I’m willing to be self referential.”

PETA’s Dan Mathews remembers his drama mama in memoir ‘Like Crazy’

Advertisement

Cumming also sent Dairy Queen CEO John P. Gainor a letter, calling for the $2.5 billion company to follow in the footsteps of TCBY, Pinkberry, and Ben & Jerry’s and offer vegan ice cream.

“Shortly thereafter, the CEO replied and said they would do something,” said Cumming, who starred on the CBS political and legal drama “The Good Wife” for five seasons.

Non-diary Dilly Bar

Four years later, Dairy Queen did something. In May, Dairy Queen started selling a non dairy version of their popular Dilly Bar. The vegan frozen treat is made with coconut cream and covered with dark chocolate.

Advertisement

The company sent Cumming, who lives in New York City with his husband, Grant Shaffer, 55, a box of the vegan Dilly Bars.

“Things sometimes take a little longer,” Cumming said. “ Good things that don’t happen immediately doesn’t mean they are not good ideas.”

Cumming and Shaffer ate their Dilly Bars for dessert. How did they taste?

Advertisement

“They were delicious,” Cumming said. “They were epic.”

Animal rights

Since going vegan in December 2011, Cumming has worked with PETA on several issues.

PETA awarded Cumming its Humanitarian Award in 2017.

Advertisement

Queer activism

Cumming has been recognized for his work with other social justice issues.

In March 2005, Cumming received the Vito Russo Award from GLAAD for outstanding contributions toward eliminating homophobia.

Four month later, Cumming received the Human Right Campaign’s Humanitarian Award in San Francisco.

Advertisement

Part of PETA’s “Not a Dairy Queen” campaign included booths at LGBTQ Pride events and festivals across the country, “to show our support for the rights of all individuals to be free from oppression.”

‘Not a Dairy Queen’

As part of the group’s outreach promoting vegan eating, the booths featured giant posters of Cumming in his fabulous pink “Not a Dairy Queen.”

The racy slogan and campaign were the brainchild of Dan Mathews, PETA’s  vice president of campaigns. Mathews is the creative force behind many of PETA’s colorful crusades.

Advertisement

“I’ve used the line ‘I’m not a dairy queen’ for years whenever anyone offered me ice cream or cheese,” Mathews said. “It’s more fun than just saying , ‘No thanks. I’m vegan.’ The conversations that ensue about animal rights start off on a funny note, which I find a much better lure to engage people.”

Mathews and Cumming have been friends for years, and the campaign was perfect for the actor.

“It just seemed like an obvious way to get people’s attention, especially at PETA’s Pride tables, where we had stand-up cardboard cutouts of Alan in the shirt,” Mathews said. “Nobody could resist posing with it and taking a leaflet.”

Advertisement

Cumming adds: “You’ve got to be clever, and the campaign was clever.”

Advertisement

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!