A California couple who had spent almost 20 years of their lives promoting RV travel suddenly found themselves unemployed after voicing their opinions of Donald Trump.
Brad and Amy Herzog, who worked as spokespeople for the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), had gained quite a following for their interviews about RVs, and had even won the industry’s Spirit of America award in 2006. They were hardworking and well-respected in their fields, so their termination came as quite a shock.
Brad and Amy had just begun a 50-day travel project for RVIA and were barely six days in when they were fired on June 28. It was the day that the Herzogs had launched a Kickstarter campaign for an anti-Trump illustration book called “D is for Dump Trump: An Anti-Hate Alphabet.” The couple had taken the book on as a creative project completely separate from their travel profession, with Amy illustrating and Brad writing 26 short poems. On that same day, the Herzogs had done an interview on traveling in RVs with a Phoenix news station that had nothing to do with politics – but it quickly went sour.
Just fifteen minutes after the interview ended, the Herzogs got a phone call from an RVIA representative that said their tour had been suspended and the Herzogs would not be paid any of the remaining money they were to be compensated.
For the Herzogs and their two teenage sons, that call was a shock. According to Brad, he and his wife had never brought up their book in their professional careers, and there was nothing in their RVIA contract that prevented them from talking about politics. However, there was an “at-will” provision that said they could be terminated at any time. Brad said:
“Suddenly because it came out that we had other lives that included creative ways of expressing the courage of our convictions, we were deemed toxic.”
It turned out that earlier that day, editor of RV Daily Report Greg Gerber had written about the Herzogs’ political views, suggesting that RVIA let them go. He wrote:
“For an organization that routinely walks the tightrope of political correctness, it seems rather odd that RVIA would turn a blind eye to such a divisive book in this politically-charged environment. When they are advocating a political agenda in an election year, if the entrepreneurial Herzogs can make money bashing a billionaire entrepreneur, hey, more power to them. They should just do it on their time and not in conjunction with an RVIA road trip.”
In a statement on its website, RVIA said that the Herzogs’ book did not agree with the organization’s nonpartisan position and that it “distracted from our core value of political neutrality.”
“To clarify our position, the decision to suspend the tour was based solely on the tone and content of the Herzogs’ book. Regardless of the candidate or political affiliation depicted, we would have arrived at the same decision.”
After they were fired, the Herzogs’ need to publish their anti-Trump book only grew stronger. The couple runs a small publishing company called Why Not Books, and had planned to donate $1 from each book sold to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination. Brad said:
“D is for Dump Trump stands for our disgust with Trump’s reactionary rhetoric and the way he substitutes innuendo for fact in an attempt to inflame his supporters and bully his detractors and scapegoat various segments of the population. And I feel like that’s exactly the tactic that was used against us.”
Thanks to this awful injustice, the Herzogs are “more emboldened than ever” to make sure this book gets produced. Although they aren’t taking legal action yet, the couple have gotten tons of offers to help them in their fight. Brad said, “Right now, we’re just trying to land on our feet with our principles in tact.”
After losing their jobs, the Herzogs’ $7,500 Kickstarter goal was blown away, with over $23,500 in donations by Thursday morning – most of it coming from strangers. In noting how ironic it is to be fired for his political briefs when a huge benefit of traveling the country is to meet people with different beliefs than yourself, Brad said:
“I still believe that a road trip in a house on wheels is a great way to see America and I feel like if more people did so, and got out of their little bubble world, including maybe some of the people involved in this decision, there might just be a little bit less intolerance out there.”
You can support the couple’s anti-Trump book here.
Featured image via Brad Herzog Facebook and screenshot