Aspen Skiing Co. joins boycott of Facebook for July | AspenTimes.com
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Aspen Skiing Co. joins boycott of Facebook for July

Aspen Skiing Co.'s unity sign is displayed in the gondola plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Aspen Skiing Co. on Wednesday joined hundreds of companies that stopped advertising on Facebook for at least the month of July to protest how the social media giant handles hate speech.

Skico posted an announcement of its position on its Facebook page on Wednesday, as the boycott started.

“Aspen-Snowmass has long believed that fact-based, civil discourse is critical to finding solutions to the challenges facing our country and the world,” Skico’s statement said. “We need to engage in dialogue with each other, but there’s a right way to do it, respectful and dignified. That’s why we joined #StopHateForProfit by pulling our advertising on Facebook through July.”

Skico joins major brands such as Adidas, Clorox, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, The North Face and Patagonia in the boycott, which was launched by social justice organizations. NPR reported an estimated 400 companies have vowed to participate in the boycott.

While Skico is a small advertiser in Facebook’s multibillion-dollar empire, company officials hopes its action will draw attention because of the Aspen name.

Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan said the decision came out of self-reflection that’s been part of the COVID-19 shutdown.

“All of us are probably (doing) that individually and we’re doing it as an organization as well,” Kaplan said. “We wanted to make sure that we’re using this pause to be even more clearheaded about who we are and what’s important.”

Skico works closely with The North Face and Patagonia on climate issues and the company has also worked with the Anti-Defamation League through work it’s done on LGBTQ issues. They also are players in the boycott of Facebook.

“We’ve been in touch with them and as this movement started to gain footing, (they) asked us to join and we said, ‘Yeah, it makes sense, given who we are and what this is about,’” Kaplan said.

Skico has taken on tough social justice issues in the past. After the election of Donald Trump, Skico launched a campaign called “We’re Still Here,” where it stressed the company remained dedicated to tolerance, open-mindedness, environmental stability and civility.

In this latest movement, Skico and other companies hope their boycott forces Facebook to take bigger steps to reduce hate speech on its platforms, including Instagram. Kaplan noted Facebook has announced some changes and is talking with some of its major advertisers.

“So far so good, but we want to make sure it results in lasting and meaningful change,” Kaplan said.

Skico and other companies have said they will reassess their position toward the end of July.

Jeff Hanle, Skico’s vice president of communications, said Skico buys advertising that appears on the Facebook feeds of target audiences. For example, the Classic Pass might be promoted on the pages of Colorado Front Range residents.

Kaplan said Facebook is an important advertising tool for Skico, so its participation in the boycott is meaningful, as well.

“There’s a lot of momentum for social justice and more awareness about hate speech, equality and everybody’s right to live without harassment or bias, so I’m hopeful and optimistic that not only Facebook and social media makes moves but hopefully as a nation we get better as we come out of this,” Kaplan said.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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