JUNE 12, 2020 | FULLTONE
Fulltone CEO's Criticism of National Protest Draws Backlash

Fulltone, the guitar and bass effects company, has sparked controversy after CEO Michael Fuller posted on Facebook condemning protestors taking a stand against police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd. In response, Guitar Center is removing Fulltone products from stores, Reverb will be phasing out Fulltone listings and many musicians are boycotting the brand.

Fuller's original post, now deleted, read: "What is this like night 4 of looting with 100% impunity. The pussy Mayor and Governor don't give a shit about small businesses, and it's never been more clear." Fuller followed this up with a comment saying, "Ahh I feel better, and flushed out some prissy boys who were raised to pee sitting down. Now I'll delete."

On the Facebook Fulltone fan page, a Fulltone customer posted a screenshot of an email he received from Fuller after he had complained to the company about the CEO's statements. The email reads: "I am begging you to sell your pedals because you actually don't deserve them. You are actually so racist that you believe the Good people who are protesting are the same as the Organized gang banger criminals who are looting 'storefronts.' Those 'storefronts' are good hardworking people's lives and livelihoods. I'm fact if I see you with a Fulltone pedal I will tag it and break into your house and loot it from you, because it's my free expression to do so… right?"

Guitar Center issued a statement on Twitter in response to Fuller's post, staying, "We are no longer doing business with Fulltone and are moving quickly to remove all Fulltone products from our stores and websites." Although there are some used Fulltone products on Guitar Center's website, searching for "Fulltone" now redirects customers to the Guitar Center homepage, which currently features a statement in support of Black Lives Matter.

However, on Fulltone's Facebook page, Fuller wrote, "I am seeing some inaccurate news headlines by various online magazines that require clarification: I terminated Guitar Center and Musician's Friend's Dealership on March 23, 2020 at 12:39pm and they acknowledged this back then. This predates their recent tweet by a few months."

Reverb also condemned Fuller's statements by adding a "Why are you suspending the sale of new Fulltone products?" page explaining that on July 1, the company will suspend sales of all new, mint and B-stock Fulltone products. Reverb is also pledging to donate all selling fees from Fulltone's products to a racial justice organization as of June 1.

Fuller issued an apology in a now-deleted post that Guitar World saved before it was deleted, writing:

"I want to address a couple of things I posted recently that have rightfully pissed off a bunch of people. A couple of days ago I made a comment about the mayor and Governor being pussies for allowing looting.

"The rest of that sentiment that did not get shared is '...they were arresting the good people protesting and allowing professional crews to loot with impunity.' Adding that doesn't make it better, but I do believe that no one should destroy another person's property...I can't wrap my head around that one.

"But the real question should be: what is privileged white guy doing opening his mouth about this, let alone throwing gas on a sensitive subject? I've been thinking a lot about his, and I believe the answer is insensitivity, anger, and most importantly Fear.

"Fear from just coming out of this COVID quarantine and it's affects on business, and, fear or many things, including fears of lack of relevancy, aging, and fear of losing what you think is yours. Which is a phallacy [sic] in itself, because I, not owed anything. Fear of being looted and harmed. In my case, I think I've been in fear for a very long time, and fear can makes people say stupid things.

"I'll end now by saying I apologize to anybody I've offended, and believe that anyone who abuses or harms another person should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, that includes cops, and I shouldn't speak to this subject any more unless I'm out there doing something positive, which is not the case right now."

On Fulltone's fan page, one member posted a screenshot of what is a now-deleted post of Fuller responding to anyone upset with him for apologizing, saying, "To my supporters who say 'WTF, you didn't say anything wrong, it's ok to be anti looting' I suggest this: If that's your (my) main (or only) concern then you're (I'm) ignoring the way more important issue of human life and dignity."

Several musicians have criticized Fuller's comments, such as Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Jason Isbell and Ryley Walker.

fulltone.com