Maybe I was wrong to think conservatives should refrain from adopting the bullying, boycotting tactics of the left. I made the case against emulating progressives in these pages last summer as I lamented the rise of the woke corporation, documenting how many of my favorite companies embrace values antithetical to my own. But it’s increasingly clear that the sharp increase in corporate virtue signaling after George Floyd’s death wasn’t a passing trend but a sea change. Perhaps it’s time for conservatives to boycott companies that hate us.
Coca-Cola and Delta, a pair of Atlanta-based companies I’ve patronized for many years, became progressive boycott targets this month for allegedly not doing enough to stop Republicans in the state from passing an election-security law that’s been recast absurdly as a civil-rights violation. The companies haven’t withstood it well.
In an interview Wednesday with CNBC, James Quincey, Coca-Cola’s CEO and virtue signaler in chief, called the law “unacceptable” and “a step backwards,” but didn’t explain why. CNBC host Sara Eisen never asked if he feared a conservative backlash. Instead she pressed him on why Coca-Cola didn’t “publicly oppose this before.”
Mr. Quincey’s comments didn’t placate the woke mob on Twitter, with some insisting that Coke hadn’t condemned the legislation soon enough or forcefully enough. Delta CEO Ed Bastian appeared to be reading from the Coca-Cola script later the same day. His company released a statement condemning the law, and Mr. Bastian said in a memo to employees that the reform was “unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values.”
Coca-Cola, Delta, Microsoft and other companies my family supports all but called the legislation racist, implying that those, like me, who support it are bigots. As distasteful as this is, I can’t say I’m surprised. When I look around my house, I see many products from woke companies that want me to know how strongly they disagree with me on pretty much every issue of the day.
Start with Patagonia, one of my favorite clothing-and-gear outfitters. The top of its website exhorts visitors to “act now” to stop climate change, warning that “extinction looms for more than one million species of plants and animals.” Maybe so, but what about shoppers who are there just to pick up a $35 “live simply” T-shirt? The homepage tab next to “shop” is “activism.” Click if you dare, because you’re in for a world of lefty indoctrination. Patagonia even endorses political candidates. You won’t be surprised to learn that none of them in 2020 had an “R” after their names.
Moving to the bathroom, I encounter my progressive razors. No, not Gillette. I ditched those in 2019 after the company released a ludicrously woke ad decrying toxic masculinity. But last month I learned that the new brand I’d chosen, Harry’s, had pulled its advertising from the Daily Wire, a conservative website I like. The razor company fled after a Twitter user with 29 followers complained that one of the Daily Wire’s podcasts “is spreading homophobic and transphobic content.” You might think it’d be easier to find a politically neutral shave, given that a majority of men are Republicans and companies generally play to their customer base. But this reality is apparently lost on Harry’s—and Gillette, or rather its parent company, Procter & Gamble.
Another P&G brand my family uses—Pantene shampoo—recently released a commercial about the life of a young transgender girl and her lesbian moms. “She has always been super gender creative, and hair has been a big part of her transition,” says one of the moms. At the end of the commercial, a banner reads, “PANTENE Family is #BEAUTIFULGBTQ—Proud to Support Transgender Visibility.” The ad has about six times as many dislikes as likes on YouTube, but that hasn’t given the company pause. It tweeted that “transphobia has no place in our world or in our feed.”
Maybe Pantene believes that’ll be the extent of the blowback. Many companies take Republican customers for granted. Perhaps they’re right. I still have subscriptions to Netflix, Hulu and Disney+, even though many of their offerings, particularly documentaries, advance left-wing agendas.
But there’s money to be made on standing up to cancel culture. Last summer, after I complained that my preferred coffee company had gone too far left, readers suggested I buy from Black Rifle Coffee Co. “They support Veterans and the coffee is very good,” one reader wrote me. He was right and word is spreading. The company’s revenue nearly doubled in 2020—a year when every other business seemed to be going woke.
Unlike many on the left, I’m fine with companies not taking sides, and I don’t expect every company I patronize to embrace my views. But if Pantene can stand firm on behalf of transgender visibility, perhaps it’s time for conservatives to stiffen their spines, too. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask that the businesses I patronize refrain from actively and loudly despising me.
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