Former NRA president Marion Hammer set off a maelstrom of fury Friday when she wrote a letter stating that Yeti coolers had announced it would stop doing business with the NRA “suddenly, without prior notice.” Yeti, whose coolers are famous for their ability to keep contents—even whole game—cold for multiple days, has long been popular with hunters and anglers. In fact, the company’s founders are sportsmen themselves.
According to Hammer’s letter, Yeti coolers had long been a mainstay at NRA Foundation fundraising events, until the company abruptly announced it would no longer sell to the foundation. “They no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why,” Hammer says.
The letter goes on to accuse Yeti of pulling support for an initiative that gets young people outside. “That certainly isn't sportsmanlike,” the letter reads. “In fact, YETI should be ashamed. They have declined to continue helping America's young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.”
NRA supporters met the news with outrage, with hordes of Twitter users adopting the hashtag #BoycottYeti.
According to a statement Yeti released Monday afternoon, Hammer’s accusations are largely unfounded. Yeti says that it didn’t single out the NRA or refuse to continue business with its foundation. It simply decided to eliminate “a group of outdated discounting programs” that it formerly extended to a number of organizations, including the NRA Foundation. Yeti offered the NRA Foundation and other organizations “an alternative customization program broadly available to consumers and organizations” in exchange for the discount program that it’s dropping.
Twitter user Deplorable Gigi, via Nic Payne, a member of the Macoupin County Conservatives Facebook group, posted that Yeti customer service representatives say that the cancellation of the discounting program was part of a larger move to stop offering large discounts to big organizations and corporations. However, according to Payne, the rep also said that Yeti is still offering discounts to the NRA. (The tweet has since been taken down).
Yeti declined requests for additional information about the number and names of the other organizations that benefited from the defunct discount program. The company also declined to specify whether the NRA will still benefit from discounts on Yeti products.
The brand is being clear about its continued support of the second amendment (“YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment,” its statement reads). It refutes Hammer's claims that it's no longer invested in helping young people enjoy the outdoors. “We will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration,” the statement reads.
Outside will share updates as they become available. In the meantime, if you were considering ditching your Yeti—or buying a new one—because of Hammer’s letter, don’t jump the gun.