A day after we wondered why TOMS shoes' founder had headlined an event with Christian far-right group Focus On The Family, we have our answer.
A rep for TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie reached out with the following statement, which essentially pleads ignorance and expresses regret. Mycoskie also denies the assertion in a story in the recent issue of Christianity Today that Focus is "working to become a TOMS international distributor in Africa."
"The One for One movement is fueled by our passionate and dedicated fans who are a crucial piece in helping us provide new shoes to children in need, and save or restore vision for others.
"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. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly.
Furthermore, contrary to what has been reported, Focus on the Family is not a TOMS giving partner.
So there is no misunderstanding created by this mistake, let me clearly state that both TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all. That belief is a core value of the
company and of which we are most proud."
Mycoskie also posted it on his blog and linked to it on the official TOMS Facebook page. The first batch of comments are pretty skeptical. " I dont really understand this. A simple 10 minute google search would have told you everything you need to know about FOTF and all the harm they do. this is fishy," wrote one commenter. And another: "FoF is well known, not some obscure group whose views might be hidden or misunderstood; they are, quite simply, one of the most egregiously anti-equality groups in today's dialogue."
Perhaps another explanation is simpler: Mycoskie and TOMS knew what they were getting on board with, but didn't think anyone would notice or care. Now they know.
A Sincere Apology [Start Something That Matters]