Since the election of Donald Trump, consumer boycotts have again become a visible means of popular resistance.
For instance, in October 0f 2016, two women launched the #grabyourwallet campaign, which encouraged people to boycott companies that carried Trump products or had ties to the Trump administration. The boycott began after audio tapes revealed then-candidate Trump bragging about touching women inappropriately.
As corporations find more and more ways to influence social and political discourse, here’s a list of well-known companies progressives should avoid for their bigoted policies and financial support for right-wing causes.
Avoiding the oil and gas giant is a no-brainer for progressives. Exxon Mobil’s former CEO Rex Tillerson, despite no diplomatic experience, is Trump’s Secretary of State. The company was fined by the Treasury Department for violating Obama-era sanctions against Russia, in which it tried to secretly do business with a blacklisted Russian energy leader when Tillerson was at the helm.
This spring, the company was fined $20 million for releasing 10 million pounds of air pollution in Texas alone. ExxonMobil also found itself as the lowest-scoring company on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, being the first ever to receive a negative score, in this case largely for its anti-LGBTQ culture. Notably, when Exxon acquired Mobil in 1999, it eliminated pre-existing protections against discrimination for gay employees.
Pick almost any aspect of a healthy civil society, and there’s probably evidence that Walmart has worked counter to it. When it comes to the environment, Walmart has a history of illegally dumping hazardous chemicals and donating to politicians who do not support green politicians. Walmart has notoriously bad labor practices — underpaying its workers and subjecting workers and contractors building new stores to dangerous conditions, all while providing poor healthcare — and is vehemently against letting staff organize.
Walmart is actually destructive to local economies, as it shuts out mom-and-pop shops and eliminates more jobs than it creates, increasing financial burdens on cities and towns. And when it closes dozens of stores at a time, it then leaves entire communities without a grocery store.
3. Hobby Lobby
Hobby Lobby successfully defended its refusal on religious grounds to provide certain basic health care for women at the Supreme Court, setting a precedent by nullifying a basic tenet of Obamacare regarding birth control — the religious exemption also spells trouble for LGBTQ Groups. What’s also troubling, as Mother Jones points out, is that while Hobby Lobby fought to deny women access to birth control under its health plans, the company retirement plan invests in companies that manufacture birth control.
The fast-food chain has a well-documented anti-LGBTQ stance, with the company’s founder proudly saying in 2012 he was “guilty as charged” regarding his opposition to gay marriage. The company’s charity continues to donate millions to anti-LGBT causes and Christian programs which advocate “sexual purity” between heterosexual married couples.
5. Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters’s infamously controversial fashion designs have proven its insensitivity towards marginalized groups including Native Americans, African Americans, Jewish people and those with mental illnesses. Not to mention, the company has a history of stealing designs and art from creators. The CEO has supported an anti-gay agenda and also has a severe lack of women in leadership roles.
6. Angel Soft, Brawny, and Dixie
The three disposable tissue and paper products companies are subsidiaries of Koch Industries, which has its hands all over troubling conservative policies and donates millions to groups like The National Rifle Association, The National Right to Life and Americans for Prosperity.
7. Waffle House
Not only was the diner chain’s former CEO Joe Rogers Jr. (his father founded the restaurant) repeatedly accused of sexual harrasment by female employees, but Waffle House has given almost exclusively to Republican candidates and right-wing superPACs.
8. Carl’s Jr.
Beyond its advertising campaigns that many see as objectifying towards women, the burger chain has historically funded anti-abortion groups and its leadership over the years has embraced anti-gay legislation.
Oh, and Carl’s Jr.’s parent company was recently run by Andrew Puzder, who was Trump’s pick for labor secretary, though he withdrew his name due to plenty of controversy, not least of which was how poor his track record was on labor issues.
Amway was founded by the DeVos family — Betsy DeVos was appointed by Trump to be Education Secretary — which has used its influence in Michigan to allow charter schools to be almost completely unregulated, resulting in outrageously poor academic progress, disproportionately affecting students in underserved communities. That, and the company, alongside the DeVos family, has donated millions to Republicans over the years. DeVos’ brother is also the founder of the shady private military contractor Blackwater, which became Xe, and is now Academi.
10. Cracker Barrel
According to a Justice Department investigation in 2004, as many as 50 Cracker Barrel locations segregated their customers by race, permitted white servers to refuse to serve black customers, and seated white customers ahead of black ones. The company also has an anti-LGBTQ history, having once fired 11 employees for not exhibiting “normal heterosexual values.”