Left-Wing Groups Pressure TOMS Shoes to Ditch Pro-Life Group

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jul 14, 2011   |   7:20PM   |   Washington, DC

Conservatives have typically done well when it comes to boycotting companies — such as those corporations giving financially to the Planned Parenthood abortion business. Now, left-wing groups are hitting back.

With fewer companies headed by pro-life or Christian executives or that provide corporate contributions to pro-life or conservative causes,liberals and abortion advocates can more easily bad together against them. Brands like Chick-fil-A, Dominos Pizza, and Curves have been targeted by left-wing groups in recent years and now they can claim victory in getting one other company to back down — TOMS shoes.

The head of the California-based company known for giving away free shoes to disadvantaged people across the globe has decided to apologize for agreeing to speak at an event and for giving an interview to the president of Focus on the Family, the evangelical organization known for its pro-life and pro-family views. Blake Mycoskie, 34, an evangelical Christian, founded the shoe company in 2006 and it took off by focusing on fair labor and free shoes for children — which gave it a draw for some liberals who enjoyed that focus.

But, according to Christian Century, when news of the interview surfaced, liberals quickly organized a boycott that has culminated with an apology on his blog, where Mycoskie says, “Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family’s beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company’s part and one we regret.”

Gary Schneeberger, a Focus spokesman told the Christian web site that TOMS can block the upcoming pre-taped interview to its extensive radio network, but he said he hoped the shoe company would allow it to go forward.

“We approached TOMS because Blake attracts a certain audience and because his story is inspirational,” he said. “The idea that out of his faith, as a Christian, he created this company … we thought this was inspiring and was something our listeners would like to hear.”

Schneeberger said Focus on the Family is used to being the subject of protests but was surprised that an apology came so quickly after news of the event and interview surfaced.

“People have to make their buying decisions based on their own values and consciousness. That’s America,” he said. “(But) that is a little bit troubling and kind of chilling as we look ahead, because we have to wonder what people will say we’re not fit to do next, if we’re not fit to put shoes on the feet of impoverished children.”

Late last year, a pro-life group that sponsored the popular Manhattan Declaration, tangled with Apple CEO Steve Jobs when the company decided to pull its app from the popular Apple App Store.

Apple removed the Manhattan Declaration app that had been available to its iPhone and iPad customers. The move by the computer company came after opponents of the Declaration, which sets forth pro-life and pro-family values, circulated a petition calling the app a “hate fest” that promotes “hateful and divisive language.”

Change.org sponsored the petition, which, in part, had abortion activists telling Apple that “supporting efforts to restrict choice [abortion] is bad business.” Change was also behind the boycott of TOMS shoes.