NRA to shut down production of NRATV
Posted June 26, 2019 8:18 a.m. EDT
CNN — The National Rifle Association is shutting down production of its online streaming network, NRATV, according to a spokesman for the gun lobby.
Andrew Arulanandam confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that the organization will stop producing new content for its 24-hour live online channel. The decision was first reported by the New York Times.
The Times noted that NRATV may air past content, but its hosts, like Dana Loesch, will no longer be featured in live programming.
The move to end NRATV's programming comes amid troubles for the powerful lobby group, with reports of infighting among its top ranks and scrutiny of its finances by the New York attorney general.
The NRA also severed its business ties to its longtime advertising firm, Ackerman McQueen Inc., which operates NRATV, according to the Times.
The two have been locked in a legal battle, with the NRA accusing Ackerman of breach of contract and their fiduciary duty in a lawsuit. The complaint, filed in May, also claims the ad agency attempted to engineer a failed coup against the NRA's CEO Wayne LaPierre. Ackerman called the suit a "reckless attempt to scapegoat Ackerman McQueen for the NRA's own breakdown in governance, compliance and leadership."
An earlier suit argued that Ackerman failed to disclose details about $40 million that the NRA and affiliated groups spent annually with the firm and a subsidiary. Ackerman called the allegations "false" and later filed a counterclaim, accusing the NRA of using litigation as a ploy to terminate the contract without properly compensating the firm, The Wall Street Journal had reported.
In a statement obtained by the Times, Ackerman said it was "not surprised that the NRA is unwilling to honor its agreement to end our contract and our long-standing relationship in an orderly and amicable manner."
"When given the opportunity to do the right thing, the NRA. once again has taken action that we believe is intended to harm our company even at the expense of the NRA itself," the company said, the Times reported.
The Times reported that LaPierre told members in a message expected to be sent Wednesday that "many members expressed concern about the messaging on NRATV becoming too far removed from our core mission: defending the Second Amendment."
Last year, the channel stirred up controversy when Loesch criticized the children's show "Thomas & Friends" for partnering with the United Nations to increase diversity on the program — and showed the characters on-screen wearing Ku Klux Klan hoods.