In the wake of the tragic Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Florida on February 14th, numerous businesses that offered discounts to National Rifle Association (NRA) members have come under scrutiny. After mounting pressure from consumers and advocacy groups, much of it posted on social media, more than a dozen companies have decided to end NRA member discount programs for their products.
The growing number of the companies listed on the NRA’s website cutting ties with the organization now includes Starkey Hearing Technologies. Several companies that offer discounts to NRA members began to feel pressure to sever those ties shortly after the massacre. As the pressure built last week, many hearing care professionals voiced their opinion about Starkey’s association with the NRA, with much of the social media chatter being very critical of their relationship with the organization.
On Saturday, February 24 via social media, Starkey issued the following statement:
“We have made a decision to not renew our discount program with the NRA. We will be asking them to remove our information from their website. Our focus remains on bringing better hearing to people around the world in partnership with hearing professionals.”
While the NRA blasted the growing list of major companies (including United Airlines, MetLife, Hertz, and others) cutting ties with the organization as “cowardice“, the response to Starkey ending their relationship was met with praise by many on social media after the announcement.
Because it is a highly political and controversial issue, however, not everyone was pleased with the move and NRA supporters also went to social media to share their opinions on Starkey’s decision to end the program.
The timing of the negative publicity for Starkey comes as an inopportune moment. The company has been the center of a very public $20 million fraud trial involving several former executives. Defense attorneys for the four accused former executives have countered that Starkey’s founder, Bill Austin, has known about the alleged illegal activity for years, including the accusations of unscrupulous behavior by their current president.
An email request for comment by Hearing News Watch to Starkey regarding their relationship with the NRA was not returned.
That’s too bad. The irony of punishing the NRA is so obvious that were logic involved rather than pure emotion and “me too” group-think, this would be obviously ridiculous. Ah, well. Let Starkey have their moment of “feeling good about themselves.” They could use it right about now. The NRA is comprised of good, lawful people. They deserve to be punished. Makes perfect sense to me. (?)
Unstable nut case that should have been institutionalized shoots up a school and it is the NRA’s fault? Ridiculous logic. You are drinking the liberal gun control cool aid. This is an excuse to blame the NRA rather than a reason.
I will not allow my audiologist to sit me with Starkey HA.
Starkey new president has lost his mind!
Any death by any means is tragic and sad. It becomes even more heart-wrenching when it involves children. Personally, I believe it is ludicrous to blame and punish the NRA and its members over any school shooting tragedy. When drunk drivers kill families with their vehicle, do we see a public outcry to boycott the American Automobile Association? No. In Florida’s school shooting the failure to prevent the incident falls squarely on the shoulders of some law enforcement officials, and others, who did not take the necessary actions to intervene with the shooter based on the numerous reports of concern over this particular shooter. I would ask Starkey to reconsider and reverse their position about the NRA and its members and remember that there are audiologists, ENT physicians, and hearing aid dealers (as well as their patients and customers) who are NRA members that lawfully own and are responsible gun owners.