National Rifle Association members are destroying their super-expensive Yeti coolers because of a misunderstanding about a discount program.
On social media, NRA supporters are battering, blowing up and throwing away their premium camping products by the brand, after former NRA head Marion Hammer claimed that Yeti was ending the group's discount as part of a boycott.
This YouTube vigilantism is no small statement: Yeti coolers cost $250 to $1,300, depending on the size.
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Unfortunately, it's also a self-own. Yeti says there's been a mix-up.
The controversy began with a letter sent to NRA members by the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, which claimed Yeti had severed tied to the organization after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Former NRA head and current pro-gun lobbyist Marion P. Hammer said the company had suddenly “declined to do business with The NRA Foundation” and “refused to say why.”
"They will only say they will no longer sell products to The NRA Foundation," Hammer wrote. "That certainly isn’t sportsmanlike. In fact, YETI should be ashamed."
Yeti posted a statement on its Facebook page, saying it hadn't singled out the NRA but told several organizations it was "eliminating a group of outdated discount programs."
"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," the company said. "These facts directly contradict the inaccurate statement the NRA-ILA distributed on April 20."
The statement added: "the NRA-ILA stated … 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. … YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment."
Hammer didn't accept this explanation, asking the "Washington Post," "Isn’t that like eliminating a job position so you can get rid of an employee?"
At this point, the protest had spawned a hashtag — #YetiCoolerChallenge — and thus a life of its own.
Let me get this straight: #yeticoolerchallenge = fill $500 cooler with $20 of tannerite. Blow up cooler. Outcome: @Yeti keeps $500, @NRA foundation receives no benefit, and you are left with no cooler and a huge mess to clean up... seems reasonable.— Jim Richman (@JCSBLOGGER34) April 23, 2018
On Yeti's Facebook page, one man offered a diplomatic solution: "Hey! Proud NRA member here," wrote Nathaniel Prather. "Since I’m not a thin skinned wussy who boycotts everything that upsets me in the least, of you are unhappy with Yeti and want to destroy your cooler that is all of the sudden overpriced, I will GLADLY take it off your hands! Can’t have too many of them!"