Maxfield, the ultra-trendy West Hollywood boutique that caters to rock stars and edgy actors, was the target of a large and vocal anti-fur protest the day before the Grammy Awards.
The protest, organized by Fur Free West Hollywood and publicized via Twitter and Facebook, featured over 150 protestors – all clad in black, many wearing funereal veils and some holding signs with gory photos of slaughtered foxes. A large mournful group walked up and down the street frequented by celebrity shoppers -- Robertson Blvd -- carrying a coffin. Many held posters emblazoned with “Maxfield Lied, They Died.” More vocal protestors shouted “Boycott Maxfield!”
West Hollywood, which has already banned the declawing of cats, the sale of anilmals in pet stores, and classified pets as "companion animals," is the first city in the U.S. to ban the sale of fur. The law officially takes effect in September 2013. But at issue Saturday was an alleged reneg by Maxfield to voluntarily remove fur items early.
According to protest organizers, when the Fur Free West Hollywood campaign began last year, Maxfield - known for posh and perverse merch -- agreed to remove all fur items – even fur baby blankets and fur trimmed motor cycle helmets. Other WeHo stores that volunteered include Pleasure Chest, H. Lorenzo, and Zadig & Voltaire on Sunset Plaza.
But according to author Ellen Lavinthal of Animal Alliance, who was personally given the promise of early removal by Maxfield's owner Tommy Perse, the fur was initially removed but has been slowly slipping back onto the racks.
”There were five fur coats in there yesterday,” Lavinthal told THR. "I saw them."
According to Ed Buck, one of the founders of Fur Free West Hollywood, the protest was about reminding Maxfield of their promise.
“We’re out here today to thank West Hollywood for passing the law and to remind Maxfield about their early promise to remove fur from their store when we were in the process of passing that law," Buck said. "They broke that promise. So we are here to let them that we are watching.”
Religious leaders also took part in the demonstration. Michael Mata, a minister with the National Evangelical Latino Organization and Rabbi Jonathan Klein were on the sidewalk outside Maxfield. Both are part of the Faith Action for Animals and aspire to bring the faith movement into the animal rights movement
“We are working to support the fur ban as a matter of ethical concern. We want to remind people that all creation, all life, is precious," Klein said.
Nine ministers signed a letter that Klein and Mata presented to the store managers Saturday. Their response?
"They were very polite but they told us that they didn’t do it, they didn't know anything about a promise and they don’t know what the issues are because they are just workers,” Klein explained.
Asked about the protest and the complaints, a female store manager told THR, “They (the protestors) are out there exercising their first amendment rights," addng, "The law doesn’t take effect until September 2013.”
A quick scour of the store by this reporter uncovered no fur. Just $10,000 18th century carved skull pipes, quaint curios, grotesque figurines, high end jewelry, purses, luggage, and very expensive designer clothes and cutting edge shoes for men and women. All looked like suitable decor and garb for the store’s regular customers which have included Madonna, Prince, Keith Richard, Ringo Starr, Lenny Kravtiz, Adam Lambert, Colin Farrell and Johnny Depp.
According to Levinthal, there are upcoming plans are for another anti-fur protest outside Maxfield on Oscar weekend.