Apple Strikes iTunes Participation in ’Christian Values Network’
It seemed like a good cause: Participating companies like Microsoft and Apple could give consumers a chance to support religious charities when they purchased goods and services by participating in the Christian Values Network, a link referral service.
Other corporations also participated: Macy’s, Netflix, REI, even cable channel BBC America.
But when it came out that virulently anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family, Liberty Counsel, Abiding Truth Ministries, and others were exploiting the service to rake in funding, big-name corporations started dropping out of the service -- fast.
In part, the exodus was fueled by the fact that the groups mentioned above, plus others drawing funds from the service, such as the Family Research Council and Summit Ministries, have reportedly been identified as "hate groups" by watchdog group the Southern Poverty Law Center, reported Advocate.com on July 15.
An online petition started through Change.org by Stuart Wilber convinced Microsoft to pull its support of CVN, stopping its contribution to the revenue streams that were flowing into the coffers of groups that had engaged in "blatant and repeated homophobic lies about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people."
Ben Crowther -- who, like Wilber, lives in Seattle -- started a petition of his own through the site, encouraging Apple to drop its support of CVN. A July 27 press release from Change.org reported that Apple followed suit, pulling its iTunes store out of CVN and following the example set by numerous other companies, including Wells Fargo, Macy’s, and BBC America.
"The previous petition to get Microsoft to drop its association with CVN directly inspired me to petition Apple," Crowther told EDGE. "My good friend and fellow activist Stuart Wilber was behind the Microsoft petition. When I read his petition and saw Apple was part of the CVN, especially after Microsoft dropped out, I knew that another petition needed to be started. So with the inspiration from Stuart and the help from my friend Joe Mirabella at Change.org, the petition was born."
Change.org reported on the earlier dissolution of corporate support for CVN in a July 18 article.
"Macy’s serves a diverse society," a spokesperson for the retail outlet told the online petition site. "As such, we are deeply committed to a philosophy of inclusion in the way we operate our business and support our communities. We welcome all customers into our stores."