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As we reported this week, Blake Mycoskie, the founder of philanthropic canvas shoe company TOMS, has been working with Christian anti-gay group Focus on the Family. He spoke at a Focus on the Family event in June. Mycoskie has commented to us on the issue, via a representative:
Had I known the full extent of Focus on the Family’s beliefs, I would not have accepted the invitation to speak at their event. It was an oversight on my part and the company’s part and one we regret. In the last 18 months we have presented at over 70 different engagements and we do our best to make sure we choose our engagements wisely, on this one we chose poorly.
Furthermore, contrary to what has been reported, Focus on the Family is not a TOMS giving partner.
So there is no misunderstanding created by this mistake, let me clearly state that both TOMS, and I as the founder, are passionate believers in equal human and civil rights for all. That belief is a core value of the company and of which we are most proud.
There’s a difference between being loosely involved with an organization and having a financial relationship with them, and Mycoskie is denying that Focus on the Family has any monetary involvement with TOMS. Okay. But could no one on the TOMS team do 10 minutes of Internet research on Focus on the Family so that Mycoskie could learn “the full extent” of their beliefs?