Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

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A former Everytown for Gun Safety employee took to Glassdoor — a website where current and former employees can anonymously rate and review employers — to warn people to stay away from the gun control organization.

According to the review, left on July 30, 2021, working for Everytown was “similar to being in an abusive relationship.” What’s worse is the review comes from someone who worked in a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center.

Working at Everytown is similar to being in an abusive relationship. I do not take that statement lightly – I have experienced my fair share of abusive and manipulative relationships and I previously worked for a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis center. Everytown as an organization and Everytown’s management really meet all the criteria.

On the outside, (white) people love Everytown. Everytown has carefully created a brand of “gun violence prevention” that gun owners and non-gun owners want to stand beside, under the guise of “protect the children”! When you tell others where you work, you might hear comments like, “thank you for doing this important work”. But on the inside it’s a nightmare. I believe the folks who have positive things to say about the organization (at this point) are either a.) a part of the problem or b.) leave before they take off their rose-colored glasses.

Similar to an abusive relationship, at first Everytown is appealing, great benefits, it pays more than most non-profits, work-sponsored travel, free branded swag, use of the word “team” so often heard that you really believe for a moment that you are in a warm and welcoming work environment, that cares about ending gun violence and your well-being. All the warm and fuzzies, until little by little, things change.

Interestingly enough, one of the major people the review seems to take issue with is none other than Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts.

Albeit there is a massive discrepancy in how you are treated based on your department and manager. If you are searching for a job within the Field Department, this will absolutely be applicable to you, should you choose to work at Everytown after reading through these reviews. The Field Team is paid the least within the organization, this team includes the SURVIVORS OF GUN VIOLENCE, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action. There is cliquey energy within this team with the white women who have been around “since the beginning” aka since a white woman who had absolutely no connection to Sandy Hook decided to “take action” via Facebook and later profit massively from it. Spoiler alert: these women are now managers/directors and are part of the reason why talented staff leaves, especially staff of color.

The Field is “leading the racial justice work” in the organization, with emphasis on how volunteers need education, with no intention of addressing it internally. The only reason why some race-based conversation happened was because George Floyd was murdered and it made the organization look “woke”. It’s hypocritical on the inside and the outside once you start paying attention. The point of Field leading DEI work is used to gaslight Field staff seeking greater change. The actions that happened following George Floyd’s murder were also used to gaslight staff because “look how much has changed” or “this is the most change I’ve seen in the 7 years I have been here” and “change takes time.”

For years, those of us who are pro-gun pointed out that gun control advocates are quick to disarm women and people of color, especially those in inner cities. People like Maj Toure and Chris Cheng have repeatedly talked about how the other side puts them in this box.

Anti-gunners assume all minorities, members of the LGBT community, and urban Americans are helpless. It turns out a large part of Everytown and Moms Demand Action’s failed messaging stems from rich white women, like Shannon Watts, who know nothing about being a person of color in the inner city.

But that’s not their only problem. Trainings and “research” are being conducted by those who know nothing about the subject area. In other words, they’re preaching from a pedestal they have no business being put on. How rich.

If you are working for the Political team, Federal team, and some of Law & Policy team, you will definitely make more money, and will likely be just fine if you are a white man. There is a lot of Ol’ boys club energy and culture between the white men, who all definitely protect and uplift one another. They seem to be immune from consequence or feedback and people tiptoe around them out of fear of disrupting the status quo and losing their job.

There is a general culture of working hard “for the cause” which looks like overworking employees, with tasks and responsibilities that are impossible to accomplish in a 40 hour work week. Gun violence prevention is used to justify this continued treatment (gaslighting) and if you can’t keep up then you just are doing enough “self-care”. In addition to the long hours, over time your managers will continuously add on responsibilities, including tasks that you might have no expertise in executing. Some examples: A group of white people should not be responsible for creating anti-racist trainings for the organization and volunteer base; non-clinicians should not be creating trauma-informed trainings; managers with absolutely no experience should not be claiming “conflict resolution” approaches when they have never participated/won’t pay for legitimate conflict mediation; and department managers talking about characteristics of white supremacy when they have no intention of changing the white supremacist culture and policies that harm and push out BIPOC staff. Also, so many staff facilitating and developing training content with no experience with the topic, but also no experience facilitating and creating content.

