Over 50 years ago, the Beatles faced public outrage from Christian fans nearly five months after John Lennon was quoted as saying the band was “more popular than Jesus.” Lennon tried to clarify the comments, telling reporters in 1966: “I'm not saying that we’re better, or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person.”
The damage had been done. His original comment led Bible Belt disc jockeys to ban the Beatles from the airways. Devout fans burned their records, and communities organized pickup points where “Beatles trash” (what would now be valuable memorabilia) could be disposed of. In retrospect, the boycott can be seen as impressive for its coordination and followthrough.
Today, as controversial quotes are posted straight to Twitter, backlash is in real-time, and boycotts are often fleeting. Over the past few years, Trump supporters in particular have made a habit of boycotting—for undetermined amounts of time—major companies that have allegedly disrespected their favorite president, their impression of American values, or typically both at the same time.
MAGA country has boycotted everything from CNN to the Oreo cookie; oftentimes making public display of themselves burning or destroying the offending merchandise.
Keeping track of the ever-growing MAGA blacklist can be difficult. To help, we’ve collected them all in one place. If you are a MAGA fan, you are obligated to avoid the following:
Despite Walmart’s long-stereotyped status as a bastion of conservative middle America, one year ago the hashtag #BoycottWalmart spread among Trump supporters. The company’s offense? Third-party markets on Walmart’s website sold T-shirts with “Impeach Trump” and “Impeach 45” emblazoned on them. The nuance that Walmart didn’t actually produce the shirts—just acted as a host for third-party sales—was lost on Trump supporters however.
Ron Fournier, chairman of Students for Trump, railed against the company on Twitter: “Why are you selling Impeach 45 baby clothes on your website????? What kind of message are you trying to send?”
A Walmart spokesperson reiterated that the items were sold by a third party, and said they would reassess what is sold in the marketplace. “We’re removing these types of items pending review of our marketplace policies,” the spokesperson said.
Less than a year later, however, the company jumped back into MAGA hot water. The retail chain produced an ad in June featuring two gay men going on a first date at a Walmart. Naturally, Trump-boosting anti-LGBTQ hate groups were furious.
One Million Moms, a website started by the American Family Association, a powerful fundamentalist group, wrote that Walmart “decided to offend many of their conservative customers with their new video,” rather than remain neutral in the “culture war.” The website also started a petition urging Walmart to remove the ad.
Part of AFA’s mission statement is to “strengthen the moral foundations of American culture.” The organization has vehemently supported president Trump despite his multiple marriages. AFA president Tim Wildmon wrote a post early this year titled, “If Trump Fails, We All Lose,” re-affirming his support for the president. “One of the reasons President Trump has been taking unrelenting, incoming fire from the liberal elites... is precisely because he is not ashamed of the Bible, the Constitution, the family, or the free enterprise system.” Concluding: “The God-haters... are after President Trump because in many respects—politically speaking—to them he represents us.”
Barack and Michelle Obama entered into a “multi-year agreement” with Netflix last year that will reportedly see the ex-president and first lady produce both films and series for the streaming platform. “We hope to cultivate and curate the talented, inspiring, creative voices who are able to promote greater empathy and understanding between peoples, and help them share their stories with the entire world,” Obama said in a statement.
The partnership caused some MAGA fans to own the libs by proclaiming en masse that they would cancel their Netflix subscriptions for fear the new content from their nemesis ex-president would taint the other 850 original content titles now offered on the platform.
To top it off, Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice joined Netflix’s board of directors a few months prior. Her addition also drew the public ire of MAGA heads.
Despite the boycott threats, Netflix added 9.6 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2019—a record for the company. Nearly two million of those subscribers were from the United States, according to a company earnings report.
In 2017, Budweiser ditched the Clydesdales to run a pro-immigration Super Bowl ad depicting a fictionalized version of founder Eberhard Anheuser, a German immigrant, leaving his home country to brew what is now considered a quintessential American beer. The ending title card reads: “When nothing stops your dream. This is the beer we’ll raise.”
