YETI Drops NRA — A Knee-Jerk Political Reaction?

By Ace Luciano published on in Consumer Information, General, News

If you’ve been in social media “jail,” or on a temporary break from Facebook and the national news, you may not have heard that YETI severed its ties with the National Rifle Association, at the cost of a significant amount of controversy. The issue was brought to light by a letter from NRA director and past president Marion Hammer.

“For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.”

YETI boycott banner

Gun owners have resorted to destroying expensive YETI coolers in protest.

These Foundation events raise money to support youth programs and educational programs nationwide. The youth of America who benefit from these programs are the future hunters, hikers, fishermen/women, bikers, campers, wildlife photographers, mountain climbers, sportsmen/women and conservationists who will protect our natural resources and recreational lands.

Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI declined to do business with The NRA Foundation saying it no longer wish to be an NRA vendor and refused to say why. YETI will only say it will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation. That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed.YETI has declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities. These activities enable them to appreciate America and enjoy our natural resources with wholesome and healthy outdoor recreational and educational programs.

The NRA Foundation is 501(c)(3) non-profit, charitable organization.

In this day and age, information is power. We thought you needed this information.”

This caused a social media uprising with noticeable silence from Yeti for a period of several days. Yeti responded Sunday evening/Monday morning with the following:

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ago, YETI notified the NRA Foundation, as well as a number of other organizations, that we were eliminating a group of outdated discounting programs,” explained YETI in a statement sent to The Inertia.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.

Furthermore, 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.

YETI’s competitors were quick to act, with Pelican offering a $10 donation to the NRA and a free 20 oz. tumbler to anyone that purchased its coolers, and YETI Nemesis, RTIC, placed a photo of the Second Amendment on ita profiles across social media.

After much digging and many calls and messages, we recently acquired the following information—an additional quote from Marion Hammer-regarding the YETI/NRA back and forth.

“YETI severed ties with the NRA and is now engaging in damage control after a backlash from many of its customers. In early March, YETI refused to place a previously negotiated order from the NRA-ILA, citing ‘recent events’ as the reason—a clear reference to the tragedy in Parkland, Florida.

YETI then delivered notice to the NRA Foundation that it was terminating a 7-year agreement and demanded that the NRA remove the YETI name and logo from all NRA digital assets, as well as refraining from using any YETI trademarks in future print material. While YETI is trying to spin the story otherwise, those are the facts.

While YETI can choose to run from the NRA, it can’t run from the facts. Whether this is due to the recent cancellation of its IPO from its NYC owners is a question only YETI can answer.”

Note:

Numerous attempts made to contact YETI, resulting in our being referred to YETI’s PR person, who would only furnish its previously quoted response.

Now, there is another, new response circulating the web to YETI from Fletcher’s Outdoors—one that could be a glimpse into what could be devastating financial consequences for one of the outdoor industry’s major brands:

We at Fletchers Outdoors have pressed Yeti for statements and answers since early Monday morning. An email was circulated on Monday, addressed to Yeti managers, NRA Foundation, National Shooting Sports Foundation executives, Fletchers buy group executives and local press Andalusia Star News Michele Cox Gerlach and WAAO Blaine Wilson, written by M Anthony King. Yeti, in damage control mode, called M Anthony King ahead of its released statement Monday afternoon. King told them YETI’s statement did not explain its actions and lacked substance. The NRA has rebuked the YETI statement today.

Fletchers Outdoors has asked its buying group to revoke its vendor agreement with Yeti, an estimated $150 million value in some 500 locations in the U.S. and Canada.

We have frozen all orders with Yeti and will reject any shipments in transit. We will replace them with a firearm-friendly cooler manufacturer. Our current inventory of Yeti products will be flushed through the store, by sales or any other method necessary. Additionally, and for the record, we will continue to sell all legal firearms and ammunition to our customers. We will not destroy any firearms. Furthermore, we will not do business with any company, entity, or person that diminishes the Second Amendment rights of the American people.
Best Regards & Merica”

AK

One must ask, “Why would companies with such a broad base of hunters and shooters distance themselves from the NRA, the oldest civil rights organization in the U.S.?”

