Kohl's faces boycott after retailer snubs Republican convention (2024)

Conservative activists on social media are calling for a boycott of Kohl's after the Milwaukee-based retail chain said it won't be sponsoring the 2024 Republican National Convention, which is scheduled to take place in the city from July 15-18.

In posts on X, formerly Twitter, one person said they would "never shop there again," while another vowed to "Bud Light the f*** out of you!" in an apparent reference to the boycott campaign targeted at the beer producer after it partnered with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney.

Following a string of primary victories, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are expected to be confirmed as the official 2024 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees at the parties' respective national conventions. After the Republican convention in Wisconsin, its Democratic counterpart is due to take place in Chicago, Illinois, between August 19 and 22.

Speaking to Newsweek a Kohl's spokesperson said: "As a Milwaukee-based company, we appreciate our hometown will have a spotlight during this time to showcase all it has to offer, including our great neighborhoods, an array of businesses and all of our amazing residents - many of which are Kohl's associates.

"Kohl's is not a political organization nor donor and is not sponsoring nor engaging in any specific RNC events. We financially support the business community through the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce (MMAC).

"This is the same approach we took when supporting the Milwaukee community when the DNC was planned for Milwaukee."

The move came despite Reince Priebus, the former RNC chair who is helping to organize the convention, telling The Wall Street Journal that "virtually all of the Fortune 500 companies in Wisconsin" had made financial pledges to the event.

According to the publication, Priebus is aiming to raise $70 million to fund the convention, which is expected to be attended by around 50,000 people.

Kohl's faces boycott after retailer snubs Republican convention (1)

The news that Kohl's wouldn't be sponsoring the convention triggered a conservative backlash on social media, with some users falsely suggesting the company had already agreed to back the event before pulling out.

One X user, a self-described "American nationalist" and Trump supporter, shared a post about Kohl's declining to sponsor the event adding: "It won't be hard to boycott Kohls because the little bit they have to offer customers these days is cheap crap. Haven't been in over a year."

Another X user, who identified with Trump's Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement, wrote: "Uh oh. You know what to do. Boycott @Kohls."

The move was welcomed by George Conway, an attorney and founder of the anti-Trump conservative group The Lincoln Project, who wrote: "Good for Kohl's. No self-respecting business should support the cultish and mendacious idolation of a depraved sociopath and convicted felon."

His X post was shared by Angel Ball-Reynolds, who describes herself as part of the "America First" movement. She added, "It is time to boycott it @Kohls for this nonsense. There are plenty of God-fearing, American loving patriots that need to take this stand. Enough is enough with these companies. I will never shop there again."

Joey Mannarino, a conservative commentator with 471,000 X followers, incorrectly said Kohl's had "pulled out" of backing the event on the platform.

He wrote: "Kohl's has PULLED OUT of the Republican National Convention in a major rebuke to Trump. Ok, you worthless store... we're going to Bud Light the f*ck out of you! BOYCOTT KOHL'S! They clearly want to lose half of their customer base. I will NEVER shop at that trashy store again in my life!"

This post was shared more than 8,000 times by other X users and has received over 625,000 views at the time of writing.

Another X account shared Mannarino's post and added: "Boycott Kohl's @Kohls."

In an interview with CNBC News, a Kohl's spokesperson said the company would not support the GOP convention in its home city. They said, "Kohl's is not a political organization nor donor and is not sponsoring nor engaging in any specific RNC events.

"We support the business community through the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce."

Conservative campaigners have hit a number of companies with boycotts over the past year over the perception they don't share their values, including Target, in response to the retailer's 2023 Pride collection, which included swimsuits marketed for their ability to "tuck" genitalia for transgender customers.

Update 6/7/24, 10:29 a.m. ET: This article was updated with a statement from Kohl's.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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Kohl's faces boycott after retailer snubs Republican convention (2024)
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