Update: Good News! <> Hipster Boycott? TOMS Shoes’ Blake Mycoskie is star speaker at Focus on the Family gathering.

Via Waylon Lewis
on Jul 8, 2011
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Update: Good news! Blake Mycoskie offers “A sincere apology.”


“…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.”

Kudos. I’ll go back to thinking that TOMS is a flawed but inspiring company that is, even with my questions (see below) more responsible…inspiring…just plain better…mindful…elephanty—than 95% of other shoe companies. ~ ed.

Blake Mycoskie, TOMS Shoes founder, is Focus on the Family  featured speaker.

Quotes from comments:

“…here I am wearing a pair of Toms. I feel really gross. I don’t want to tell the guy what to believe in, but as a gay guy, I am not going to wear or buy toms anymore until he disconnects himself from one of the biggest bigot anti-gay organizations on earth.”

On the other hand:

“…many people who heavily involved in getting aid to various African communities are the Evangelical Christian crowd. Good causes are good causes.”

“It’s more a matter of not giving money, or in his case, cultural cache to whatever his real plans are. The thought of all these unfortunate, impoverished children are playing a part in some larger missionary agenda so that we and Blake M can think we’re cool reminds me of that french saying, ‘plus ca change …'”

“We believe sex is given by God as an expression of love to be shared and enjoyed exclusively between a husband and wife. We believe that Christians have a responsibility to promote truth and social policy that improves the strength and health of the family, as God designed.” ~ Focus on the Family

More on Focus on the Family’s opinions on Gay rights, Abortion rights, etc.

For years, I’ve written rather cautiously (critically, but supportively—TOMS is doing more than most other shoe companies) about how TOMS Shoes gives shoes to children in third world countries (admirable) based on an inspiring one-for-one model that, sadly, isn’t even close to crade-to-cradle. The shoes are made in third world countries, and not fair labor certified (fair labor certification isn’t, to be fair, available for shoes. TOMS claims to inspect the factories closely). Still, hypothetically, you could have children making toxic shoes in unsafe working conditions that are then bought by inspired/duped would-be “first world” conscious consumers, who then enable one of these un-eco, un-vegan (usually), cheaply-built, quick-to-fall-apart pair of shoes to be donated to a shoeless child.

So they’re an inspiring company that doesn’t yet fulfill the promise of its own marketing, but could do so easily in the future. ~ Waylon Lewis

A few previous articles:

Radiohead v Child Labor. Green Consumers v Made in Asia.

Are TOMS Shoes made in Third World, in uncertified fair labor factories? Hope not.

I hereby pronounce TOMS the official shoe of activist, green, mindful America.


Like Gay Rights? Like Toms Shoes? You got a problem if you believe in supporting “mindful” companies with your hard-earned dollars—conscious consumerism:

Via NY Mag:

Toms Shoes Founder Might Have Different Political Views Than Many People Wearing His Shoes

Vogue-approved Blake Mycoskie, who came up with the idea to donate a pair of shoes to a needy child for every one sold, is apparently a Focus on the Family supporter. That’s an affiliation that’s sure to irk many of the hipster types…

…and, anyone who respects gay rights as civil rights, or a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body.


Focus on the Family wants to go in a more friendly direction? Perhaps Blake is bringing a new pov to that community:

From Current:


Some rather agressively-titled food for thought:


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now elephantjournal.com & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


17 Responses to “Update: Good News! <> Hipster Boycott? TOMS Shoes’ Blake Mycoskie is star speaker at Focus on the Family gathering.”

  1. Jane says:

    Why are you attacking the Toms Shoes guy who is doing nothing but GOOD things by putting shoes on the feet of children who have no shoes? Your practice of tearing down saddens me.

  2. Linda says:

    You know, I don't like Focus on the Family, but then I never liked Tom's either, because they charged so much for the same shoes you could get at Walmart (yeah, I said it!) for $3.

    However, the hypocrisy here is palpable. You are every bit as intolerant as the conservatives in this country.

  3. elephantjournal says:

    I love TOMS–the idea of TOMS—I like how they look and feel and own two pairs (I bought the eco version, which represents only a small portion of their sales unfortunately at this time). Let's get this straight—as I said above, they're better than 95% of other shoe companies. Kudos. But in raising the bar of inspiration and idealism so high—buy our shoes, we'll donate a pair of shoes—it's particularly painful whenever they don't live up to said self-raised bar. ~ W.

  4. Kat says:

    they don't even know what love is.

  5. Craig says:

    Tolerance does not include being tolerant of intolerants.

  6. Craig says:

    and when you say "Let's focus on the LOVE", is it fair to assume you mean "LOVE" between heterosexual people, and only heterosexual people?

  7. ARCreated says:


    FOTF is evil. truly what I see as evil in the world they Promote hate and ugliness and the worst kind of discrimination and add insult to injury by doing it in the name of GOD?

  8. ARCreated says:

    I will always support information. it is not tearing down to tell the truth.

  9. heater says:

    Looks like an oversight, dumb for a company so large and trying to provide some good for the world… http://www.startsomethingthatmatters.com/2011/07/

  10. Jessie says:

    Actually, tolerance does include being tolerant of intolerants….. We need to support the good that people do in order to let that grow and outshine the bad. No one is perfect.

  11. andrea says:

    I'm going to just buy 4sight sunglasses they are cheaper and nicer anyway.

  12. […] Franken One, Focus on the Family (you know, that group that needs to find a way to stop getting on the butt end o… […]

  13. […] distance trips? And while I’m at it, smile at the mean old ladies (or run them over)? Can I love shoes and yet take some time to walk barefooted every day? Can I have an urban garden on top of a 150 […]

  14. Suzanne says:

    Gotta say, I never liked TOMS shoes to begin with, but I liked the idea behind them initially. I like them far less now though http://www.somethingyoumayknow.com/emils-thoughts

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  16. However, the hypocrisy here is palpable. You are every bit as intolerant as the conservatives in this country.