The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the official marketing and tourism agency for the state, has teamed up with the Outdoor Channel to launch a “Pure Michigan” campaign. This partnership comes closely on the heels of Outdoor Channel inking a multi-year endorsement deal with aged rocker Ted Nugent.1
A National Rifle Association board member, Nugent has a long history of extremism and opposition to common-sense gun laws. Lately, however, he has been making national headlines with a series of racist statements. In July 2013, Nugent said “The Black Problem” in America could be solved if African-Americans put their “heart and soul into being honest” and “law-abiding.” On January 17, 2014, he called President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and “chimpanzee.”2
Despite these comments, Outdoor Channel President and CEO Jim Liberatore has heaped praise on Nugent, stating that he “symbolizes everything that is right in our industry and represents our viewers as an outspoken patriot.” “We are proud that he can be found exclusively on Outdoor Channel,” declared Liberatore.3
Michigan is a state with a proud civil rights history. Detroit was the site of the 1963 Freedom Walk led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The state was also the birthplace of Motown Records and home to civil rights icons like Sojourner Truth and Laura Smith Haviland. Today, 14% of Michigan’s current population is African-American. It is difficult to see how the state’s recent embrace of the Outdoor Channel and its extremist spokesman is “Pure Michigan” in any sense.
Tell the Michigan Economic Development Corporation: Terminate your agreement with the Outdoor Channel and Ted Nugent.