The world's largest shipper (second-largest in the United States, according to Transport Topics), has been targeted with boycott threats because of its discounts of up to 26% to NRA members. Although more than a dozen other companies quickly stopped offering discounts and perks to NRA members, FedEx ($NYSE:FDX) has yet to change its discount structure.
On Monday, the company said in a statement, it "is a common carrier under Federal law and therefore does not and will not deny service or discriminate against any legal entity regardless of their policy positions or political views." FedEx offers discounts to many small and large companies and organizations (yet we noticed the ACLU is not among the chosen few).
In the statement, FedEx added that it does not support the proliferation of semi-automatic weapons, stating, "FedEx opposes assault rifles being in the hands of civilians," and it went further by addressing the recent mass shooting specifically -- "FedEx believes urgent action is required at the local, state, and Federal level to protect schools and students from incidents such as the horrific tragedy in Florida on February 14th."
Then on Tuesday, ThinkProgress revealed that FedEx was secretly giving special treatment to gun manufacturers as well as the NRA:
"FedEx has secretly agreed to bend its own rules on gun shipments for powerful forces in the gun industry, including all major gun manufacturers and the NRA itself."
How is this controversy affecting FedEx's business?
Since the #BoycottFedEx movement began building Twitter traction on Feb. 25, that's translated into a flurry of activity in FedEx's twitter followers and traffic, as well as its Facebook following and "talked about" counts that we track here at Thinknum Media:
But despite that, the company's stock price has not been significantly affected. It's business as usual for the shipping giant, whose stock price has tracked with the S&P 500 since the controversy began.
Other companies that have decided not to support the NRA because of the widespread backlash include:
- United Airlines
- Enterprise Holdings
- (+subsidiaries: Alamo and National)
- First National Bank of Omaha (not renewing contract for NRA Visa cards)
- Allied Van Lines
- Paramount Rx
- Best Western
- Wyndham Hotel Group
- Republic Bank
- Starkey Hearing Technologies
The NRA remains defiant, with the organization's spokeswoman Jennifer Baker calling the corporate backlash "a shameful display of political and civic cowardice. In time, these brands will be replaced."
Now there's a backlash to the backlash, with NRA members threatening to boycott those companies that stopped their support of the NRA.
The NRA regularly boasts of its "5 million members," but its revenues are not exactly growing. The organization's growth is erratic, and tracks pretty closely with the shooting massacres that have rocked the nation over the past decade.
ProPublica tracked the NRA's tax returns over the past decade, which revealed that the organization has yet to match its revenue peaks in 2007 (when 32 students were murdered in classrooms at Virginia Tech) or 2013, when revenues went up 63 percent in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting where 20 children and six adults were gunned down.
The Washington Post added that memberships declined slightly in 2016, the last year for which these data are available, but attributed part of that decline to an increase in NRA membership dues.
Meanwhile, more boycotts are in the offing, now targeting companies streaming the NRA's video channel, NRATV. Those streaming participants include Apple and Amazon.