The people who brought you NRATV and Charlton Heston have had it with the National Rifle Association, issuing a statement on Wednesday accusing the gun group of trying “to hurt as many people as they can.”
The statement came one week after the ad firm Ackerman McQueen was forced to shut down NRATV after NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre ordered en end to the gun group’s TV programming.
Since then, Ackerman and its longtime client have found themselves in a battle over severance pay for NRATV workers, according to Ackerman McQueen.
“What the NRA has done by pursuing groundless litigation against the company and by creating a shamelessly false narrative against Ackerman McQueen, is to threaten our people with the loss of their employment and benefits,” Ackerman said in a statement to TPM. “[Ackerman] has continued to try to negotiate a solution to these issues but the NRA has not been willing to do so.”
The Oklahoma City-based firm went on to claim that “the NRA has treated this company in a defamatory and damaging manner for months and the next phase of their destructive plan appears to be to hurt as many people as they can.”
Ackerman is trying to get the NRA to pay severance to employees who were terminated due to the death of NRATV, saying the gun lobby is “contractually obligated” to cover the costs.
That issue is one of the many wrinkles that led to Ackerman’s split with the NRA months ago. In its first April lawsuit against Ackerman, the NRA suggested that it had been duped into signing a services contract with the Oklahoma City-based ad firm which, in part, would force the NRA to cover severance pay for Ackerman employees.
Free Beacon staff writer Stephen Gutowksi tweeted last week that Ackerman was offering to cover COBRA for its employees only if they signed a non-disclosure agreement as well as an agreement not to sue the Oklahoma City-based ad firm.
Ackerman issued a statement on this on Wednesday, describing its efforts “to assist employees who have been furloughed during this difficult period” as the following: “Ackerman has offered to pay the full costs of COBRA coverage for eligible employees during the furlough in exchange for the employee signing a standard release of claims.”
In a statement to TPM, an attorney for the NRA called Ackerman’s accusations “shameful, but unfortunately unsurprising.”
“It appears that Ackerman is using its employees as pawns in a reputational campaign against the NRA – in an effort to deflect from its failure to meet its contractual and fiduciary obligations to the Association and its members,” Michael J. Collins, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and counsel to the NRA, told TPM in the statement.
Ackerman and the NRA spent decades working closely with each other. Ackerman is credited with developing the “I am the NRA” campaign, as well as Charlton Heston’s “pry it from my cold dead hands” zinger which remains unpryable from the minds of many.
Since infighting began between the two, Ackerman has issued various demands for money. Former employees of the ad firm have told TPM that the NRA accounted for around half of their work.