SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Apple has removed their iTunes store from the "Christan Values Network" (CVN.org ) after more than 22,000 people angered by CVN's funding of anti-gay, anti-women organizations like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council called on Apple to take action.
The victory follows Microsoft's decision to leave CVN two weeks ago, prompted by another customer-driven campaign on Change.org . Several other companies have removed their online stores since then, including REI, Macy's, Delta Airlines, BBC America, and Wells Fargo.
Started by Ben Crowther, a student and Apple customer, the campaign picked up significant momentum after 13,000 AllOut.org members signed another petition on Thursday.
"From the beginning, I knew that once this issue was brought to Apple's attention, they would not want to be a part of CVN because it funds anti-gay hate groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council," said Change.org petition starter Ben Crowther. "Apple is a fair-minded business. I'm glad this petition helped make Apple aware of this issue, and I am thrilled that they removed iTunes from CVN."
Crowther is no stranger to anti-gay bullying. It started in high school when he and his boyfriend became the second gay couple to come out to their classmates.
"The harassment got so bad I had to go to the principal," Crowther told Change.org .
In college, Crowther's dorm room door was regularly vandalized with anti-gay slurs.
"I no longer live in the dorms because the bullying was so bad," he said.
Ben Crowther's Change.org petition asking Apple to remove their store from CVN:
AllOut's petition asking Apple to drop CVN:
List of more than 500 corporate online stores helping the Christian Values Network raise money:
Microsoft removes store from CVN following Stuart Wilber's Change.org petition:
Southern Poverty Law Center on Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council:
Focus on the Family and Family Research Council videos introducing the CVN's Connection Plus Toobar:
Videos featuring Stephen Baldwin and former Governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on behalf of CVN:
Background on Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council:
The Focus on the Family website contains anti-gay and anti-transgender content. They describe being gay as "a particularly evil lie of Satan." They also attack transgender people.
Focus on the Family lobbied against several pieces of Federal legislation that would add protections for gays and lesbians under the law. They lobbied to repeal the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a bill designed to protect people from violent hate crimes based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Focus on the Family also lobbied to stop the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in an effort to prevent gay and lesbian service members from being open about their sexual orientation in the military. They also supported several bills that would make access to health care more difficult for women.
Dozens of major companies like Netflix, Adobe, Target, Best Buy, USA Today, Walgreens, Disney, Budget, Expedia, Travelocity, Scholastic, Dell, Adobe, FTD, Proflowers, Home Depot, Direct TV, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and even Sesame Street participate in CVN's service. When customers make purchases through CVN, a donation is made to the religious charity of the customer's choice. For example, when someone purchases a USA Today subscription, $5.25 can be donated to groups like Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council.
The Family Research Council, formerly a part of Focus on the Family, has been identified as a known "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
Peter Sprigg, a chief researcher for the Family Research Council, advocated for the deportation and imprisonment of gays and lesbians, according to the SPLC.
Former Governor of Arkansas and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is a Christian Values Network advisor and spokesperson who has posted videos on YouTube supporting the company. In the past, Huckabee has equated being gay with bestiality, necrophilia, and pedophilia.
Change.org is the world's fastest-growing platform for social change growing by more than 400,000 new members a month, and empowering millions of people to start, join, and win campaigns for social change in their community, city and country.