Zimmerman verdict sparks calls for Florida boycotts
People angered by the verdict freeing George Zimmerman have begun a campaign on social media to boycott tourism to Florida vacations and even Florida orange juice.
ORLANDO, Fla. — Angered by George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, protesters around the country have begun vowing on social-media channels to boycott everything from Florida vacations to state-produced orange juice.
“Never again. Florida’s economy will suffer due to the loss and injustices of Trayvon Martin and his family,” Facebook user Toshia Lynn posted on the public page of Visit Florida, the state’s tourism-marketing agency.
Users on Twitter have begun campaigning under hash tags such as #BoycottFlorida and #NotFlorida. Their goal: To squeeze influential tourism businesses, in hopes they will in turn pressure state leaders into repealing the state’s controversial “stand your ground” gun-rights law, which emerged as a flash point in Zimmerman’s trial.
“Boycott Florida and maybe the tourism board and Disney will pressure FL lawmakers to repel (sic) Stand Your Ground,” Twitter user @vivalalisian23m posted Tuesday.
A petition to “Boycott Florida Tourism,” launched on the website of Moveon.org, had drawn more than 6,300 signatures by Tuesday evening.
At least one celebrity joined the chorus: Musician Stevie Wonder told an audience in Quebec City, Canada, that he will not perform in Florida again until the “stand your ground” law is repealed, according to Hollywood Reporter. Wonder added that he would refuse to perform in any other state with a “stand your ground” law, as well.
But while emotions are raw right now, one industry expert said the calls for boycotts are unlikely to have any meaningful impact on Orlando or Florida tourism.
“I honestly don’t think so. Most people are familiar with what’s going on, and they wouldn’t blame an entire state for what happened in a very isolated case,” said Abe Pizam, dean of the University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
A spokesman for Visit Orlando, the region’s publicly subsidized marketing agency, said it is too early to tell whether boycotts will have a significant effect.
4 jurors disagree with TV statements
Four of the jurors at the George Zimmerman trial distanced themselves late Tuesday from statements that another juror made in a televised interview.
Jurors B51, B76, E6 and E40 issued a brief statement on court stationery saying that the opinions expressed by Juror B37 to CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday night are not representative of their views.
Juror B37 said the actions of Zimmerman, a former neighborhood watch volunteer, and Trayvon Martin both led to the teenager’s fatal shooting last year, but that Zimmerman didn’t actually break the law. The juror had said she plans to write a book about her experience.
In the CNN interview, Juror B37 said she didn’t believe that Zimmerman followed Martin, 17, because of his race. She said Zimmerman made some mistakes, but that she believed Martin struck Zimmerman first and that Zimmerman had a right to defend himself.