HARTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – After the National Rifle Association (NRA) sent letters to its members stating YETI, the popular cooler company, cut ties with the NRA, one Hartsville man decided to show his disappointment in an explosive way.
The letter, which was posted to the NRA website, is dated April 20 and says, “Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with the NRA Foundation, saying they no longer wish to be an NRA vendor, and refused to say why.”
Hartsville resident Bryan Atkinson decided if YETI would cut ties with the NRA, he would cut ties with the cooler company. Atkinson packed his YETI cooler full of explosives Monday afternoon.
“There’s the famous YETI,” Atkinson says as he opens the ice chest. “There’s the famous 22 pounds of Tannerite. This YETI ain’t ready.”
Two other men in the video are seen carrying the cooler loaded with explosives into the middle of a field.
“YETI can’t stand behind the NRA, I ain’t standing behind YETI no more,” Atkinson says as he retrieves a gun from the pickup truck. “Y’all get ready. It’s going down.”
Atkinson is seen on the video steadying a rifle before shooting the cooler, which explodes in a large bang and white plume of smoke.
“There goes that YETI,” Atkinson says.
The explosion apparently prompted those living nearby to call the police department. On the Hartsville Police Department Facebook page, officers mention Atkinson’s video in regards to the loud explosion, and ask that any disgruntled YETI owners, donate their coolers to the department.
“If you have excess Yeti Coolers to blow up, instead; feel free to donate them to the police department, where we can use them to store cold water and sports drinks for our officers during the summer months.”
Yeti released a statement on its website on Monday about the NRA controversy.
“A few weeks ago, YETI notified the NRA Foundation, as well as a number of other organizations, that we were eliminating a group of outdated discounting programs. When we notified the NRA Foundation and the other organizations of this change, YETI explained that we were offering them an alternative customization program broadly available to consumers and organizations, including the NRA Foundation. These facts directly contradict the inaccurate statement the NRA-ILA distributed on April 20.
Further, the NRA-ILA stated in that same public communication that “[YETI has] declined to continue helping America’s young people enjoy outdoor recreational activities.” Nothing is further from the truth. YETI was founded more than 10 years ago with a passion for the outdoors, and over the course of our history we have actively and enthusiastically supported hunters, anglers and the broader outdoor community. We have been devoted to and will continue to directly support causes tied to our passion for the outdoors, including by working with many organizations that promote conservation and management of wildlife resources and habitat restoration. From our website to our film footage and from our social media posts to our ambassadors, YETI has always prominently featured hunters pursuing their passions. Moreover, YETI is unwavering in our belief in and commitment to the Constitution of the United States and its Second Amendment.”