Publix faces possible boycott after donating to ‘NRA sellout’ Republican candidate

Publix faces possible boycott after donating to ‘NRA sellout’ Republican candidate
Publix is facing a boycott over reports that the grocery store chain donated to a gubernatorial candidate in Florida who supports the National Rifle Association. (Getty Images)

David Hogg is just one of the Parkland, Florida, students calling for a boycott of a regional grocery store chain that reportedly donated to an NRA-supporting candidate for Florida governor.

What are the details of the reported donations?

Last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Publix, the grocery store chain in question, “is supporting Adam Putnam’s run for governor like no politician before.”

Employee-owned Publix, which the Times says is Florida’s largest private employer — as well as Florida’s largest Fortune 500 company — reportedly donated about $670,000 over the last three years to Putnam, a Republican, and his campaign.

In addition to being a gubernatorial candidate, Putnam is a former GOP representative and Florida’s agriculture commissioner.

A spokesperson for the company told the Times, “As the hometown candidate, Publix has had a long-standing relationship with Commissioner Putnam. We support pro-business candidates, and believe Commissioner Putnam will make a great governor.”

The company has been supporting Putnam in his political endeavors since 1996.

Putnam, 43, is also a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association, which prompted the possible boycott of the supermarket chain.

According to The Hill, Putnam has taken donations from the NRA, and says that he is a proud gun-owning American.

In July, Putnam tweeted his support of the gun organization and wrote, “The liberal media recently called me a sellout to the NRA. I’m a proud #NRASellout! Sign below if you are, too.”

What about the boycott?

Last week, Hogg tweeted, “Guess I’ll be getting my chocolate chip muffins elsewhere from now on. Common @Publix.”

Alex Wind, one of Hogg’s Parkland classmates, wrote, “@Publix I guess I should’ve bought my flowers for the memorials somewhere else.”

And Pulse Nightclub massacre survivor Brandon Wolf tweeted that he, too, was no longer shopping at Publix because of their donations to Putnam.

#BoycottPublix is now trending on social media.

Has Publix responded to the backlash?

In a statement shared earlier in May, the company said:

We are a company that cares about our associates, customers and the communities we serve. It is our mission to do our very best to please all Publix customers.

Recently, stories have circulated on social and traditional media channels regarding Publix’s contributions to Adam Putnam in Florida’s gubernatorial race, and his positions on certain issues. We support bi-partisan, business-friendly candidates, regardless of political affiliation and we remain neutral on issues outside of our core business.

We serve customers with varying points of view and understand the sensitivity that can surround political topics. We appreciate the trust you place in allowing us to be your grocer of choice and your community partner.

They later shared more information on Twitter, and wrote, ” … Publix has not provided financial support to the National Rifle Association.”

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Publix told CBS News, “We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida.”

The company’s emailed statement added, “As a result of this situation, we are evaluating our processes to ensure that our giving better reflects our intended desire to support a strong economy and a healthy community.”