Yeti Cooler with #Boycott YETI

America’s hunters, shooters and gun owners are extremely loyal to their base and to companies they perceive are “on their side.”

In the end, I believe we will chalk this one up as another win for America’s supporters of the Second Amendment.

You make the call. Did YETI pull away from the NRA and Second Amendment for political reasons or was this simply a case of bad timing and optics? Share your answers in the comment section.

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Comments (141)

  • Jim Lever

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    Was going to buy my offshore fishing buddy a couple of YETI coolers. Not now. I’m buying him a stainless Marlin Marine 12ga pump and renewing his NRAmembership. Shame on this company. You ought to hear all the fishing guides around Steinhatchee, FL; none of us can believe what YETI has done. Maybe they like the idea of being offshore without any real means of self defense but we don’t — and we won’t be.

    Reply

    • S.S

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      Just like the attacks with vehicles mowing down our citizens those vehicles are not being boycotted and “sold” to the media as assault weapons and are still being sold on the market! The media is a sellout! We all know that! We just need to stay strong and stay together as one. It’s great to have supporters in the market but one that sells out to the other side is best left on the other side (the wrong side).

      Reply

  • Terry Garland

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    I say God Bless the NRA and God bless Fletcher Outdoors. The NRA is the only organization protecting the 2nd amendment, if Yeti wants to do this to the hunters and shooters who made them what they are today, then I say let them go broke. This was stupid on Yeti’s behalf, but I was a member of the NRA long before Yeti ever came along and I will still be a proud NRA member when ever Yeti is bankrupt. Let them go, I can find a new cooler, But No one else will protect the 2nd amendment like the NRA does.

    Reply

  • Richard Dame

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    Sorry Yeti, you’ve crossed a line that says to me, “Yeti doesn’t support the US Constitution”, so I say to you, I’ll not buy from someone who doesn’t.
    Hopefully the Navy Exchanges will drop you as a vendor as well.

    Reply

  • Michael Lynch

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    YETI. Another good reason not to buy one of their overpriced coolers. Just a billboard for people to show that they have more money than sense. Talk about paying for a name? This is the textbook definition.

    Reply

  • James V Collins

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    Maybe the CEO of Yeti should have called the NFL commissioner and asked his opinion about spitting on your customer base.

    Reply

  • Festus

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    Sheesh . . . For several years, I had wondered what YETI meant. Now, I know: Sore dick!

    Reply

  • Eugene Moisey

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    I agree with YETI, I don’t want anything to do with the NRA. Can I send my YETI products back that were endorsed by the NRA to the company for a complete refund. I can’t stand looking at them.

    Reply

    • Damon Burch

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      Troll somewhere else

      Reply

    • Michael Sperry

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      Ha ha. May you be visited by a burglar in the night and try to beat him and his knife off with the Yeti cooler.

      Reply

  • Gene Herod

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    When the news broke, I sent Yeti a note on face book suggesting that they attend the NRA convention in Dallas and see who makes up the NRA, rather that bad mouthing the NRA, They have not bothered to respond to my note.

    Reply

  • TC

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    An overview of Yeti’s Ambassadors demonstrates their target customers may not be hunters but snow sports, rodeo, fisherman and other outdoor enthusiasts. What should be more troubling about a brand/company is the philosophy of its owners. This must have been a calculated decision based on political correctness and sales, causing Yeti’s governing board to choose sides. Yeti, like many other entities failed to realize that it would have been wise not to force consumers who normally choose products based on quality and value, to now choose based on their philosophical convictions. Even if Yeti retracts and apologizes, my friends, family and I will no longer purchase Yeti products as the company’s governing board failed in it’s obligation to remain just a cooler company and to stay out of partisan politics. I feel badly for the Yeti employees who proudly manufacture their “Made in America” product only to have their governing board make such a selfish and UN-American decision.

    Reply

  • Barry Evans

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    I’ve always thought that the people at YETI were a tad off. Now I’m sure of it.

    Reply

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