I have to admit that I would expect Bloomberg’s people to be much more thoughtful about the optics of taking the work produced by individuals with far less cash in their bank accounts in this era of economic populism.
Bloomberg was smart enough to realize that after years of his political allies getting arrested – often for gun violence crimes or crimes against women & children – that Illegal Mayors Against Guns wasn’t going to go anywhere. Not to mention, actual grassroots gun owners in many non-urban areas successfully convinced several to very publicly disavow his agenda. He already had a lock on urban leaders, so he rebranded.
He can’t rebrand himself as “not a billionaire.” It is something that has worked against him repeatedly since it automatically paints him as a guy looking to come into states, throw some personal wealth around, and outspend any local voices. Because, well, that is exactly what he does in elections. Regardless, you’d think he’s still want to keep a softer image with it outside of election season so that he can try to build a network of allies to use in the next election season before he pisses them all off.
Nope, Bloomberg’s folks apparently want to promote the image of big, bad jerk billionaire because his partner Shannon Watts decided to take the work of a Houston-based independent photographer. Despite having licensing information clearly stated on his Twitter bio, Shannon swiped his work – how this man in a disaster area supports himself – and posted it to show how much she and her political partners “care.”
In fact, not only did she take it without paying for it, she didn’t even credit him for his work and the fact that he ventured out into the storm to capture the magnitude of the damage. She spent nearly $3 million on a house in the mountains, and her boss is worth about $53 billion, but their online advocacy efforts run through her Twitter page would rather take the (fantastic) work of others without credit or license than pay licensing fees to small business owners. In fact, even though the image is gone from her Twitter account, she refused to acknowledge the wrong and apologize or even wish him & his family well in the ongoing disaster.
Of course, it gets better. This theft of other people’s work goes beyond Twitter and photographs. NSSF’s Larry Keane found that state leaders for Bloomberg & Watts are using local government offices to request Project ChildSafe gun locks and slapping their own branding on them, pretending like they are responsible for the program.
Bloomberg the Billionaire only cares enough about gun safety to buy a little paper, send state leaders around to pick up gun locks provided by the firearm industry, and pretend he’s running his own program. Again, it’s a case of Everytown taking the hard work of people with fewer resources and pretending it is his own without any credit or acknowledgement. This is why class warfare rhetoric works with so many people. Outside of the walls of Everytown, this kind of behavior of taking credit for the work of those with less means rubs people the wrong way.