Boycotting Companies’ Politics

Business Week has a fascinating article up looking at the political donations of various American companies and the consumer boycotts that have resulted. There are numerous examples of companies going ‘Blue’ or going ‘Red’ and consequently finding themselves in a Public relations nightmare, as opponents begin launching major campaigns through television, radio and blogs, attacking the company’s political choices.

While many companies seem to do the right thing and respond to these criticisms with a clear, concise, non-political message, a lot of companies seem to panic. For example, Ford responded to complaints that it was prejudiced against homosexuals by switching sides, outraging family values advocates. At the end of the day, Ford simply came across as looking hypocritical, where as other companies like Miller dialogued with those who were outraged and tried to reach compromises.

And listen to this:

Although [Wendy’s] hamburger chain’s PAC has given 93% of its campaign contributions to Republicans over the past five years, it views itself as a “nonpolitical company” that does not take positions on controversial issues, says spokesman Denny Lynch: “We serve customers on both sides of the aisle.” Wendy’s backs winners, he says, and today those incumbents are mostly Republican. “We’re not a red company,” Lynch says. “If Democrats start winning, we’ll move our money to Democrats. It’s just business.”

Isn’t it refreshing to hear a corporation just straight out admit that it has no political values and is simply gaming the system? Paying the bribes where they’re due!

Impromptu poll time. Have you ever boycotted a company for political reasons? What company was it? What were the reasons?: Let us know in the comments section.

Companies In The Crossfire [Business Week]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Montecore says:

    I don’t eat at Domino’s or Chik-Fil-A–too much Jesus (whom, these days, is quite political).

  2. KevinQ says:

    I don’t know, does Wal-Mart count? I boycott them for so much more than just “political” reasons.


  3. Paul D says:

    Boycott Dominos cuz their pizza sucks.

    Chik Fil A – too much jesus, indeed. Regal Cinemas too.

    Wal-mart, for more reasons than we have room for here.

    Also there’s a chain of all-female gyms, Shapes I think it’s called, that’s run by a rabid pro-lifer. A friend found that out when she was doing research on the membership-gym industry.

  4. Paul D says:

    Oh yeah, I think I read somewhere that Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, et al) is way into marijuana prohibition.

  5. mariser says:

    Domino’s, over the same reasons posted above.

    Paul D, the chain of all-female gyms is “Curves”.

  6. airship says:

    My problem is that I’m a rare bird that the media will insist does not exist: a fundamentalist Christian AND a liberal Democrat. (That means I believe that I’m right, but I also believe that everyone else has the right to be wrong… :)
    If I boycotted every company that had an agenda opposite to mine, I wouldn’t be able to spend my money anywhere.
    Besides, Wendy’s serves up the best dead cow sandwiches of any fast food place, bar none. And sweet, sweet chocolate ‘Frosties’, whatever they are.

  7. Oberweiss (iced-creamery, I don’t think that it’s a national chain, but its based out of my hometown) – they lost my business when the whole gay marriage thing started up. I was listening to the radio in my car one day when the guy who owns it got on a commercial (this was a popular, non-Christian/otherwise loony radio station) and invited everyone to a “townhall meeting” where he would explain how “homosexuals and their evil agenda” were destroying America. No joke. The kicker: come to this meeting and get some free, delicious Oberweiss iced cream.

  8. e says:

    I’ve boycotted companies like WalMart and GAP/Old Navy (in the past) more for their use of sweatshop labor or other abuses rather than donations to political parties.

    If only I didn’t love Wendy’s so much, I might try to give them up.

  9. etinterrapax says:

    Depends. I have a hobby that is mostly supplied by small businesses, and more than one company sends out Christian-themed newsletters or includes Bible quotes on the invoices. And I’m not against either of those things in theory, but I don’t know how they’re necessary to my purchase of beads and silk embroidery threads. If they no longer have what I need or start raising their prices, I’m usually relieved to stop dealing with them. But if they do have what I need when no one else does, it doesn’t actively burn my skin to give them money.

    I definitely don’t shop at Wal-Mart, and I was just considering whether it was really because of their politics, but I think mostly I hate how overcrowded and dirty their stores are, and how crappy a lot of the merchandise is. Regardless of politics, those factors will always drive me away from a retailer or service business.

