Project SCUM was a "Sub Culture Urban Marketing" scheme proposed by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco (RJR) to sell cigarettes to members of the "alternative life style" areas of San Francisco, in particular the large number of gay people in Castro.
It was targeted by Truth, an anti-smoking campaign based at TheTruth.com, on the grounds that the project was designed to encourage more gay and homeless people to smoke. SF weekly reported:
"This is a hate crime, plain and simple," says Kathleen DeBold, who directs the Washington, D.C.-based Mautner Project for Lesbians With Cancer. "What else do you call it when a group thinks of gays and lesbians as "scum,' and then targets us with something that kills?"
San Francisco Supervisor Chris Daly, who represents the Tenderloin District, is equally upset. "It's racist, it's classist, it's oppressive. And it is really disheartening to hear. But I can't say that I am surprised. Low-income communities and people of color have always been derided and taken advantage of. Obviously, the tobacco companies feel like they can make money off other people's misery."