Nets Ignore Backlash, Boycotts Against Trump-Supporting Businesses, Board Members

January 23rd, 2017 10:42 AM

Business people or companies who chose to endorse, donate or praise Donald Trump have been under attack from the left in recent months. Yet, the network news have failed to inform their viewers about it.

The left took aim at L.L.Bean, Yuengling, New Balance and MyPillow for various forms of support  for President-Elect Donald Trump or for his proposed policies. Gay bars and other customers launched “mass boycotts” of Yuengling, and a national boycott movement emerged to punish other companies too.

In spite of cable and print coverage of the politically-motivated attacks on those companies, the broadcasts networks’ evening newscasts didn’t report on any of the four cases, between Sept. 25, 2016 and Jan. 18, 2017.

The entire clothing company came under attack, once the story broke that Linda Bean — one of member of L.L.Bean’s board of directors —  financially supported the Trump campaign. The Associated Press reported on Jan. 6, that Bean donated $60,000 to Make America Great Again LLC, a PAC that supported Donald Trump.

Because Bean’s contribution exceeded the $5,000 limit on contributions for that group. The Federal Election Committee sent a letter to the PAC and threatened punitive action.

A group known as #GrabYourWallet, which had been calling for boycotts of any company that does business with Trump, quickly criticized L.L.Bean. The executive board chairman Shawn Gorman posted on Facebook that the company “does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters or make political contributions.”

“If L.L. Bean thinks a part-owner and board member can (personally support Trump) and have it not affect their bottom line, that’s very naïve,” huffed Grab Your Wallet co-founder Shannon Coulter to Press Herald Staff Writer Gillian Graham this week,” Bill Nemitz wrote for the Portland Press Herald.

According to The Boston Globe on Jan. 12, Bean called it “bullying,” and President-elect Donald Trump responded to the uproar by telling his Twitter followers to “Buy L.L.Bean.”

Just about any kind of support could put companies on the #GrabYourWallet enemies list. The boycott group targeted shoe company New Balance after a spokesman spoke optimistically about Trump’s proposed trade policy.

New Balance’s vice president of public affairs Matt LeBretton told The Wall Street Journal on Nov. 9, “The Obama administration turned a deaf ear to us and frankly, with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction.”

According to the Journal, hundreds of people on social media said they would boycott New Balance. Some shared pictures of New Balance shoes burning or in the trash.

Business people’s endorsements also drew the ire of the left. Yuengling & Son owner Richard Yuengling, Jr. endorsed Trump for president in October, and the beer company was soon under attack and a boycott target.

“Our guys are behind your father. We need him in here,” Yuengling told Eric Trump on a tour of his brewery and according to local news reports, CNN Money reported.

The New York Daily News reported that Yuengling’s comments triggered “mass boycotts,” including attacks from an openly-gay Pennsylvania state legislator. On Facebook, state Rep. Brian Sims argued for a boycott because the company supported a president “who wants to punish” him for being part of the LGBT community.

“Goodbye Yuengling and shame on you,” he said in the Oct. 26, 2016, post.

Gay bars in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia boycotted the beer too. According to the Daily News, the owner of gay bar JR’s in Philadelphia David Perruzza posted a video “in which he removed the Yuengling handle from the gay bar’s row of taps.”

CEO Michael Lindell of Minnesota-based MyPillow also endorsed Trump for president. MyPillow posted a friendly photo of Lindell with Trump to Twitter on Sept. 30, 2016. On Oct. 19, 2016, Fox Business posted a video of Lindell saying, "I'm here to give all my credibility to Mr. Donald Trump...He'll be the most amazing president this country has ever had"

According to Buzzfeed, that “pissed” off anti-Trump folks. They showed a number of angry Tweets directed at @MyPillowUSA and @MichaelJLindell including @timsimms Tweet, “Count me as a lost potential customer as you value $$$ over basic human rights and common decency.”

Methodology:  MRC Business searched Nexis and video archives for mentions of the following words in network evening news broadcasts between Sept. 25, 2016, to Jan. 18, 2017: “MyPillow,” “My Pillow,” “Yuengling,” “L.L. Bean,” “LL Bean,” “New Balance,” “NewBalance” or “boycott.”