US president-elect Donald Trump came to the defence of Maine-based businesswoman Linda Bean on Thursday (12 January), following calls by anti-Trump groups to boycott her business interests –including clothing firm L.L. Bean.
Bean, who is among the 10 directors at LL Bean, a firm founded by her grandfather and entrepreneur Leon Leonwood Bean, found herself at the receiving end of Grab Your Wallet, an anti-Trump website which name-calls companies whose executives either donated to the Trump campaign, or have merchandise from The Trump Organization and/or the president-elect's daughter Ivanka.
On 6 January, media reports revealed that Bean had contributed $60,000 to pro-Trump outfit Making America Great Again LLC.
However, since the outfit was registered as an independent expenditure group supporting one candidate, it was only allowed to accept up to $5,000 in contributions from a person in a year, as per US Federal Election Commission norms.
While the outfit said it was attempting to resolve the issue with FEC, Grab Your Wallet called on people to boycott LL Bean. However, in a strong response, the company noted: "We fully acknowledge and respect that some may disagree with the political views of a single member of our 10-person board of directors.
"Like most large families, the more than 50 family member-owners of the business hold views and embrace causes across the political spectrum, just as our employees and customers do. And as every member of the family would agree, no individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that (Leon Leonwood Bean) built."
Subsequently, Trump himself waded in to the row tweeting in support of Linda Bean: "Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L. Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine"
Evidence has subsequently emerged of Bean family members and L.L. Bean owners having also made political donations to his opponents – The Democrats.
Linda Bean, who also owns a lobster restaurant refereced by Trump in his tweet, told Fox News that she won't back down and that Grab Your Wallet's boycott is "very much a case of bullying."
Found in October 2016, Grab Your Wallet has around 30,000 followers on Twitter and 7,700 people on its Facebook page.