The ad premiered just days after President Trump issued an executive order indefinitely banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries, and Syrian refugees. Some Trump supporters interpreted the commercial as an anti-Trump attack ad, and called for a Budweiser boycott. But, according to AdWeek, the ad’s production was in the works well before the executive order.
This year, the beer company once again stirred calls for a MAGA boycott. Budweiser launched a slew of LGBT rainbow bottle designs in June to commemorate national Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
Conservative outlets like The Western Journal, started by Citizens United founder Floyd Brown, published commentary claiming the bottles pandered to the LGBT community in an example of “virtue signaling,” and wouldn’t do “anything except alienate customers.”
Trump’s 2017 immigration ban garnered an intentional response from the Seattle-based coffee company. Starbucks announced it would hire 10,000 refugees within five years as a direct countermeasure to Trump’s policy.
The initiative caused MAGA supporters call for a Starbucks boycott, accusing the coffee titan of every offense under the sun—from hating America to not supporting the troops. (In reality, the company has hired over 8,000 veterans since 2013, when it first launched its dedicated veterans’ program.)
Starbucks once again found themselves at MAGA’s mercy this past week after a barista in Tempe, Arizona, asked a group of police officers to leave the store because a customer “did not feel safe by their presence.”
The Tempe Officers Association took to Twitter, writing: “This treatment of public safety workers could not be more disheartening. While the barista was polite, making such a request at all was offensive. Unfortunately, such treatment has become all too common in 2019.”
Starbucks executive vice president Rossann Williams apologized for the incident, calling the employee’s behavior “completely unacceptable.” Fox News was already off and running with the story, and the hashtag #DumpStarbucks was born.
No brand is safe in MAGA Country. And two years ago, even milk’s favorite cookie was in the line of fire.
Trump declared that he would not be “eating any more Oreos” after Mondelez International, the parent of Nabisco, which produces Oreos, announced it would move some of its Chicago operations to Mexico. Trump claimed the move would cost 2,000 American jobs; the actual number was closer 600. Accuracy aside, the president’s supporters obliged, even joining in on an impassioned chant of “no more Oreos” at the president’s behest during a rally in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 2017, the coffee machine company pulled ads from unofficial Trump adviser Sean Hannity’s primetime Fox News show due to his support for Roy Moore’s Senate campaign despite credible accusations of sexual misconduct.
In retaliation, Hannity fans filmed themselves destroying their own Keurig machines—worth upwards of $200—in bizarrely creative ways. Some were thrown off balconies, many were bludgeoned with baseball bats, one was even shot with an arrow. All to protest a large corporation that didn’t want its ads associated with the defense of an alleged rapist.
Target sparked a boycott in 2017 after an old blog post titled “Continuing to Stand for Inclusivity” was discovered. The post publicized an existing policy that said transgender customers could use the bathroom or fitting room that matched their gender identity. “Everyone deserves to feel like they belong,” the post read. “And you'll always be accepted, respected and welcomed at Target.” As a result more than 1.2 million people signed a pledge to boycott Target (started by the American Family Association) unless they reversed the policy.
The boycott was likely the most damaging of all MAGA World protests. The fallout lost Target millions in lost sales, and cost the company $20 million to install single-occupancy bathrooms in all stores. The rub: Target already had single-occupancy “family” bathrooms in 1,400 of its 1,793 stores.
After Trump was elected, Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi went on stage at the The New York Times DealBook Conference and described the panic her employees felt on election night.
“Our employees were all crying,” Nooyi said. “And the question that they're asking, especially those who are not white, ‘Are we safe?’ Women are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ LGBT people are asking, ‘Are we safe?’ I never thought I would have to answer those questions.”
Her story was quickly contorted by Trump supporters, who circulated false comments attributed to Nooyi claiming she had said for Trump fans to “take their business elsewhere.” In reality, Nooyi never said anything to that extent, and even congratulated the president-elect on his victory.
