L.L. Bean Faces Backlash After Bean Family Member Made Donation to Donald Trump

L.L. Bean Boot
L.L. Bean's classic boot.
Courtesy Photo

L.L. Bean is the latest company to come under fire for having reported ties to President-elect Donald Trump.

According to The Associated Press, Linda Bean, granddaughter of L.L. Bean founder Leon Leonwood Bean, made a $60,000 donation to a political action committee that supports Trump.

After this finding was revealed, activist group Grab Your Wallet, which encourages people to boycott retailers that sell Trump products, added L.L. Bean to its list. While some companies choose not to address politics, L.L. Bean spoke out about the controversy.

Shawn Gorman, a great-grandson of L.L. Bean and the company’s executive chairman, took to Facebook on Sunday to discuss the issue in a lengthy post. Gorman wrote that the company was disappointed to learn that Grab Your Wallet had added it to its list, given that Linda Bean is just one of more than 50 family members who are involved in the business.

“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,” Gorman wrote. “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.”

According to Gorman, the company is “troubled” by the idea that it is supporting a specific political agenda and went on to say that #GrabYourWallet’s decision to add L.L. Bean to its list was “misguided.”

He continued: “L.L.Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, we stay out of politics.”

According to The Boston Globe, Linda Bean’s Republican political leanings are well known in the region surrounding Freeport, Maine, where L.L. Bean is based. Bean ran twice unsuccessfully for Congress.

Another New England-based company, New Balance, was also at the center of controversy late last year when it was reported that New Balance VP of public affairs Matt LeBretton said that the Obama administration had “turned a deaf ear” to the company and that “with President-elect Trump, we feel things are going to move in the right direction.” The statement was intended to support New Balance’s stance against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but many saw it as pro-Trump.

Some sneaker fans went so far as to burn their New Balance sneakers in response. New Balance then issued a statement explaining that LeBretton’s comments were taken out of context and that the company remains committed to manufacturing in the U.S.

#GrabYourWallet’s list includes retailers such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Amazon and DSW, all of which carry items from Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka’s fashion line.

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