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?