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article imageOp-Ed: Supporters of Glenn Beck and Whole Foods Challenge Boycotts

By Johnny Simpson     Aug 24, 2009 in Politics
Fox pundit Glenn Beck and Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey have been targeted for boycotts by angry left-leaning opponents as of late. Now the boycotters themselves are being boycotted. That blowback has cost GEICO 6,500 customers.
Ah, the boycott. A long and honored tradition in America, and perhaps one of the most effective democratic weapons We The People have at our disposal. Boycotts allow us to make big statements to for-profit businesses, entities and persons by voting with our wallets, feet, signs, raised voices and undesired mass presence outside said business establishments, or even residences. Boycotts were a favored weapon of Prop 8 opponents against supporters in the aftermath of that measure's win in California. The Dixie Chicks were boycotted by many Americans over their "ashamed" remarks about President Bush to a London audience in March 2003.
In essence, what a boycott does is allow segments of the public to say to a for-profit business, person or entity, "What you're doing sucks! And until it stops sucking, we're going to make your life suck, too!" If you have any doubts, ask the owner of the El Coyote Restaurant in Los Angeles. He was boycotted by gays without relent after it was discovered his daughter donated $100 to Prop 8 proponents, and despite the fact El Coyote employees, many gay, raised $500 to help repeal Prop 8. No law says boycotts have to be sane. You just need the numbers to make real problems for the business in order to get their attention. That seems to have been the case recently for Glenn Beck and Whole Foods founder and CEO John Mackey.
In the case of Glenn Beck, a staunch conservative and ratings superstar at FOX, Mr. Beck said in the aftermath of Dr. Gates' arrest that he believed Obama was being a racist himself with his "acting stupidly" remark directed at Cambridge PD Sgt. James F. Crowley. That generated a pushback from the Left, now being spearheaded by Color Of Change, an African-American advocacy group with close ties to Obama.
Color Of Change has been leading the fight to pressure advertisers to abandon Beck and FOX. Advertisers that have joined Color Of Change in the Beck boycott include Ally Bank, Brinks, CVS, GEICO Insurance, Healthy Choice Foods, Men's Wearhouse, Sargento Foods and State Farm Insurance.
In the case of Whole Foods Market founder and CEO John Mackey, a free market Libertarian, his oped in the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare," in which Mr. Mackey took a distinct stand against the President's health care bill, H.R. 3200, now often referred to as ObamaCare, riled up his huge left-leaning customer base which supports the President and the ObamaCare bill. Over 25,000 people have signed on at a Facebook boycott page and swore they would never shop Whole Foods again.
Boycott websites targeting Whole Foods and CEO Mackey are piling up. The UFCW Food Workers' union has also taken a prominent stand against Whole Foods and John Mackey's position on ObamaCare.
Yet boycotts themselves can sometimes backfire. Those two boycotts are now being met with fierce resistance by staunch defenders and supporters of both men, and counter-boycott efforts are even now surging in response. In fact, some of the advertisers who joined the Beck boycott are already paying a price. To date, 6,500 GEICO Insurance customers have already promised to cancel their policies. Another 6,000 have promised never to buy Sargento Foods again, and more and more anti-boycott websites are hitting the Internet. The most popular,, generated 850,000 page views its first day online.
As to Mr. Mackey, his supporters and defenders are also hard at work creating their own Buy Whole Foods websites. Michelle Malkin, one of the most popular conservative bloggers on the Internet, has been leading that charge. Many conservative Republicans, a lot of whom would never want to be caught dead in a "green" organic foods store, have already promised to line up with the carriages and shop Whole Foods big time.
So the Boycott Wars are on and raging in full. Who will win in the end? Glenn Beck and FOX? Or Color Of Change? John Mackey and Whole Foods, along with his defenders and supporters? Or UFCW and the masses of left-leaning ObamaCare supporters, who will no doubt put a significant dent in Whole Foods' business? GEICO and Sargento Foods appear to be losers for the moment, unless Color Of Change and its support base can somehow make up for those lost customers. Oh, and Andrew Breitbart just posted a most relevant oped at Big Hollywood that also covers this subject, entitled "Boycotting the Boycotters."
As for me, I'm just enjoying the show. As an American citizen, nothing warms my heart more than to see a full-blown political tug-of-war involving high stakes and big bucks, and utilizing all the tools of democracy we so treasure: free speech, assembly, campaigning, and political slugfests. That we can peacefully engage in these crossfires of democracy without firing real shots, as happens all too often across this troubled globe, is a glowing testament to the stability of the American political system. In that respect, we all win. Lastly, where in the world but America in Wonderland would Lefties attack and Righties defend Whole Foods?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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