Amazon, Apple, Roku and YouTube are facing increased calls to drop the National Rifle Association ‘s TV channel from their streaming services, as backlash against the organization grows following a Florida school shooting last week that killed 17 people.
The NRA describes its NRA TV channel as a source “for the most comprehensive coverage of the Second Amendment and firearms related issues.” That includes everything from coverage of the Conservative Political Action Conference to far more incendiary videos that border on outright calls for violence, such as this:
A 2017 analysis of the channel by the nonprofit Media Matters noted that while NRA TV presents itself as a news outlet, its news and firearms coverage has diminished and instead it “has largely become a platform for far-right conservative talking points that are often unrelated to gun policy.”
For example, among a long list of other things, NRA TV hosts have said they’re happy to see the “rat bastards” in the media get “curb-stomped”; claimed that the head of Women’s March, a female empowerment group, “believes in overthrowing the U.S. government for Sharia law”; and said punishing gun owners who fail to store their firearms properly is “like shaming a rape survivor.”
On Thursday, Brad Chase ― a friend of Daniel Reed, the father of a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who survived the shooting ― started a Change.org petition urging Amazon to drop the channel.
The NRA has long ignored its role in promoting gun violence and betrayed the names of good and responsible gun owners. From a Change.org petition urging Amazon to drop NRA TV
Chase noted he fully supports the First Amendment and has no problem with the NRA pushing its content on its own website. In his eyes, the real absurdity is companies like Amazon giving them an unchecked conduit into American homes.
“The NRA has long ignored its role in promoting gun violence and betrayed the names of good and responsible gun owners,” Chase wrote on the petition’s page. “It’s time to hold them, and their partners, accountable … a company like Amazon should not be spreading their message.”
Activists rallying around #StopNRAmazon sent the hashtag trending on Twitter Thursday. #DumpNRATV circulated as well, aided by the advocacy group Mom’s Demand Action, which is also calling for the companies to stop offering the channel.
“NRATV is home to the NRA’s most dangerous and violence-inciting propaganda,” Shannon Watts, the group’s founder, said in a release. “It’s time for tech leaders to acknowledge their role in helping the NRA spread this dangerous content and cut it out.”
“We demand that Apple, Amazon, AT&T’s DIRECTV, Google and Roku all dump NRATV once and for all,” she said.
Amazon, Apple and YouTube did not respond to a request for comment Friday.
A Roku spokeswoman told HuffPost the company operates “an open streaming platform … representing a wide range of topics and viewpoints” and removes channels that violate its content policies. She noted Roku customers have the option of setting a PIN to prevent channels from being downloaded.
While the Silicon Valley companies are apparently sticking with the NRA, others have begun to jump ship. The First National Bank of Omaha said it would no longer issue NRA-branded Visa cards. The company that owns Enterprise, Alamo and National rental cars also said it would end its partnership with the group, as did MetLife, which offers home and auto insurance to NRA members.