Nevertheless, Trump supporters called for a boycott of Pepsi.
The year is 2019, and conservative culture warriors are still getting upset over innocuous, socially conscious advertising. Gillette debuted an ad in January this year that hit viewers over the head with a message challenging the outdated definition of what it means to “be a man.” The ad’s tagline: “We Believe: The Best Men Can Be.” In short, the razor company took on toxic masculinity in order to hock more product.
The poignant commercial was controversial for many different reasons, but conservatives and Trump supporters believed the commercial was an “assault on masculinity” and traditional notions of fathers needing to be emotionally distant and physically imposing.
One thing led to another, and soon MAGA fans were destroying their razors—including one bizarre instance in which one man threw his Gillette blade in the toilet. A destructive self-own on the same level as the Keurig boycott.
The department store announced it would no longer sell Ivanka Trump’s brand after sales of the line reportedly plummeted at the end of 2016 as the Trump name became more and more controversial.
Trump supporters accused Nordstrom of anti-Trump bias, and Trump himself accused them of treating his daughter “so unfairly.”
And so Trump supporters boycotted the luxury department store.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
You would think supposed manly men would never boycott the NFL, of all things, but you’d be wrong.
It all started when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem before games to silently protest police brutality in the United States.
While the NFL scrambled to try and stop Kaepernick and other players from protesting, Trump started a wildfire of outrage. Perhaps fueled in part by his failed venture into the NFL, the president repeatedly berated the league for low ratings and attendance and eventually argued that anyone who kneeled should be fired. “Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out—he's fired!’” the president said.
NFL fans who agreed showed their support of the president by burning their teams’ merchandise and threatening to stop attending or watching games.
MAGA Country’s hatred for Colin Kaepernick erupted once again after Nike made the quarterback one of the faces of its new “Just Do It” campaign.
Trump’s favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, took the torch, running a lengthy segment to disparage the campaign built around Kaepernick standing up for what he believes in, complete with footage of people burning their sneakers and other Nike apparel in protest.
The company’s stock briefly dipped in the days following the campaign’s launch, but quickly rebounded and crushed earnings expectations.
Another Nike boycott kicked off earlier this month when reports emerged that the company had pulled a shoe featuring an early American flag by Betsy Ross because Kaepernick expressed concerns that the flag is an “offensive symbol” due to its “connection to an era of slavery.”
Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was so upset he pulled $1 million in incentives offered to the company from his state. A mere 48 hours later, the governor was caught sporting Nikes at a July 4 barbecue.
At the dawn of Trump’s 2016 campaign he called for a boycott of the Spanish-language network after it announced it would end its relationship with the Trump Organization over comments the then-candidate made about Mexican immigrants.
“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” Trump said in June 2015. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Univision also said it would no longer air the Miss USA pageant, and would sever ties with the Miss Universe Organization, which Trump was a part-owner of.
Macy’s also cut ties Trump in response to the 2015 comments on Mexican immigrants. The department store chain dropped Trump’s menswear clothing line across all its locations.
“Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion,” the store said at the time. “We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico... who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation.”
Like thunder follows lightning, Trump called for another boycott.
Trump hasn’t directly called for a CNN boycott in some time—the last being in early 2017 when he tweeted a direct call for Americans to stop watching.
It’s not like his most ardent fans are even tuning in to the decidedly not-Fox News cable network, but his near-constant disdain for the outlet is enough to know MAGA country should steer clear.
And don’t even think about Anderson Cooper.
Older than Trump’s presidency is his hatred for Bill Maher. The HBO talk-show host has spoken unabashedly about Trump long before he ran for office.
In 2013, Maher mocked Trump’s birtherism by offering $5 million to charity if Trump could produce a birth certificate proving he is not the “spawn of his mother having sex with orangutan.”)
And so in 2014, when Trump was still just a New York City real-estate tycoon and reality-TV star, he instructed his millions of followers to boycott HBO for continuing to air Maher’s show. Real Time With Bill Maher is now in its 17th season.