Once upon a time, it was difficult for people to know the politics of the men and women behind the corporations of the world. We didn’t know and, frankly, we rarely cared. They made a product, we bought the product, and if we liked the product, we bought more of it. That was the natural order of things.
But in this day and age, politics is life for people. It’s become imperative that companies let the politics of the people leading it serve as a flag for all to see. It’s gone from a thing to be avoided to something of a marketing gimmick.
It’s because of that kind of thing that we see yet another company become blatantly anti-gun.
Affecting change can be a time consuming and, unfortunately, expensive process, especially where the federal government is concerned. But this week, one company has decided to help cover costs. On Tuesday, TOMS pledged $5 million to gun violence prevention organizations, and also announced its plan to promote civic activism among its customers.
“I think totally, within my lifetime, I’ve seen a shift in corporate social responsibility,” National Student Walkout organizer Winter Minissee, who is working on the campaign, tells Bustle. “Before, lots of corporations and [grant providers] weren’t necessarily standing up for issues that could be…divisive, or had anything to do with politics. It was kind of a forbidden land.”
She says that seeing a company tackle a political issue in the face of potential risks and backlash was inspiring, and that she hopes other companies will follow suit. TOMS said in a press release that the money will be split among groups like The Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, Everytown for Gun Safety, Faith in Action, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Live Free, March for Our Lives, and Moms Demand Action.
“We can’t afford to wait, so TOMS is following the lead of activists, students, and organizations and taking action to help end gun violence,” Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, tells Bustle. “We are proud to evolve our giving model and use all of our resources — our voices, our platform and our supporters —to amplify the urgency and do our part to end this horrific epidemic in America.”
TOMS follows Levi Strauss as companies fly their anti-gun banner high and proud.
Unlike Levi Strauss, TOMS doesn’t have an image that’s particularly tied to a pro-gun lifestyle in any way, shape, or form. Let’s face it; TOMS makes ugly, overpriced shoes that have always been more likely to appeal to the leftist Antifa supporter than someone who’s carrying a 1911 or a Glock.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s another company that is stepping out and proudly proclaiming themselves to be anti-gun.
This leads to the question of who’s next? Will it be someone who likely caters to the sensibilities of the anti-gun crowd to begin with, or will it be a brand that likes to market itself as rugged and individualist?
What I do know is that this is yet another company I’ll never spend a dime with for as long as they continue to engage in this crap.