Three days ago (May 20, 2014) during Gap Inc’s annual shareholder meeting, the AAPI online activist group 18MillionRising.org successfully launched a hoax campaign targeting Gap Inc. for failing to take responsibility for Bangladeshi factory worker safety. Utilizing a website (www.gapdoesmore.com) and Twitter account (@GapDoesMore, now defunct), 18MR posed as the clothing giant to announce the decision to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety. 18MR also claimed that Gap Inc. intended to pay $200,000 in compensation to the families of 7 textile workers who died in the Aswad Composite Mills factory fire in October 2013.
Within three hours of launching the hoax site, Gap Inc. issued a statement calling the site “fraudulent” – an inflated claim given the fact that 18MR did not gain financially from the parody. In an effort to threaten and silence 18MR and garment worker activists, Gap Inc. reported @GapDoesMore to Twitter and filed a Digital Millenium Copyright Act claim against the website, resulting in the suspension of both on May 21st, 2014.
Despite Gap Inc.’s corporate bullying, 18MR has relaunched www.gapdoesmore.com. Located on the site is a letter from Cayden Mak, 18MR’s New Media Director, kindly requesting that Gap Inc. consider offer substantive answers to our inquiries rather than villainize a small non-profit organization with a staff of only three. 18MR is also inviting advocacy organizations and consumers to sign on in support.
While this may be a battle between David and Goliath, 18MR remains steadfast in its demand for answers about the clothing giant’s international labor practices: Why has the company refused to compensate the families of injured and deceased factory workers? Why does the company continue to avoid signing the Bangladesh Accord – choosing instead to collaborate with Walmart, a corporation notorious for creating fronts for unregulated, false accountability?
We are not interested in entertaining conversations about how Gap Inc. has been “victimized” by a hoax designed to reveal their unjust labor practices. We want the corporation to answer for its treatment of the real victims: dead and injured workers supplying the very clothes that earn Gap Inc. billions of dollars a year.