  10. GenXCub says:

    I have different reasons. I boycott Mel Gibson because he’s a wacko. Anything he’s attached to can suck it. Any organization that supports the boy scouts (United Way) gets no dime from me… ever. And at my company, if you make a $1000 per year donation to the united way, you get an executive parking spot…ooooooh.

    Oh, and Phil Collins, just because he sucks… but that’s not political!

  11. megan says:

    Wal-mart and all the brands within the Atria group which owns Philip Morris (i.e. Kraft, Jell-o, etc) and now *sob* Wendy’s. I will miss the junior bacon cheeseburger.

  12. Rick Dobbs says:

    Hrmm…If we’re boycotting companies because of Christian bias, I wonder how many are pushing In-N-Out Burger of their lives?

    Boycott’s show political power! (Unless it’s a Double-Double with grilled onions and french fries, animal style).

  13. Papercutninja says:

    I can’t agree with Chik-Fil-A’s Jesus-y ideals, but i CAN agree with their tasty-tasty chicken sandwiches.

  14. MrEleganza says:

    Etinterrapax, you neglected to elaborate on why you are boycotting, judging by your very first, single-word sentence, America’s leading adult diaper.

  15. Mary Marsala With Fries says:

    Do it all the time; as far as I’m concerned it’s the responsibility of every consumer to vote with their dollars. Otherwise we’re *just* dollars. I haven’t set foot in a Wal-Mart for over 5 years because they treat their employees like something Sam Walton needs scraped off his shoe. Won’t buy a Ford because they turned Flint into a bomb-site. Won’t eat at Cracker Barrel or Wendy’s because they think firing people for being gay is okay.

    I’m in business myself, and I expect businesses to act like somebody, and be decent citizens; if they won’t, they don’t get my money. I wouldn’t hand five bucks to a guy I hated; why should I give money to asshole companies?

    What I can’t get my head around is that so many people seem to think I’m wrong, and that it’s “not their problem” if businesses want to screw people in their communities. Wilco Tango Foxtrot?? If I donate to Hamas, I’m responsible for terrorism, but if I shop at Wal-Mart I’m blameless in the healthcare crisis? Suuuuure.


  16. I currently boycott Wal*Mart (for over five years now), the whole Yum! Brands fast-food line which includes Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell, Tyson Foods (just became vegan), McDonald’s, Southwest Airlines, Clear Channel Communications, Barnes & Noble, Wendy’s, and probably others I can’t remember right now.

    Companies I’d like to boycott but find nearly impossible to do so include The Altria Group (a.k.a., RJ Reynolds/Nabisco) and all those other B2B uglies that you just can’t escape.

    As for the comment about Regal Cinemas: The Edwards (Regal) in San Diego/Mira Mesa was the only cineplex here to carry Brokeback Mountain; none of the AMC Theaters did.

    In the past, I also boycotted Winn-Dixie (they don’t exist in San Diego), Chick-Fil-A (ditto — but I do miss the lemonade).

    For anyone who wants more info about the ethical, political and social practices of various companies, I can highly recommend The Blue Pages. I found some of the information highly valuable in deciding which companies deserve my money and which don’t.

  17. Crissy in Honolulu says:

    I’ve tried to boycott Kraft because of the Philip Morris connection, but damn if they don’t have the best processed cheese food on the planet!

  18. etinterrapax says:

    MrEleganza, you’re so right. I boycott Depends because they make my ass look fat. Buncha woman-haters over there.

  19. GenXCub says:

    As far as the Brokeback Mountain goes, in its initial release, it was at a single theater here in Vegas at the Suncoast (a locals casino in the suburbs, theater run by Century theaters). However, after it received the nominations for academy awards, it went into more theaters. Most cinemas here in Vegas are Regal and Century, and all but a couple are in casinos.

  20. Ben Popken says:

    Marie writes:

    “I refuse to buy the Chicago Tribune since the mid-1970’s when they allowed their pressmen to walk a picket line on Michigan Avenue for over one year. They succeeded in busting the union. It was a black day when they bought the Chicago Cubs/Wrigley Field.”

  21. Jesse in Japan says:

    I absolutely refuse to purchase products or services from Haliburton.