Americans eager to take political direction from a multinational pants manufacturer were in luck this week. On Tuesday, PRWeek, a public relations trade publication, published an interview with Levi Strauss & Co. Chief Communications Officer Kelly McGinnis and Everytown for Gun Safety Public Affairs Director Stacey Radnor. The interview shed further light on the apparel giant’s partnership with billionaire gun control financier Michael Bloomberg’s front group and their well-choreographed efforts to attack Americans’ right to keep and bear arms.
Last month, the NRA-ILA Grassroots Alert drew attention to Levi’s (which also owns Dockers) decision to abandon its rugged all-American image by donating more that $1 million to gun control groups Everytown and Giffords (formerly Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Legal Community Against Violence). In addition to its financial contribution, the company joined the Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety, whose stated goal is to use member companies’ “market footprint… employee networks, [and] public communications platforms” to advance Bloomberg’s gun control agenda.
In the PRWeek interview, McGinnis framed the San Francisco-based company’s participation in the gun debate in moralistic terms. According to America’s new self-appointed moral arbiter, Everytown’s efforts to restrict the rights of law-abiding Americans “squared with [Levi’s] core values of empathy, courage, integrity, and originality.”
McGinnis also linked the company’s attack on a cherished American freedom to the firm’s increasing emphasis on the global, rather than American, marketplace. The Levi’s flack told PRWeek, “our consumers are getting younger and more than half our business is outside the U.S., and this issue is not controversial with those groups.”
The piece also detailed the highly-choreographed nature of Levi’s latest foray into gun control. When asked by PRWeek, “What did you learn from advocacy groups?,” McGinnis explained that the gun control organizations worked with Levi’s on how best to manipulate their target audience. McGinnis stated,
Messaging, and that the sensitivity of every word matters, understanding how people read between the lines and take every word literally. Understanding how language has been used on the issue for decades and the signals related to word choices…. We had to be inclusive, understanding, and deliberate about how we channeled our support.