I want to circle back to this idea of working “for the cause” – in Everytown’s case, senior management actually has no intention of ending gun violence, especially outside of gun violence that white children might experience. This organization is used as a shiny, feel good, star for the wealthy, white folks at the top. It’s all politics. Instead of investing millions or hundreds of thousands of dollars into communities, with violence intervention programs that have been proven to work, they will literally donate millions (y’all can look it up) into political races and into the hands of legislators to get what they want. Again, not based on what a community wants – it doesn’t matter if Black and brown folks will be over policed by a policy Everytown paid to come to fruition because Everytown does it to look “good” (to white people). Remember, saying “police violence is gun violence” was a highly radical statement until they needed to look woke in their listserv when George Floyd was murdered.

Are you still reading? I’m sure some folks have already made a decision after reading thus far, but let me continue just in case.

Gaslighting is the major characteristic of abuse at Everytown. There is absolutely no transparency in how decisions are made (hint: it’s personal interest, favoritism, and nepotism) then management is “confused” about the “rumors” that lower staff “come up with.” They have offered virtual forums to address staff concerns, but talk so much that there is only time for one question and don’t think about using that chat box because management can’t answer verbal questions and read/respond to the chat box in the same meeting (fyi, Field does this getting paid a third or a quarter of their salary).

The saddest part is the poster contemplated suicide because of the dysfunctionality and abuse taking place inside the organization.

During the pandemic, many of the staff, especially women, were on child care duty, homeschooling, etc. while trying to work. For the staff who utilized the Federal COVID relief policy to have a reduced schedule, they were expected to do the same amount of work in less days aka working three 13-hour days and getting paid 24 hours per week. During and before COVID, so many of us prioritized work (especially the perfectionist/seeking approval types), leaving our families, our homes, our relationships, and our personal and physical health behind, similarly to the isolation that occurs over time in abusive relationships. Personally, I got to a point where I was contemplating completing suicide out of the dread of going to work every day. (But remember, it’s my fault for not taking care of myself because I didn’t self-care hard enough).

I had countless meetings with my supervisor, my supervisor’s supervisor, my supervisor’s supervisor’s supervisor, HR, other departments even. Feedback doesn’t go anywhere or doesn’t change anything depending on who you talk to.

Even though this organization acts as though they’re the champion of minorities, the poster indicates minority staffers are continually “marginalized.”

There is truly so much more I can say. I haven’t touched on tokenization of marginalized staff, particularly Black, latinx, and LGBTQ staff. I haven’t touched on the Planned Parenthood to Everytown pipeline. I haven’t touched on the ableist policies and work culture. I haven’t touched on how managers have blocked staff moving into higher paying roles because they didn’t like them. The pay or recognition (you will never get) is not worth it.

This organization is like a black hole. By the time you realize how horribly you are being treated because you are tired, overworked, and you feel crazy, like it’s your fault you feel this way because you are not doing enough self-care, you have absolutely no energy to get out. It takes a lot of energy to apply and interview for jobs, and I know at least five people who are actively trying to quit, in the process of interviewing, etc. but still have to show up. For others, the beginning charm of this abusive relationship flares up and keeps them going like a free lunch, a new sweatshirt, working remotely for many Field staff, or maybe they just need to keep the good benefits for their family. I know even more folks where this is the case (over 20).

This organization is beyond change, beyond saving. This harm is intentional. Do not waste your life like so many of us did.

This review confirms everything we have repeatedly said about Everytown and their affiliates. This organization works to disarm law-abiding Americans in the name of “gun safety” yet they fail to care about their alleged cause or the people they supposedly work to help. The worst part of the entire ordeal is those who cling to their message believe Everytown’s leadership cares about average Americans, especially minorities.

The truth is people like Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts care about no one but themselves. They want to disarm you and me but they pay to have private security that protects them with – you guessed it – a firearm. They look at people’s grief as a moneymaking tool that also gives them notoriety from the legacy media.

Hopefully, potential employees will look at this review and realize they would be a pawn in a larger scheme. And, if we’re lucky, getting the word out about how horrible their organization truly is will cause their demise.

Thank you to our friends at Mom-At-Arms for highlighting this review and bringing it to light.

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