Guitar Center stop selling Fulltone products after owner criticizes protests, musicians boycott
Fulltone, the guitar and bass effects company behind the popular OCD pedal (pictured above), have come under fire by high-profile musicians and Guitar Center after founder Mike Fuller posted a series of offensive comments to the company's official Facebook page criticizing the nationwide protests against police brutality.
"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 wrote, and followed it in a comment with, "Ahh I feel better, and flushed out some prissy boys who were raised to pee sitting down. Now I’ll delete."
One Fulltone user emailed the company to complain, and Fuller himself purportedly responded with an email that a screenshot of was then posted to a Fulltone fan page on Facebook, which actually has almost twice as many followers as the official Fulltone page. 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?"
The fan page condemned Fuller's comments and wrote, "This is not a #riot this is #rebellion ! #justiceforgeorgefloyd I don't care what Mike says on his own page, I run this page and will promote the movement. -Bryant." The fan page also changed its profile picture to a raised fist, cover photo to "#BlackLivesMatter," and posted a series of organizations and fundraisers to support.
blink-182's Mark Hoppus tweeted, "Never buying another Fulltone pedal and will find a good way to get rid of those I already own."
Jason Isbell encouraged other guitarists to "check out black-owned pedal company Dogman Devices. I’ve not used them but they seem to be good and fulltone has always made overpriced junk."
Jason's tweet was in response to a tweet from Ryan Walsh of Hallelujah The Hills, which showed a screenshot of Fuller's Facebook posts and read "I'll never buy another Fulltone guitar pedal again."
Amy Ray of Indigo Girls replied to Jason's tweet, writing, "ugh...what a jerk, I will be dumping my Fulltone pedals asap!"
Cynthia Ann Schemmer (of Radiator Hospital, Swanning, and more, and a contributor to the upcoming book Stompbox: A Visual Exploration of the Guitar Pedal) posted the screenshots and wrote, "A call for all musicians to remove Fulltone from their pedalboards! I will donate and ship my OCD overdrive to any black LGBTQ+ guitarist who is interested - DM me!"
Ryley Walker responded to Cynthia's tweet, writing, "I support only using gear made by people who encourage scorched earth sounds in defiance of everything fucked up in the world. fulltone is dogshit and for posers with hair plugs who step on other people's solos."
Savoir Adore called to "boycott Fulltone."
Meanwhile, Guitar Center -- the country's largest music retail chain -- officially stated, "We are no longer doing business with Fulltone and are moving quickly to remove all Fulltone products from our stores and websites." There are still some used Fulltone products available on Guitar Center's website, but a search for "Fulltone" now redirects you to their homepage. Guitar Center's homepage also has a prominently featured statement in support of Black Lives Matter.
Fuller has since issued an apology in a now-deleted post that Guitar World transcribed 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.
And the Fulltone fan page posted a screenshot of what is purportedly a now-deleted post of Fuller responding to those who took issues with him changing his tune, 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." You can see that full post below.
Stay tuned for any further developments on this story.
UPDATE: Reverb.com is suspending sales of new Fulltone products and donating sales from used Fulltone products to a racial justice organization. Read more here.
Related amazing tweet: