RESTON, Va. — The RV Industry Association severed ties Friday with Brad and Amy Herzog following disclosure that the couple was fundraising for a politically-themed book while on a short-term media tour promoting the RV lifestyle, the group confirmed today.
RVIA released the following statement to RV Daily Report:
“Go RVing suspended its 2016 media tour with Brad and Amy Herzog on June 29, 2016. The Herzogs have been long-time supporters of our industry and the RV lifestyle, and this decision was difficult.
“However, Go RVing, and its principals, RVIA and RVDA, are nonpartisan. On both the federal and state level, the RV industry has a long and successful record of building and maintaining positive working relationships on both sides of the aisle on legislative and regulatory issues.
“As spokespersons for Go RVing, the Herzogs’ decision to merchandise a book that does not meet the nonpartisan position of our organizations, distracted from our core values of political neutrality. Go RVing, RVIA and RVDA, will have no further comment on the matter.”
The book, titled “Dump Trump: An Anti-Hate Alphabet,” is described on the Kickstarter page as a picture book for adults about a man-child. Funny, fearless poems and illustrations about the dangers of Donald Trump, from A to Z.
The Herzogs officially began their 50-day media tour June 22, according to one of their Facebook posts. They announced the development of a Dump Trump Kickstarter campaign the next day.
To read more about the book and their Kickstarter campaign, click here.
The campaign officially launched June 28 with the goal of raising $7,500 by Aug. 4. The Go RVing media tour was to end Aug. 7, according to an RVIA press release issued in May.
Brad Herzog announced the termination of the contract via a Facebook post July 30.
“Friends, this might make you really angry, but this Kickstarter campaign that we just launched for our rhyming picture book about the dangers of Donald Trump… Well, WE JUST LOST OUR JOBS OVER IT.
“As many of you know, for 17 summers we have worked as traveling spokespeople for the RV industry, doing more than 300 TV interviews and writing more than half a million words, our role being to genuinely promote the joys and wonders of a road trip to all Americans.
“We know how lucky we have been to have had this opportunity, but please understand that it has been our primary source of income for nearly two decades, and we have worked damn hard to be professional in every way. We have never used that platform for anything but promoting RVing, particularly not as a means to spout some sort of political rhetoric. And we never would.
“But in a case of terrible irony, we fell victim to circumstances that can only be described as Trumpian. An industry newsletter editor got wind of our little book. Without contacting us for any information and within two hours of the launch of our modest Kickstarter campaign, he wrote an incendiary “opinion piece” calling for RVIA to ‘disavow their affiliation with these authors’ — he called us ‘California liberals’ — because he claimed we were somehow using our TV interviews to promote our politics.
“Not true, of course, in any way. But as Trump knows, innuendo (however baseless) can inflame the uninformed. A parade of incredibly nasty comments followed, all based on a manufactured story utilizing completely false assumptions. Sound familiar?
“And of course, the negative publicity about us — although completely unmerited — became the story. You probably know how this movie ends. Within 24 hours, without even the courtesy of a phone call beforehand after 17 years of service, the powers that be “terminated our contract” effective immediately. All because we wrote a little humorous picture book about the dangers of reactionary rhetoric. Ironic enough for you?”
The Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/brad.herzog.
Over the Independence Day weekend, RV Daily Report, which had published the opinion piece June 28, was inundated with comments for and against the editorial. The original opinion piece can be found by clicking here. However, new comments for that story have been turned off.
Since then, the Herzogs have raised more than $11,000 in support for the book. They and their friends are encouraging other media outlets to make the RV Daily Report editorial the real story.
Although the RV Industry Association and the RV Dealers Association won’t comment beyond the statement released above, people familiar with the media tours program told RV Daily Report that spokespeople can earn between $50,000 and $100,000 for two to three months of work.
RV Daily Report also learned that, in the past, there was language in the contracts that prohibit spokespeople from engaging in activities that could shine a negative light on the RV industry and the RV Industry Association. The sources said there was no reason to think RVIA would relax those requirements, especially in an election year.
“If anyone saw the Herzogs doing a TV interview and said to themselves, ‘That’s a family I want to follow because they are living my dream,’ and went to the Herzog’s Facebook page, they would not have seen many posts promoting the RV lifestyle,” one source familiar with the RVIA media tours told RV Daily Report. “But, they would have seen dozens of anti-Trump posts.
“The connection was obvious and easy to uncover,” the source noted. “When I saw the Kickstarter campaign announcement on their Facebook page, I knew RVIA would terminate the contract immediately.”
James Ashurst, vice president of communications and marketing, told RV Daily Report June 28 that he was unaware of the Herzog’s Kickstarter campaign or the book.
As of Tuesday, the Go RVing blog site at blog.gorving.com had been scrubbed of any mention of the Herzogs, and all their prior blog posts had been removed.
Due to the divisive nature of this story, comments have been disabled.