The boycott against Groupon, was declared “successful” today by Morality in Media (MIM) which organized the nationwide shunning. Over 20,000 people pulled their memberships from the daily deals giant after hearing about a coupon for a tour of Kink porn studio in California. Potential buyers were informed that they could possibly see a live filming, and the Kink website detailed some of their fare which includes “young, sexy teens” who are “bound, whipped, objectified, and humiliated”, sado-masochistic acts, bondage and domination scenarios.
Morality in Media issued a statement early this morning that the boycott worked and posted a message received from Groupon:
“Given all the feedback from partners like you, we reassessed not only consumer interest but also merchant opinion on these types of deals. It’s never our intention to offend customers or our business partners. Your feedback has been invaluable to us and executives are regularly informed of merchant response, both positive and negative. As a result of the feedback from the Armory deal, we have stopped running adult deals across the country.
The Playboy Mansion deal ran after the “non-adult” rule was enacted in the U.S. due to a process glitch. As soon as we became aware of it, the deal was immediately taken down.”
However, another story posted this afternoon indicates that the victory may not be as complete as MIM wants to see.
But the news of the victorious boycott may not have been entirely correct. Asked whether a policy change had indeed taken place, a Groupon spokesperson sent the following response via email: “We continue to test different types of deals in markets around the country and run categories that represent the interests of each local customer base. While we aren’t currently accepting new adult merchants, guidelines for what types of businesses we do and do not run are constantly reevaluated on a local level.”
Some important principles can be gleaned from this boycott and the ensuing statements from Groupon:
- The community has a right to stand up for moral issues that large companies are trying to violate.
- It doesn’t take a majority of people to make a difference. It does take a significant number who are willing to have their voices heard and be persistent in their civil opposition.
- The bottom line for a corporation is money and public image. Citizens can help shape social policy by using both to vote for or against organizations based on their actions in the public square.
- Continual vigilance is needed from people on a local and national level, even when a company appears in one place to make a desired change, and especially when contrary comments are made in a different venue.
- Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry. That fact alone will drive the decision making process of many companies, and it is up to the consumers to speak out against these culturally destructive influences.
The makers of pornography, such as Kink, are only one part of the problem. Another piece of the puzzle is those who facilitate the marketing and dissemination of porn and sexual assaults against women and children. Hopefully, Groupon is removing itself from the former category, but another media battle is raging with Backpage.com.