Yesterday, the AAPI online activist group 18MillionRising.org successfully launched a hoax campaign targeting Gap Inc. for its failure to take responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of Bangaldeshi factory workers. Leveraging a website (www.GapDoesMore.com, now defunct) and Twitter account (@GapDoesMore, now defunct), 18MR posed as the clothing giant and announced 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 www.GapDoesMore.com, Gap Inc. issued a statement calling the parody site “fraudulent.” Now, the company has gone after 18MR’s digital assets, aiming to silence the protest against their international worker practices by shutting down both the campaign Twitter account and website.
Gap Inc. has proven that it is more willing to villainize a small non-profit organization with a staff of only three than it is to step up to the plate and answer hard questions about the way the company treats the very people who sustain the business. Despite Gap Inc.’s efforts to silence the voices of workers and activists around the globe – of which 18MR is its most recent victim – the questions remain: 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?
Gap Inc. continues to make billions of dollars a year, but cannot manage to compensate for 7 lives lost. This makes no sense, and it’s high time that the retailer answer for its actions.
This is not about a hoax on the company, it’s about justice for the workers who make the company possible. Gap Inc. has refused so far to “do more” for the most vulnerable workers in its supply chain, so now we are demanding more.