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Focus On The Family Disappointed That TOMS Footwear Doesn’t Hate Gays As Much As They Do

Hipster shoe company TOMS originally teamed up with the Focus on the Family (a group that has compared gays to prostitutes, pedophiles, voyeurs, adulterers and zoophiliacs) to help distribute shoes in Africa. A simple Google search would have told TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie all about FOTF’s vigorously anti-gay positions, but he either didn’t do it or didn’t care. But now that people have begun publicizing the TOMS-FOTF connection, Mycoskie has distanced his company from FOTF… and FOTF aren’t exactly thrilled about it.

In a weekend statement, Mycoskie said:

“Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family’s beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company’s part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly.

Furthermore, contrary to what has been reported, Focus on the Family is not a TOMS giving partner.

So there is no misunderstanding created by this mistake, let me clearly state that both TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all. That belief is a core value of the
company and of which we are most proud.”

Mycoskie had also recorded a radio interview with FOTF President Jim Daly which FOTF hoped to broadcast. But now that Mycoskie has gotten bad press, Focus on the Family worries that TOMS may renege on that too:

By contract, TOMS has the right… but we have yet to hear directly from Blake or anyone at TOMS about this situation.”
 
Daly admitted he was “a little saddened” by the vitriolic response of those whose protests led Mycoskie to distance himself from Focus.
 
“This is an unfortunate statement about the culture we live in, when an organization like ours is deemed unfit to help children in need simply because we hold to biblical beliefs about marriage and family,” he said. “It’s also a chilling statement about the future of the culture we live in. We have to wonder: What will someone decide we’re unfit to do next?

Yes indeed, FOTF. What if someone decides you’re unfit to give blood, get married, raise a kid, help financially and medically support the people you love, or keep a job just because of who you are?!! That would suck, wouldn’t it?

There’s a lot more to the statement about bringing homes closer to Jesus Love etc. but why bother?

So good job, TOMS. Better late than never. Now, what can we do about the 600+ other American companies still supporting other anti-gay hate groups?

By:           Daniel Villarreal
On:           Jul 11, 2011
Tagged: , , ,
  • 24 Comments
    • ibarra
      ibarra

      right now a bunch of hipsters and hipster wannabes are enjoying a big sigh of relief.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 1:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • christopher di spirito
      christopher di spirito

      TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie has his head up his ass for this.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • t2
      t2

      Toms are ugly anyway.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FreddyMertz
      FreddyMertz

      Someone correct me..but didn’t I read somewhere that FOTF’s Tony Perkins has dealings (or has had) with the KKK?

      Jul 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • McMike
      McMike

      WTF? Would bigots stop using God as their excuse to hate others?

      They’re going to be in for one hell of a rude awakening when they finally meet their Maker.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Abirdwillingtobeitself
      Abirdwillingtobeitself

      @t2: True, but at least they’re not as ugly as Crocs.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 3:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Abirdwillingtobeitself
      Abirdwillingtobeitself

      Oh. And I’m sure that TOMS doesn’t mind the publicity they got from ending the agreement with FOTF, which they wouldn’t have had if they didn’t partner with them in the first place.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • RomanHans
      RomanHans

      We need to raise the bar for people who act against the gay community. Every day another idiot apologizes — for pairing with Focus on the Family, for calling somebody “homo” — and everybody acts like it’s okay. No, we need reparations.

      In this case, Mr. Mycoskie abetted a hate group. “Gosh,” he says, “I wouldn’t have if I’d known!” Not good enough. Because now Focus on the Family has more ammunition to attract followers: video of Mr. Mycoskie supporting their cause.

      What would counteract this? Not that difficult. How about a non-mush-mouth apology for a start? The man doesn’t even say what about FOTF he disagrees with, or said a word close to LBGT. And how about doing something for our side?

      Mr. Mycoskie has benefited from the belief that a charitable, ecological company probably has liberal left wing beliefs. Mr. Mycoskie has shot that idea out of the water. Me, until I hear more from him, I’m going to assume he’s a FOTF fan who apologized just because he was caught, and I’m going to urge all my friends to stay away from his footwear.

