Land O’ Lakes was founded in 1921 in St. Paul, and since then, it has been slinging butter and milk nonstop. It’s hard to lose with that business model. Everyone loves butter.
Except right now, when thousands of people have been vowing to boycott Land O’ Lakes on Twitter.
Never buying from land o lakes again.— Stocky (@Stocky66264483) October 30, 2018
It has nothing to do with butter and everything to do with a man named Steve King.
King, an Iowan Republican, has held a seat in the United States House for 16 years. During that time, he has said Latinos have “calves the size of cantaloupes” because they’re “hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” met with the members of a far-right Austrian political party tied to neo-Nazi movements, and kept a Confederate flag proudly displayed upon his desk.
He dismisses comments that he supports neo-Nazi or anti-Semitic groups. If Austria’s Freedom Party was in the United States, he said, they’d be known as “Republicans.”
“What does diversity bring that we don’t already have?” he told the Austrian Freedom Party’s publication in August. “Mexican food, Chinese food, those things -- well, that’s fine. But what does it bring that we don’t have that is worth the price?”
This is who King is, and he’s not shy about it. Which is why it turned a few heads when Land O’ Lakes’ PAC gave his campaign $2,500 in June.
Recently, word of this donation spread around in liberal social media circles. Why would Land O’Lakes prop up a man who at the 2016 Republican Convention rebutted the idea that “old white people” would no longer be taking center stage in years to come by saying no other “subgroup” had accomplished more?
Pretty quickly, people stopped asking why Land O’ Lakes had made the donation and skipped straight to boycotting. Cookies just don’t taste as good if the butter in them funds flagrant white supremacists.
On Monday, several stories in publications like the Washington Post were published, detailing exactly why people were prepared to drop Land O’ Lakes like it was hot. Then Tuesday came around, and the company had a special announcement to make.
“...We have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward,” the company said in a statement. It explained that Land O’ Lakes has “traditionally” supported candidates from “both parties” that most impact its “farmer owners.” But, it said, the company takes this responsibility “seriously,” and wants its contributions to be “a positive force for good.”
Land O’ Lakes’ current CEO, Beth Ford, is the first openly gay woman to run a Fortune 500 company, but she took the reins in August, after the donation was issued. Her predecessor, Peter Janzen, donated twice as much to Republicans as to Democrats during the 2016 election cycle, according to the Washington Post.
On Twitter, a few people are thanking Land O’ Lakes for the swift action and vowing to purchase the company’s butter again. King, meanwhile, is still out there and running, and losing a few thousand dollars along the way hasn't done much to stop him.