Eden Prairie-based Starkey Hearing Technologies became the latest Minnesota company to break ties with the National Rifle Association.
Late Saturday, the company tweeted, “We have made the decision not to renew our discount program with the NRA. We will be asking them to remove our information from their website. Our focus remains on bringing better hearing to people around the world in partnership with hearing professionals.”
A company spokesperson was not available to discuss the decision. The privately held company develops, manufactures and distributes hearing aids and has more than 5,000 employees around the world.
Response on Twitter to Starkey’s announcement was overwhelmingly positive.
Earlier Saturday, Delta and United, two of the world’s largest airlines, cut ties to the NRA as part of a boycott movement inspired by the Feb. 14 massacre at a Florida high school with a legally purchased AR-15 rifle.
The announcements by Starkey and the airlines follow similar decisions by car rental giants Avis, Hertz and Enterprise, the Best Western hotel chain, the global insurance company MetLife and more than a dozen other corporations that used to contract, partner or otherwise affiliate with the NRA. They mark the latest victories for the #BoycottNRA movement.
The NRA claims 5 million members and takes in tens of millions of dollars each year through memberships.
The speed with which the companies have abandoned the NRA is also a testament to how abruptly the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., has disrupted U.S. gun culture.
Hours before the airline reversed itself on Saturday, a Delta spokesman had defended its discount for NRA members traveling to the group’s convention in May. In a statement to the liberal outlet ThinkProgress, the spokesman had called the contract “routine” for large groups, adding that it “has more than 2,000 such contracts in place.”
The group has faced public anger before, but it has always fought back against pushes for gun-law reforms. But outrage over the Parkland shooting has shown no signs of dying out.
First National Bank of Omaha, one of the largest private U.S. banks, may have been the first to respond to the boycott calls. The bank had previously advertised the “Official Credit Card of the NRA.”
Staff writer Jim Buchta and the Washington Post contributed to this report.