Quirky retailer L.L. Bean has been attempting to do damage control since it was revealed that one member of the large family that runs the company had made illegal donations to Donald Trump’s campaign. With the vast majority of Americans standing against Trump, as evidenced by his historically low current 37% approval rating, boycotts against L.L. Bean are fully underway. That’s led the Chairman of the company to all but beg people not to punish L.L. Bean over the behavior of one family member. But now Trump has made it worse.
This week L.L. Bean Executive Chairman Shawn Gorman posted a lengthy public message on the company’s Facebook fan page, and the introduction went like this: “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.” He then went on to state the following:
“Our owners, employees, and customers hold views and embrace causes that are individual and diverse. We are united by our love for the outdoors and our guiding principles established back in 1912 by Leon Leonwood Bean himself who believed “do unto others” was not just a saying, but a way of life. We fully acknowledge and respect that some may disagree with the political views of a single member of our 10-person board of directors. Like most large families, the more than 50 family member-owners of the business hold views and embrace causes across the political spectrum, just as our employees and customers do. And as every member of the family would agree, no individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that L.L. built. L.L.Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, we stay out of politics.”
But that didn’t calm the storm. And so today, Donald Trump weighed in on the matter himself on Twitter, thanking the one Bean family member for supporting him, and encouraging Americans to “Buy L.L. Bean.” That effort ended up backfiring. And now Americans are likely to take their business elsewhere.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report