Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren defended the company’s partnership with Donald Trump last week in response to a petition asking Macy’s to sever ties with the controversial business mogul.
Angelo Carusone, now Media Matter’s campaign director but best known as the organizer behind popular StopBeck and StopRush campaigns against conservative media commentators Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, started the “Dump Trump” petition in October. Since then, it has garnered more than 650,000 signatures.
Trump has gained his fair share of criticism, most recently for reviving racially-charged birther conspiracies about President Barack Obama and calling for a revolution after the president’s re-election.
On the petition page, Carusone writes, “Donald Trump does not reflect the ‘magic of Macy’s.’ We urge you to sever ties with him. Macy’s says it has a strong obligation to be ‘socially responsible’ and that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Indeed. It’s time to act.”
But the company has decided to continue on with the partnership, defending its actions as non-partisan.
“Please understand and appreciate that Macy’s marketing and merchandising offerings are not representative of any political position,” Lundgren wrote in an e-mail to Carusone. “Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy’s — or at any retailer, for that matter — express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company. That is the nature of a free society.”
Carusone spoke with theGrio about his past campaigns and his recent attempts to boot Trump from the Macy’s brand.
theGrio: Why did you decide to start the StopBeck and StopRush campaigns?
Angelo Carusone: Everything just seemed so dysfunctional and broken. When I started thinking about that, I realized that a very big part of why everything seemed to be out of whack was that the conversations that we had in our public debates were very dysfunctional as well.
So at the time, [Glenn] Beck had just started rising to prominence and to me, he represented the very worst of that dysfunctional conversation. Here’s an example of someone who’s out there every day not only deliberately deceiving but really engaging in some pretty irresponsible and reckless behavior, tons of vitriol, and he was being rewarded for it. Every day he would be encouraged to get out there and really create and stir up these controversies, manufacture them, for no other reason than to gen up ratings, which then could be converted into additional revenue. To me, that seemed like a perverse incentive.
And then Limbaugh went off on his multi-day tirade against Sandra Fluke. Some people on Twitter started asking me if it was time to reactivate StopRush and I just said ‘What does everyone think?’ and the response was obviously very strong.
The common denominator is this perverse incentive that rewards this kind of behavior, and then addressing these bullies.