Here’s Why #GrabYourWallet is Adding New Companies to the Boycott for the First Time in a Long Time
The #GrabYourWallet boycott launched October 11, 2016 in the wake of the release of the Access Hollywood tape.
Since it began, the boycott has been organized around this list. Historically, there have been a few different ways a company could find itself on it. If a company had a financial relationship with the Trumps—either through the selling of Trump brands or sponsorship of a large, annual event at Mar-a-Lago—it was added to the list. A select number of retailers with leaders and board members who supported Trump’s political rise, whether through donations, endorsements or fundraisers, were put on the list as well. Finally, companies were placed on the list if they sponsored or advertised on The New Celebrity Apprentice, of which Donald Trump was a still paid executive producer at the time he was elected.
Since then, over 70 companies have been dropped from the #GrabYourWallet boycott list, primarily because they cut ties with the Trump administration. Retailers like Nordstrom , Neiman Marcus and Hudson’s Bay announced they’d no longer carry Trump products and were immediately dropped from the list. Around the same time, half of New Celebrity Apprentice advertisers left the show and were removed as well. (NBC canceled the series soon after.) After Trump’s infamous “both sides” remarks about the white power rally in Charlottesville, there was a mass exodus of CEOs from Trump’s economic forum, at which point their companies were removed from the #GrabYourWallet list. (The forum was dissolved shortly thereafter.) More recently, a number of companies were dropped from the list because Trump brands were shuttered including Ivanka’s fashion line as well as several of Donald’s products, making it impossible for those companies to carry Trump products in the long term.
Until two days ago, just 12 companies remained on the #GrabYourWallet list and I sincerely hoped the downward trend would continue until none remained. Given, however, recent news of the Trump administration’s continued use of family separation despite a U.S. court order to stop—an action resulting in 900 additional children being separated from their parents—we’ve decided to turn our attention more fully to the donations, fundraising events, and endorsements of high profile Trump supporters.
What this means, is that after a long period of removing companies from the #GrabYourWallet boycott list, we’ve begun to add new ones. Estée Lauder and its subsidiary brands (Aveda, Origins, Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone London, M.A.C. Cosmetics, Smashbox, and more) have recently been added. This is based on Estée Lauder board member Ronald Lauder’s $100,000 contribution to the Trump Victory committee in 2017. As noted in the press, Soul Cycle and Equinox Fitness were recently added based on billionaire Stephen M. Ross’ $100,000-per-ticket fundraising event for the Trump Victory committee.
For the first time, we are also now adding less well known and non-national companies of Trump supporters such as Sheldon Adelson’s Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Gary Vaynerchuk’s VaynerMedia (partly owned by major Trump supporter Stephen M. Ross), and Geoffrey Palmer’s G.H. Palmer Associates, an L.A.-based real estate company. Companies like Charles Schwab that donated $1 million to Trump’s 2017 inauguration celebration are now being added to the boycott portion of the site as well. Previously inauguration-related donors were listed in a non-boycott portion of the site entitled “other companies on our radar.”
In many cases, all these companies have to do to be removed from the boycott list is to issue a statement that company leaders do not have any plans to contribute to Trump’s 2020 reelection efforts including donations, endorsements, fundraising events or any other events tied to the administration. They also have the option of saying simply that company leaders do not have any plans to support to any presidential candidate in these ways in 2020.
Some argue a company shouldn’t be boycotted based on the political activities of its leaders. Those people never seem to mention that the average annual salary of a CEO in the Fortune 500 is $11.5 million or that even board members of earn, on average, over $300,000 per year. The simple truth is if you buy the products or services of a company on the #GrabYourWallet list, your money may end up in the pocket of someone who will use it to try to reelect, support, and/or celebrate Trump. Many big hearted, fair minded people simply wish to avoid that. The extremism of the Trump administration is causing many people to explore forms of peaceful protest they might not otherwise seek. They’re looking for practical ways to push back on the lack of basic human decency they see coming from the White House.
In all cases, we have published a recommended action for the company to be removed from the #GrabYourWallet boycott list. You can see the full list of companies here, as well as the recommended action to be removed. If you don’t see a company on this site that you think should be here, send a tip to shannon (at) grabyourwallet (dot) org.