Shipping giant FedEx has pulled out of a business conference after former Arkansas death row inmate Damien Echols was asked to speak in Downtown Memphis on Feb. 11.
FedEx was a co-sponsor of Everywhereelse.co: The Startup Conference, which is scheduled for Sunday through Tuesday at the Cook Convention Center.
FedEx withdrew sponsorship this week after conference organizers announced Echols would take part in a talk Monday about how the world has changed since he was sent to prison. Echols is one of three men who were convicted in the killing of three Cub Scouts in a West Memphis, Ark., woods in 1993.
Echols is set to talk on Monday about how the world has changed since he was sent to prison nearly 20 years ago.
FedEX said Echols' talk didn't match the company's understanding of what the conference was about.
Hours after FedEx pulled out of the conference, Echols sent a response to Memphis media:
"I am blessed to have the support of hundreds of thousands of people from around the globe, from New Zealand to Norway, many whom worked tirelessly to free me, Jason and Jesse," Echols said in a statement. "After close to 20 years imprisoned on death row, I have endured greater hardships than FEDEX making a rash decision without knowing very much about my case. It is more a measure FEDEX's lack of corporate integrity and decency than it is about my struggle to clear my name."