Edelman responds to mass shootings with pro bono Gun Safety Alliance work

Businesses must address government failure, said CEO Richard Edelman.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

NEW YORK: Edelman is supporting communications for the Gun Safety Alliance, a nonprofit group, on a pro bono basis. 

Following two mass shootings earlier this month, one at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, and the other hours later in Dayton, Ohio, the firm’s CEO Richard Edelman said he was inspired to make this commitment.

"These violent acts and the continued daily gun violence in communities across this nation wholly undermine the promise of America: the derivation of inalienable rights including the preservation of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," Edelman wrote in a post he made to the company website Friday. "These values are not in conflict with responsible gun ownership."

Edelman said his agency will help the group recruit businesses to the cause of promoting gun safety and coordinate the efforts of other gun safety, anti-violence nonprofit groups.

Government has failed to address the problem, and so businesses have to step in, Edelman wrote, adding that "it is good business for companies to join the alliance."

According to the 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer, Edelman said, two-thirds of customers surveyed said they expect "brands to stand up for them, a form of brand democracy."

Edelman did not immediately respond to requests for further comment on the decision.

Two weeks ago the agency was reacting to, not proactively addressing, a national controversy when it dropped immigration facility manager Geo Group as a client in response to employee unrest. Edelman employees were "disturbed" that the agency was hired to work on behalf of Geo, according to The New York Times.

In February, Edelman reported that global revenue at the agency dropped 1.1% in 2018 on a like-for-like basis to $888.4 million. For parent company DJE Holdings, revenue dipped 0.1% last year to $961.8 million.

Edelman is the world’s largest PR agency as ranked by revenue, according to the PRWeek Agency Business Report 2019.

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