Microsoft has removed one of its online stores from the Christian Values Network after a successful online petition.
The software giant triggered the removal only hours after a gay rights petition appeared online. The petition was created at change.org, a free social petition site. Entitled “Microsoft: Stop raising money for anti-gay hate groups like Focus on the Family,” the petition generated over 500 signatures in less than a day. Dozens of major brands, including Apple, Netflix and Dell are supporting alleged hate groups through a link referral service know as the Christian Values Network (CVN). The service donates money to more than 170,000 charities thanks to referral links. Customers can choose to purchase Apple hardware or a Netflix subscription through the service and Apple or Netflix would make a donation to the charity of the customer’s choice through CVN.
Stuart Wilber, a seattle resident and Microsoft customer, raised the alarm over several organisations included on CVN’s service that appear to support discrimination. Wilber revealed that The Southern Poverty Law Center has declared the following organizations as known “hate groups,” for their “blatant and repeated homophobic lies about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people”:
- Christian Anti-Defamation Commission
- Concerned Women for America
- Coral Ridge Ministries
- Liberty Counsel
- National Organization for Marriage
Each of the charities receives donations from the CVN referral scheme when customers purchase products from stores linked to the charities. Wilber called on Microsoft to stop using CVN and a day later his request was met. “Microsoft’s swift reaction to my Change.org petition demonstrates their strong support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities,” said Wilber. “Microsoft has a long tradition of being supportive of our community. I assumed they would be just as upset as I was that their brand was being used by anti-gay hate groups to raise money. I’m glad I was right.”
A similar petition has been created to push Apple into following Microsoft’s own steps. “I wonder if Apple is even aware they are being used to raise money for these homophobic groups,” said Ben Crowther, a Washington State University Student who started a new petition on Change.org aimed at Apple. “It is so out of character for Apple to be associated with groups like Focus on the Family. I hope Apple acts quickly to remove their store from the Christian Values Network.”
WinRumors approached Microsoft for a comment on the removal but at the time of writing the company was unable to issue a statement.