The Dutch/English/generally foreign and anti-American/ trade show organizer Reed Exhibitions has pulled the plug on the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show. They say it’s postponed, but it’s not postponed to any particular date… so we don’t think the word means what they think it means. If it’s postponed to never, the word they’re groping for is canceled. They might have saved the show if they’d been willing to back down on their opposition to Evil Black Rifles and the vendors that sell them, but they put their anti-gun Euro principles ahead of their business.
It would be admirable if they had done it well ahead of time, before vendors were locked in (under threat of lawsuits, they’ve also backed down on their original intention to keep booth fees and other charges, and are cheerfully refunding them. Well, maybe not cheerfully, but the checks are clearing). To spring the change only when they thought their exhibitors were locked in was craven and cowardly. (It also left many exhibitors eating the cost of hotel rooms and airline tickets, so who’s really adhering to principle against interest, here?)
In a bitter and nasty statement, Reed’s Chet Burchett (is that spelled right, or are there a couple of l’s in there?) blamed his god-damned customers: “the atmosphere of this year’s show would not be conducive to an event that is designed to provide family enjoyment. It is unfortunate that in the current emotionally charged atmosphere this celebratory event has become overshadowed….”
Now, reread that with this in mind: this is a massive international media conglomerate with both in-house end hired public relations professionals. Thing is, a PR professional can only do so much if he or she has a stupid principal.
This one is made for an MBA case study; as an “own goal” or self-inflicted wound it is right up there with New Coke, the Ford Edsel, Microsoft Bob and Recoil, the Anti-Gun Gun Magazine. If there is a Hall of Fame for Corporate Negligent Discharges, Burchett and gang are as good as enshrined.
As a result of their underperformance, their contract to run the SHOT Show — which has been well-run, you have to give Reed that much — is under review.
Reed didn’t have much choice. All but one of their marquee sponsors, all the local gun shops, all the big gun manufacturers, and even many businesses completely unrelated to guns or shooting had withdrawn from what was certain to be a husk of a show and a waste of showgoers $14 admission. Over 200 featured exhibitors quit the show — even Olympic gold medalist Jamie Gray.
For More Information
- Shall Not Be Questioned, a Pennsylvania gun blog, has been all over this.
- Lancaster Online, a local newspaper’s online version, has also covered it rigorously and fairly. (Reed’s ham-fisted mishandling of reporter P.J.Reilly is one for PR textbooks).
- The gun culture is sticking together this time. This is a huge difference from 1994, and we think it is in part to the much wider penetration of the AR- type rifle in target shooting and hunting circles today.
- There’s a lot of us and together, we wield considerable power. It probably sucks to be a rural-state Democrat right now.
- The rest of the outdoor sports world is standing firm with us — some of them at great personal expense. It did our hearts good to see the bowhunters, bass fishermen, and safari guys standing up in our corner. Let’s be there for them if and when they need us.
Now, can we mend our fences with the video game guys? They didn’t deserve the bollocking they got from Wayne LaPierre and the other old women at NRA. They, too, have a product that millions enjoy without any visible harm, and that people who are not in their subculture revile. They’re our natural allies, actually.