Facing Student-Led, Anti-NRA ‘Die-In,’ Publix Suspends Political Donations

on May 25, 2018 in Coral Springs, Florida.
CORAL SPRINGS, FL - MAY 25: Protesters participate in a "die'-in" protest in a Publix supermarket on May 25, 2018 in Coral Springs, Florida. The activists many of whom are Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student... CORAL SPRINGS, FL - MAY 25: Protesters participate in a "die'-in" protest in a Publix supermarket on May 25, 2018 in Coral Springs, Florida. The activists many of whom are Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students entered the Publix store to protest against the company's support of political candidates endorsed by the National Rifle Association who oppose gun reform. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) MORE LESS
|
May 26, 2018 11:01 a.m.

Publix, the popular grocery chain whose stores dot the Southeastern United States, announced Friday that it would suspend corporate campaign donations.

The announcement came just before survivors of the February gun massacre at Stoneman Douglas High School led a “die-in” protest at two Publix locations near the school, an attempt to pressure the company to end its financial support for Adam Putnam, an NRA-friendly Republican primary candidate for Florida’s governorship.

“At Publix, we respect the students and members of the community who have chosen to express their voices on these issues,” the company said in a statement Friday. “We regret our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and the customers they serve in the middle of a political debate. At the same time, we remain committed to maintaining a welcoming shopping environment for our customers.” 

“We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve. As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we re-evaluate our giving processes.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported earlier this month that Publix — together with the individual donations of its founder’s heirs and those of the company’s current and former leadership — had “given more money to Adam Putnam’s gubernatorial bid than any other candidate since at least 1995 and likely for the entirety of the company’s history.”

The chain also donated money to business groups that in turn supported Putnam’s campaign, the report said. Putnam, in his current role as commissioner of agriculture, oversees health inspections of the grocery chain in Florida, the paper noted. 

The Times said Friday that Publix released its statement “moments before” the staged die-in.

Putnam last year called himself “a proud #NRASellout!”

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), likely Putnam’s closest competition in the Aug. 28 primary election, responded to the news Friday by calling the protesters “left-wing agitators.”

Newsletters
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.
Latest Livewire
Comments are now Members-Only

Non-members are still able to read comments, but will no longer be able to participate. To join the conversation, sign up now and get:

30% Off Annual Prime Membership

TPM strives to build as inclusive a community as financially possible. We offer FREE memberships to those experiencing financial hardship and FREE memberships for students.

View all options
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: