Thursday’s release of a Heartland Institute billboard campaign comparing those who believe in global warming to Ted Kaczynski sent immediate waves of horror, shock, and disgust across the world. Within a few hours, the campaign had raised such a fury of negative response that the climate-denier organization announced its intention to pull the billboards, though the organization has yet to offer an apology for its highly offensive campaign.
The Heartland Institute’s inflammatory shock tactics and aggressive “flat earth society” policies have spurred a wave of supporters to jump ship, including the international beverage giant Diageo, and an assemblage of insurance companies who had donated over $1 million over the past two years for programs related to federal insurance reform. Insurance companies have come out strongly in support of climate science, citing the dangers of rising sea levels and increased extreme weather events as major factors in the future financial stability of their industry.
Earlier this year, the publication of internal documents detailing the group’s strategy to force their anti-science views into classrooms caused other major supporters to cut all ties with the organization, including the automaker GM.
Other financial backers like Microsoft have published statements directly contradicting the group’s view on climate change, but have not yet cut ties with the company. Microsoft’s contributions come from free software licenses the organization says is available upon request to any eligible non-profit organization.
UPDATE: 5/8/12 After a petition campaign from State Farm customers and negative press, State Farm announced on its facebook page that it would be ending its association with the Heartland Institute due to "a recent billboard campaign launched by the Institute." On their website, the insurance company says "At State Farm, a good neighbor is a green neighbor."