Feb 28, 2018
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Amazon, Apple targeted by consumer boycott over NRA ties

Feb 28, 2018

The social media-fueled Grab Your Wallet campaign from 2017 is back with consumers now calling for the boycott of retailers affiliated with the NRA. Apple and Amazon are being targeted for streaming NRA TV.

Ethan Zuckerman, director of the Center for Civic Media at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explained to Bloomberg, "This is a problem that ought to be worked out in our legislature, but people are turning to corporations because it doesn’t seem like our legislators can get anything done."

He added that "People feel so powerless to change things, this is how they feel they can bring change. I’d expect we’re going to see a lot more of this."

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida school shooting, Amazon and Apple are on the front line of retailers being asked to sever ties with the NRA. The Grab Your Wallet activists are calling for a boycott of shopping and streaming on the retail giants' platforms. Neither retailer sells guns or ammunition.

Grab Your Wallet was founded on the premise of giving power to consumers who disagreed with the Trump administration. The group published a list of over 100 companies to boycott that directly did business with the Trump family and their brands.

Retailers on the list of companies that either carried Trump or Ivanka Trump product, or contributed to fundraising for the election, included Macy's, Bloomingdale's, TJMaxx, Dillard's, Saks Off Fifth and New Balance

Now the consumer movement has turned to Amazon and Apple. Both Amazon and AppleTV stream NRA TV. NRA TV broadcasts 22 original shows which, according to Grab Your Wallet, amount to "NRA propaganda".

Lawrence B. Glickman, professor of history at Cornell University, commented on the boycott to the New York Times. He said that it "just took, and took on a life of its own. It’s stunning — nothing like this has ever happened before with the NRA as far as I know.”

With social media, consumers are becoming more efficient in mobilizing and stating their social expectations for the companies they support. Across the fashion and beauty industries, consumers are demanding more socially conscious behaviour from the brands they patronize.

Despite being at the center of the consumer boycott over the NRA, neither Apple nor Amazon have commented.

On the other hand, 17 companies have already cut ties with the NRA since the Parkland, Florida shooting on February 14th. Most recently, Dick's Sporting Goods made the decision to pull all assault-style rifles from its hunt category.

Dick's had previously removed these guns from its main sporting goods stores but made the decision to pull back further by removing the rifles and ammunition from its specialty branded hunting stores. It also issued a company-wide policy that it will not sell guns to anyone under 21.

A consumer-led petition is also currently live on Change.org demanding Amazon sever its ties with the NRA and drop NRA TV or face further consumer backlash. The petition also claims that only 10 percent of gun owners are NRA members and that NRA TV does not accurately represent gun culture and its values. As of Wednesday the petition has 232,000 signatures.

Comments on the petition reveal numerous Prime Members who are prepared to cancel their subscriptions if NRA TV is not removed.

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