Shopify critics angry at the company’s free-speech stance delivered their message on Thursday with a physical petition and a small but vocal protest.
The group was led by Emma Pullman, lead campaign strategist of SumOfUs.org, a consumer-watchdog organization. Pullman travelled from Vancouver to hand-deliver a thick stack of signatures – 140,000 of them.
“When we launched this campaign I thought Shopify was going to respond immediately,” said Pullman. “Instead we’ve seen the company dig its heels in and say it doesn’t have the ability to decide who it does business with.”
“I believe the company is literally profiting off Breitbart’s hateful message,” she said.
Pullman wants the company to create a "hate speech policy" that would contain standards on who they do business with. Shopify has said they don't discriminate against people or companies that sell lawful products.
Shopify executives have openly opposed the U.S. travel ban and supported immigrants. But in early February CEO Tobias Lutke penned an essay in which he argues that, in a democracy, a company like Shopify should not have the right to decide which ideas and products are acceptable and which aren't.
The front doors to 150 Elgin St., the building that hosts Shopify, Ottawa Tourism, Canada Council for the Arts and KPMG, were locked during the small protest.
After several minutes of chanting, a woman opened the door to receive the paper petition. Pullman and the protesters were not invited inside.
Shopify spokesperson Sheryl So said the decision to lock the doors was made by building security.
“Shopify supports the rights of citizens to engage in free speech and peaceful protest,” she said in an emailed statement. “Shopify does not endorse, fund or advertise with Breitbart.”
The SumOfUs petition allows signees to self-identify by checking a box, although the numbers are not confirmed.
While the bulk of the signatures were not affliated with Shopify, Pullman said 17,000 declared they were customers, 750 said they were shareholders and 100 said they were employees.
This article originally appeared in Metro News.