The NRA called its own NRATV network “distasteful and racist” in a lawsuit accusing the firm that ran the channel of mismanagement, The Daily Beast reports.
The NRA said in a court filing Friday that its longtime PR firm Ackerman McQueen turned the channel into a problem for the group.
The NRA said the network “strayed from the Second Amendment to themes which some NRA leaders found distasteful and racist.”
The network referred to one instance in which host Dana Loesch featured an image of Thomas the Tank Engine wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
“Attempts by the NRA to ‘rein in’ AMc and its messaging were met with responses from AMc that ranged from evasive to hostile,” the complaint said, adding that the firm also “fabricated and inflated sponsorship and viewership claims” for the network that gave an “intentionally (and wildly) misleading” representation about the NRATV’s viewership.
“Tellingly, when NRATV finally shut down in June 2019, no one missed it,” the filing said. “Not a single sponsor or viewer even called, confirming what at least some NRA executives suspected—the site had limited visibility and was failing the accomplish any of its goals.”
NRA says Ackerman McQueen engaged in ‘pattern of corruption’:
In a separate statement to The Daily Beast, a lawyer for the NRA accused Ackerman McQueen of engaging in a “pattern of corruption.”
“The NRA believes Ackerman McQueen breached its fiduciary duties, engaged in fraudulent billing, and failed to maintain adequate books and records—all in an effort to enrich itself at the expense of the NRA and its members. The allegations reveal a pattern of corruption that included NRATV, a failed media enterprise the agency proposed, managed and sustained through misleading accounts of viewership and promised commercial viability,” the statement said. “In the end, the NRA believes NRATV became all ‘smoke and mirrors’—a vehicle touted by Ackerman for the sole purpose of continuing the flow of millions of dollars of fees which the agency needed to sustain itself.”
“At the same time, when questions began to arise about Ackerman’s billing practices and whether it was taking advantage of the considerable discretion it possessed in such matters, the agency stonewalled the inquiry and embarked upon a scorched-earth campaign against all of its perceived adversaries,” the statement added. “The NRA and its members are determined to ferret out what now appears to have been a considerable amount of corruption.”
Ackerman McQueen fires back at LaPierre’s “false claims”:
Ackerman McQueen said in a statement to the Daily Beast that the NRA complaint was filled with “false claims” and accused LaPierre of having “defrauded” the firm.
“In the final 18 months, AMc representatives progressively discovered that LaPierre and his executive team, with the board’s oversight and approval, were marketing false products and narratives to NRA members, covering up sexual harassment, attempting to intimidate public officials, disrupting internal investigations about Russia, spending member money for personal benefit and more,” the statement said.
“LaPierre controlled every aspect of NRATV for which he recruited talent, approved every budget, audited every metric and required ultimate confidentiality,” the firm said. “Ackerman McQueen routinely offered and toward the end of the relationship demanded that an outside firm audit NRATV performance but LaPierre refused. Unlike the NRA, AMc welcomes full transparency. LaPierre’s apparent paranoia and lust for secrecy fed his justification for private air travel, luxury hotels and countless other expenses for himself, his family and friends that were all paid by member dues.”
The lawsuit is “another cynical attempt to distract from Wayne LaPierre’s documented mismanagement of the organization and the captive board’s complicit behavior,” the firm added.