In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting, gun control advocates have reacted with unprecedented fury against those who want to preserve existing protections for the right to keep and bear arms. Their fury has arguably been stoked by the National Rifle Association's recent press conference.
Medea Benjamin of CodePink is removed by a secretary personnel as she protests during NRA CEO and Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre's news conference at the Willard Hotel prior to a news conference the association has scheduled December 21, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
As a result, an anti-gun pressure group known as Avaaz is attempting to pressure organizations that give discounts to NRA members into dropping those discounts as a sign of social disapprobation. Their first target is the hotel conglomerate Wyndam Hotels Worldwide, which owns the chains Ramada, Days Inn, Wingate and Super 8 – and Best Western.
The campaign itself is relatively conventional - Avaaz has started a petition with 66,000 signatures asking the hotels to get "out of bed" with the NRA, and has also asked its members to leave comments on Wyndham Hotels Worldwide's Facebook page. The Guardian reports:
Avaaz, a global campaign network of 17 million people, is targeting Wyndham Hotels Worldwide – which owns Ramada, Days Inn, Wingate and Super 8 – and Best Western. Both are listed on the gun rights group's website under the heading "friends of the NRA" because they offer members discounts through its business affiliates programme.
Both hotel chains' Facebook pages are full of messages urging them to "get out of bed with the NRA", many of them threatening to stop using their hotels until they do.[...]
oseph Huff-Hannon, senior campaigner at Avaaz, said: "It's time for mainstream companies like Wyndham Hotels to get out of bed with the extremist NRA. Their affiliation is a toxic approval of how this gun lobby has made America less safe for our children. The NRA's influence is already waning and the tragic events in Newtown must mark the end of the group's stranglehold on our politics."[...]
A spokesman for Wyndham Hotels said: "We are a hospitality company focused on our service promise to be responsive, be respectful and deliver great experiences to our customers, guests, partners and communities, as well as to each other. As part of our company's core values, we serve diverse individuals and organizations."
This is not the first time that Avaaz has targeted a hotel chain over support for causes that it deems politically unsavory. In 2011, they attacked Hilton Hotels for allegedly contributing to sex trafficking. According to Avaaz, that effort was successful. However, it is not clear whether attacking the NRA will prove to be as politically easy as attacking sex traffickers.