TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - #BoycottPublix is gaining momentum online after people found out the popular grocery chain has been donating to Florida gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam.
The Florida-based grocery store chain and some current and former Publix leaders donated $670,000 to Putnam in the last three years.
Putnam is Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture, a Republican candidate for governor and an outspoken supporter of the National Rifle Association.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations have been made while Putnam has served as AG commissioner, overseeing the regulation of Publix's 781 stores in Florida.
On social media, people have openly voiced their concerns. One user posted this on Twitter: "Passed two Publixes on my way to Aldi today in the rain. Guess I'll plan to do this until @Publix can guarantee that they'll stop funding "NRA sellout" Adam Putnam."
Passed two Publixes on my way to Aldi today in the rain. Guess I’ll plan to do this until @Publix can guarantee that they’ll stop funding “NRA sellout” Adam Putnam 🤷🏼♀️ #BoycottPublix pic.twitter.com/YCz24WlRPr
— Jodydare (@Jodydare) May 17, 2018
According to Twitter, #BoycottPublix was mentioned in at least 330 tweets on Wednesday alone. Not all shoppers are against the grocery chain, though.
"I think it's ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous," said one Publix shopper who wanted to remain anonymous. The shopper said he's a member of the NRA. He thinks the people boycotting Publix are taking politics too far, saying: "Is everybody going to boycott every other business if one supports Democrats and one supports Republicans? Where does this end?"
We reached out to Putnam's campaign to get his thoughts on the backlash against Publix. Instead of addressing the boycott, he's singing the company's praises:
“I’m so proud that Publix calls Florida home. They got their start in Polk County and are consistently ranked as one of the top places to work in the nation. They provide more than 100,000 jobs for hard-working Floridians and are the epitome of customer service and quality. I’m a proud Store No. 3 shopper.” – Adam Putnam
Publix also responded to our request for comment. Here is the company's full statement:
"As the largest private employer in the state of Florida, and with the majority of our stores and our corporate headquarters located here as well, we have a history of supporting candidates focused on job growth and a healthy Florida economy.
We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida.
Publix cares about our associates, customers and the communities we serve. It is important to understand that the vast majority of our giving is focused on organizations whose mission supports youth, education and the plight of the hungry and homeless within our area of operation.
As a result of this situation, we are evaluating our processes to ensure that our giving better reflects our intended desire to support a strong economy and a healthy community."