YETI, a brand famous for its super-engineered coolers and other outdoor gear, was publicly lambasted late last week and over the weekend for purportedly cutting ties with the National Rifle Association. But, in a Monday statement, YETI has sought to clarify that an April 20th memo circulated by the NRA is factually inaccurate.
“A few weeks ago, YETI notified the NRA Foundation, as well as a number of other organizations, that we were eliminating a group of outdated discounting programs,” explained YETI in a statement sent to The Inertia. “When we notified the NRA Foundation and the other organizations of this change, YETI explained that we were offering them an alternative customization program broadly available to consumers and organizations, including the NRA Foundation. These facts directly contradict the inaccurate statement the NRA-ILA distributed on April 20.”
In said statement, the NRA-ILA claimed that YETI suddenly, and without prior notice, “Declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor and refused to say why.” The NRA then circulated the statement to its membership, resulting in a maelstrom of angry comments across YETI’s social media accounts claiming the brand was isolating its core customer base.
YETI’s response goes on to emphasize the brand’s commitment to its loyal customers:
“Further, the NRA-ILA stated in that same public communication that ‘[YETI has] declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.’ Nothing is further from the truth. YETI was founded more than 10 years ago with a passion for the outdoors, and over the course of our history we have actively and enthusiastically supported hunters, anglers and the broader outdoor community. We have been devoted to and will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration. From our website to our film footage and from our social media posts to our ambassadors, YETI has always prominently featured hunters pursuing their passions. Moreover, YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment.”
The statement from the NRA, the resulting social media backlash, and, now, official statement from YETI all illustrate the NRA’s ability to galvanize its constituents. They also signal a certain sensitivity among gun owners to brands pulling their NRA support, especially in the wake of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida that spurred the “Never Again” movement.
Major corporations from Walmart to REI have either changed their policy on firearms sales or ended the sale of products under the same umbrella company as firearms and ammo manufacturers. That may be why the NRA’s Friday statement was so believable and consequently drummed up so much angst.
For now, the NRA has yet to respond to YETI’s most recent statement. But being that YETI claims, “the facts directly contradict [the NRA’s] statement,” it’s likely they will.