UPDATED: This morning President-elect Donald Trump urged people to support L.L. Bean
Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
The anti-Trump group “Grab Your Wallet” has targeted outdoor company L.L. Bean for a boycott because a granddaughter of the L.L. Bean founder donated money to a Trump PAC.
Linda Bean is the granddaughter of founder Leon Leonwood Bean and “owns a chunk” of the company.
She contributed $60,000 to the Making America Great Again LLC, according to the Federal Election Commission. The agency said in a letter dated Jan. 4 that her contribution exceeded the individual donor limit of $5,000, according to the Associated Press.
After news of the donation emerged, anti-Trump group Grab Your Wallet called for a boycott of L.L. Bean’s products. Founded last October, Grab Your Wallet publishes a list of companies and individuals who support Trump and urges consumers to punish them by withholding their cash.
Executive Chairman Shawn Gorman released a statement explaining that the company has many (50+) family members who are partial owners of the company and that one donation from a company owner does not speak for the company as a whole.
“L.L. Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions,” said Gorman. “Simply put, we stay out of politics. To be included in this boycott campaign is simply misguided, and we respectfully request that Grab Your Wallet reverse its position.”
But Grab Your Wallet doesn’t care what L.L. Bean has to say. Shannon Coulter, the co-founder of the group, said “it would be naïve for any brand to believe that in this day and age, a board member can participate in these kinds of activities and not think it’ll affect the bottom line in any way.”
Boycotts have come from both ends of the political spectrum.
There’s been lots of blowback experienced by brands that waded into the recent political maelstrom. Trump supporters protested against Starbucks Corp. after its chief executive officer supported Hillary Clinton, and they took off after Kellogg Co. when it pulled advertising from the ultra-right website Breitbart News. The president-elect himself called for a boycott of Macy’s Inc. after the department store dumped his clothing line.
Anti-Trump activists meanwhile pressed for boycotts of retailers that sell daughter Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, including, yes, Macy’s. And New Balance was burned by furious customers (literally, in some online videos) after a spokesperson for the shoemaker criticized the Obama administration while coming out in support of Trump’s opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. (Clinton also opposed the pact.)
There seems to be a difference between boycotting a company for the actions of the company and boycotting a company because of the actions of a private person associated with that company.
Granddaughter Linda Bean appeared on Fox and Friends this morning and she is not backing down.
"I never back down." -Linda Bean, granddaughter of L.L Bean founder, sounds off on anti-Trump protesters targeting the American brand pic.twitter.com/VlG3BLDHTY
— FOX & friends (@foxandfriends) January 12, 2017