Outside of very select circles, the National Rifle Association remains unpopular. After they incorporated an image of the famous bean shaped statue in Chicago into a virulent video campaign they launched last summer, the artist behind the creation has now successfully gotten the organization to remove images of his art from their messaging.
Artist Anish Kapoor explained this Thursday:
‘We are pleased to declare victory over the NRA. They have now complied with our demand to remove the unauthorised image of my sculpture Cloud Gate from their abhorrent video “The Violence of Lies,” which seeks to promote fear, hostility and division in American society. Their bullying and intimidation has not succeeded. This is a victory not just in defence of the copyright of my work, but it is also a declaration that we stand with those who oppose gun violence in America and elsewhere.’
Kapoor had previously filed a lawsuit against the organization this June with the assistance of a legal team who worked for free.
The original video itself (featured above) — if the title wasn’t enough of a clue — promoted the harsh, antagonistic allegiance to gun rights above much anything else that the NRA and, more specifically, its spokesperson Dana Loesch are known for. She proclaimed that right wingers should confront their differently minded antagonists with the “clenched fist of truth.”
The messaging isn’t working, even as it keeps coming. In 2017, the organization’s membership revenue fell by nearly 25 percent, despite their claims of rising membership and their increase in membership dues for the first time in decades. In 2016, they took in $163 million and last year, their membership revenue only hit $128 million.
They’ve been pursuing other options for support in the meantime. There have been multiple reports this year about federal inquiries into the organization’s ties to Russian money via individuals like Alexander Torshin — an associate to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and his associate Maria Butina, who’s been jailed on espionage charges. Torshin, in addition to his other activities, repeatedly pressed the Trump campaign for a meeting between the then-candidate and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both he and Butina were dues-paying members of the organization, besides their more secretive cultivated connections.
The NRA pushed tens of millions of dollars of pro-Trump messaging during the 2016 campaign season — including at least some that may have been illegally coordinated with the eventual president’s campaign itself, according to new reports.
Through all the twists and turns of their strategies, they’ve maintained their allegiance to the core tenet of their existence — guns, guns, guns. After the mass shooting that rocked Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier this year, the group took to specifically touting the kind of weapon used in the incident and filing legal challenges to state government attempts to tidy up gun legislation to help prevent future tragedies. They have also repeatedly personally targeted the activist students who’ve risen to prominence in the shooting’s aftermath — although their message has continued to take off through means including their national “March for Our Lives” campaign anyway.
Featured Image via YouTube screenshot