Radio Shack is under fire this holiday season by the American Family Association (AFA).
The organization claims that corporate leaders of Radio Shack are avoiding the use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” in their TV and newspaper ads, in-store promotions and on their website.
The alleged ban of the use of “Merry Christmas” is apparently designed to prevent any possible offense to non-Christians.
The AFA is known for their activist work, their regular creation of petitions, and calls for members to “take action.”
In this case, the organization is urging members to boycott Radio Shack and sign a petition in protest of Radio Shacks’ alleged anti-Christmas stance.
The email sent out by AFA on December 11, 2013 said:
Radio Shack Owners and operators of local Radio Shack stores are angry that Radio Shack has refused the use of “Christmas” in company advertising directed to Christmas shoppers. The company chooses the politically correct “holiday” term instead.
Owners are saying the company’s anti-Christmas attitude is hurting business. AFA has heard from about a dozen Radio Shack owners who say they have pleaded with the corporate office to recognize “Christmas” in company advertising.
They aren’t listening to customers and they aren’t listening to us,” said one store owner.
“How difficult is it to add ‘Christmas’ to a website, for crying out loud?
One owner said a majority of his business depends on Christmas shoppers and the company should at least acknowledge them by making them feel welcome.
AFA has called for a boycott of Radio Shack stores until the company recognizes “Christmas” in its advertising.
The organization has not identified the store owners quoted in the email by name.
The AFA has also published a “Naughty or Nice List” on their website that includes Radio Shack. Next to their listing, in red bold text, are the words “BOYCOTT.”
However, Radio Shack is strongly disputing the AFA’s anti-Christmas claims.
I spoke with two of Radio Shack’s employees on the topic, Vice President of communications Merianne Roth and Ricky Cadden, Senior Manager, Social Media.
Cadden said that the company was aware of the anger and complaints, but that the claims of Radio Shack being anti-Christmas were “simply untrue.”
Roth provided the following statement on the issue:
We most certainly did not tell our employees that they cannot use the word “Christmas.” We routinely wish our customers ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Holidays’ in store, through email, social platforms and by mail.
RadioShack proudly celebrates Christmas and all the holidays, along with our associates and customers. We celebrate the season in our ads with Christmas trees and traditional music; we have long used the words “Christmas” and “holiday” internally and externally in press releases, emails and other communications from us.
RadioShack will continue to honor our company values, which include respect and inclusion. We have received a few very derogatory emails and social posts that were quite offensive in language. Disappointing given the spirit of the season.
However, the vast majority of feedback we have received is supportive of the respectful way we are handling the issue.
Thank you and we always appreciate customer feedback. Merry Christmas and happy holidays,
Radio Shack has been on the receiving end of some snappy, hate-filled comments through their Facebook page over the issue.
What do you think of the controversy? Did the AFA jump the gun, or does Radio Shack need to do more Christmas outreach?
Let us know what you think of these issues below!