      (As for the idiots on other websites who say his anti-gay actions are nothing compared to the free footwear he gives to African children, sorry, but I don’t have a morality scale. I’m not going to give evil a wash because there’s also some good.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      Groups like Focus on the Family & NOM, etc. concoct such wholesome-sounding names so that you can’t sniff out their real agenda.

      Two minutes researching FoTF would’ve kept TOMS from getting called out by us, from reneging on whatever they promised FOTF, & from getting caught nekkid in the harshly lit middle of a vicious culture war.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Abirdwillingtobeitself
      Abirdwillingtobeitself

      @RomanHans: The apology could have been more precise about which “beliefs” of FOTF’s were bad, but I don’t think it was as bad as being mushy. Mycoskie said he believes in equal human and civil rights. It doesn’t seem possible to say that without supporting gay marriage, hospital visitation rights, etc.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • maria
      maria

      Hilarious postings here….and James Dobson in the pic above isnt even the President of FOTF any longer….your out of touch…

      Jul 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • One of the CA 36,000
      One of the CA 36,000

      Hey, Mycoskie is a practicing Southern Baptist!! We should be thankful he thinks us hom-hom-[ick]hommoseckules shouldn’t be summarily executed in the streets, like most Southern Baptists do!

      His douchy apology is, sorry, inadequate. I don’t really believe he didn’t know Focus on the Family is a right-wing Christianist hate group. He was warned two weeks before this Hatefest that FoF is a hate group. And still he went!

      Sure, he does some really good deeds. Giving shoes to poor kids around the world is a very nice thing. But giving any legitimacy to an organization who uses lies and deceit to demonize law-abiding American citizens is downright evil.

      The boycott is ON. Don’t buy TOMS shoes. They’re run by an idiot Christianist homophobe, AND they’re butt-ugly. Don’t burnish that douchebag cred by giving in to the hipster peer pressure. DON’T BUY TOMS SHOES!!

      Jul 11, 2011 at 4:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • One of the CA 36,000
      One of the CA 36,000

      @maria: Ahh, the Christianist pro-TOMS trolls are out in force, trying to make these jerks out as “victims”.

      Go away, little girl. And LEARN TO SPELL. Proper use of apostrophes, as well as basic knowledge of English grammar, might get you a better job than your current position of Idiot Girlfriend of Camaro-Driving Mullet-Wearing Tool and/or “Itchy Kitty Gentlemen’s Club” Pole Dancer and/or Wal-Mart Part-Time Backup Greeter.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 4:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thom Watson
      Thom Watson

      This piece at LA Weekly http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2011/07/toms_focus_on_the_family.php suggests that this isn’t the first time Mycoskie and TOMS have been involved with anti-LGBT organizations:

      “Secondly, Mycoskie is no stranger to the evangelical Christian world, in which FOTF is widely known as a powerhouse.

      “In response to Mycoskie’s apology, Focus on the Family points out in a recent blog post (or tries to throw him under the bus) that the TOMS founder visited and held a TOMS-related event at Texas-based Abilene Christian University last year.

      “That college refused to allow a gay-straight alliance to form and was featured in a recent New York Times article titled ‘Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity.’

      “Mycoskie also accepted a 2010 invitation to speak with members of Willow Creek Community Church, a mega-church in Illinois led by senior pastor Bill Hybels. That church promotes the idea that gays can change and become straight. Willow Creek also suggests that if gays can’t do that, they should be celibate.

      “Soulforce targeted Willow Creek and Bill Hybels during a 2008 national tour, which sought to educate leading evangelical ministers in the United States on gay issues.”

      I remain suspicious of Mycoskie’s and his company’s beliefs and motives here, given how disingenuous it was to expect us to believe that neither he nor anyone else at his company vetted Focus on the Family before agreeing to appear with them, and especially given an apology that can’t bring itself to utter the words gay or lesbian, or to point out just how exactly he and his company support equal human rights for all, but I was never a TOMS customer anyway and wouldn’t become one regardless of whether Mycoskie is anti-gay or not.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • maria
      maria

      Is that the best you got?…LOL…your response proves my point…

      Jul 11, 2011 at 6:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DS
      DS

      @FreddyMertz: Tony Perkins, while running for Senate in Louisiana, allegedly purchased a mailing list from David Duke. It’s not surprising that Perkins would think that he would appeal to the same group of people. lol

      http://www.rightwingwatch.org

      Jul 11, 2011 at 6:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffree
      Jeffree

      @maria: Nothing proves your point, because you don’t have one. Please allow the adults to converse while you study for your GED. I hear the third time’s a charm!

