If you have spent any amount of time in the Mountain West or among Mormons, you are probably are aware of Fight The New Drug. They are the Utah based anti-smut group who posts poorly researched articles on Facebook and sales the bright red “Porn Kills Love” t-shirts.
I can’t stand them.
Listing all the reasons why are beyond the scope of this article. On Facebook I decided to let them know my concerns with the way they are doing business. And I got banned from their Facebook page. All my comments deleted. Like I never raised any concerns.
Here’s the story.
But first, let’s look at the disconcerting nature of the banning. Whenever one of their article pops up on social media, you will notice that every comment is incredibly supportive of FTND; usually filled with glowing language and personal testaments. There is a good reason for that. Evidently anybody who speaks badly gets banned.
This should raise a big alarm coming from a group who is advertising themselves as an organization fighting for morality and offering social solutions. When you have a morality group that silences anybody who speaks against the group, it’s safe to assume some questionable motives. As Tyrion Lannister reminds us:
When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.
What concerns me the most about FTND is that they run like a business but do it under the guise of a social movement for change.
Their shirts and clothing aren’t cheap. All of their social posts showing people wearing the shirts are always trendy-looking, conventionally attractive young adults and teenagers. You hardly ever find one of their advertisements with an unattractive person in them. That’s not what I would expect from a group that is supposedly against objectifying women. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a range in their ads?
So just a little searching on their website unveils obvious tactics that belong in clothing advertising. It’s the classic “look at all these attractive people, don’t you want to be a part of them?” technique that isn’t what I would expect from a group supposedly focused on the sexual health of men and women.
But should you have to spend money to buy their gear?
I understand that a group needs money. That is just an outcome of our capitalistic system. Asking for donations and even selling merchandise is a necessary evil. What bugs me is how FTND gets their costumers. Their internet presence is filled with aggressive messages that, although the adamantly deny it, aim to create a sense of smug superiority among those who support FTND.
By using the same language for porn users as for drug addicts and using slogans like “Porn Kills Love”, FTND sends a clear message: if you watch porn you are inferior. You can’t even love! Their followers eat it up. If somebody else is inferior to them, then they have the moral high ground. They can look at themselves in the mirror, content that in at least one aspect of their lives they are better than somebody else.
No wonder FTND does so good among Utah Mormons.
And so they generate these feelings. What’s the purpose? To make some money. They quickly turn these manufactured feelings into a way to sell shirts and merchandise. According to old tax forms the CEO of FTND makes around $80,000 a year, pretty good for a guy right out of college.
Now I kind of understand selling the t-shirts. But what about materials like flyers and handouts? If the “movement” is so important and is fighting the greatest threat our society is facing, shouldn’t some of the promotional material be free?
And this is where I got mad.
I was already making some sarcastic comments about cucumbers on one of their articles when I saw this pop up:
Oh cool, some fliers to become a “foot soldier”. Click on the link. It costs $25?! You have to pay money to advertise for them?! Yeah FTND, your movement is so important that you won’t let people easily spread it without paying money to you.
I got angry and made this comment: “Become the movement with our Street Team Kit! You’ll have everything you need to be a foot soldier for the cause and spread the word wherever you go…. You just have to pay $25 first.”
Next day: banned.
Remember this FTND supporters. You are paying money to a company. They want your money to pay their bills. And they are willing to ban people and delete their comments for even slightly hinting that this is the case.
Here’s another comment on the page, and is exactly what is wrong with FTND: