The move followed widespread calls, led by the consumer group “Grab Your Wallet,” to boycott L.L. Bean products in protest.
“We were disappointed to learn that Grab Your Wallet is advocating a boycott against L.L.Bean solely because Linda Bean, who is only one of 50+ family members involved with the business, personally supported Donald Trump for President,” said Shawn Gorman, L.L. Bean Executive Chairman.
“We fully acknowledge and respect that some may disagree with the political views of a single member of our 10-person board of directors,” the statement continued.
“No individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that L.L. built,” it continued.
Trump, however, apparently didn’t get the memo. In a tweet this morning (Jan. 12) at 8:50 a.m., he praised Linda 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,” he Tweeted.
Linda Bean appeared on Fox News this morning to say she would not back down in the face of the boycott, even if it means tens of thousands of dollars in lost sales. (see below)
The company’s response was thanks, but no thanks.
“L.L.Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, we stay out of politics,” the statement said.
“With this in mind, we are deeply troubled by the portrayal of L.L.Bean as a supporter of any political agenda.”
Linda Bean, granddaughter of founder Leon Leonwood Bean, injected the company into the political arena when she donated to a pro-Donald Trump political action committee.
Linda has long been active in Republican politics. She ran twice for Congress in Maine and lost both times. She made an illegal $60,000 donation to the “Make America Great Again” political action committee (PAC).
The Federal Election Commission said in a letter dated Jan. 4 the contribution violated the individual donor limit of $5,000, according to The Associated Press.
Shawn posted the statement on Facebook and was besieged by more than 4,000 comments, both pro and con, according to the Providence Journal newspaper.
Grab Your Wallet said it would take L.L. Bean off its boycott list if it drops Linda Bean from its board. The group has singled out dozens of companies for various reasons, mostly political.
L.L. Bean may be particularly vulnerable because the bulk of its customers are twenty-somethings and millennials, who overwhelmingly supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the election.
Threatening a boycott has been used by both sides of the political spectrum.
Trump supporters tried to launch a boycott of Starbucks after its chief executive endorsed Clinton. Right-wing activists called for a boycott of Kellogg’s after it stopped advertising on Breitbart News.
Even Trump called for a boycott of Macy’s after it dropped his clothing line, which is made in Southeast Asian sweat shops.
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"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