      Jul 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike
      Mike

      something is fishy here. Any progressive worth his salt knows damn well who fotf is. He either knew and is apologizing because he got caught or is a poser.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 7:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • UWSguy
      UWSguy

      R14 Thom—good point. There’s more to this connection that meets the eye

      Jul 11, 2011 at 8:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jakey
      Jakey

      @ibarra: Haha, seriously. “First Brooklyn Without Limits, now this? Where do I get hipster shoes NOW?”

      I agree it seems more like he’s sorry it was noticed and not that he was completely oblivious to who FOTF is. But you know, if he’s cutting off ties and publicly disagreeing with them on LGBT issues anyway…hey, who would have imagined a world where a company does that to improve their public image?

      Jul 11, 2011 at 8:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • randy
      randy

      The “apology” is total bullshit. From LA Weekly:
      “In response to Mycoskie’s apology, Focus on the Family points out in a recent blog post (or tries to throw him under the bus) that the TOMS founder visited and held a TOMS-related event at Texas-based Abilene Christian University last year.

      That college refused to allow a gay-straight alliance to form and was featured in a recent New York Times article titled “Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity.”

      Mycoskie also accepted a 2010 invitation to speak with members of Willow Creek Community Church, a mega-church in Illinois led by senior pastor Bill Hybels. That church promotes the idea that gays can change and become straight. Willow Creek also suggests that if gays can’t do that, they should be celibate.

      Soulforce targeted Willow Creek and Bill Hybels during a 2008 national tour, which sought to educate leading evangelical ministers in the United States on gay issues.

      If Mycoskie would have turned down Focus on the Family, why didn’t he do the same for Willow Creek and Abilene Christian University? Did he not vet them either? Or did he not really care all that much about their policies toward gays?”

      Furthermore, a comment later in the blog states that Mycoskie was warned TWO WEEKS prior to the speaking engagement on his own personal blog that FOTF is a anti-gay organization. The commentator notes that Mycoskie responded to comments both before and and after that one, so he obviously read it, but did not respond to it.

      Add all that to the fact that he can’t bring himself to actually say that gays and lesbians deserve the same rights as everyone, and you have a fucking homophobe who is only embarrassed that his anti-gay beliefs were exposed.

      It would be shamefull for any gay person to wear his shoes. Perhaps a little bonfire in front of his offices with everyone throwing their TOMS in to it might finally get his attention.

      Jul 11, 2011 at 8:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Darkness
      Darkness

      Just wondering… am I the only one who wonders why thousands of children in African countries who will now NOT be getting a pair of shoes from FOTF is somehow a good thing? I disagree with the way they view us, but… really… this shoes for Africa campaign had nothing to do with us…

      Jul 12, 2011 at 6:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jon
      jon

      wannabe hipsters always set my gaydar off…for real hipsters don’t …it’s weird

      Jul 12, 2011 at 8:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Codswallop
      Codswallop

      @Darkness: Some Religious Right figures have picked this “Those awful gays don’t want kids in Africa to have shoes!” bullshit and it’s NOT going to fly. NO ONE has said anything against shoes for Africa, just TOMS decisions to join up with FOTF thus giving tacit approval to all their activities, which in the US consists of opposing any and all gay rights. (And god only knows what they’re up to in Africa, where anti-gay legislation is currently a major concern.) It’s a red herring. No one would suggest giving the KKK money because they have a Toys For Tots program so why should anyone ignore FOTF’s virulent homophobia in this instance? There’s no reason why overseas charity should do damage at home.

      Does anyone believe that FOTF is the ONLY group distributing aid in Africa, or even the most widespread or efficient for that matter? From “Shoes For Africa” (which is pretty self-explanatory) to the Red Cross and Unicef, there are many fine charitable organizations who work in Africa, WITHOUT the expectation that recipients adopt Evangelical Christianity in exchange for the food, clothing, or shelter they receive.

      http://www.shoe4africa.org/
      http://www.unicef.org/
      http://www.redcross.org/

      Jul 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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