L.L.Bean is in the middle of a political skirmish over its namesake heiress and her support of President-elect Donald Trump. Some customers vowed to boycott the family-owned company after learning last week that Linda Bean, the granddaughter and heir of company founder Leon Leonwood Bean and a longtime Republican activist, bankrolled a political action committee in her efforts to support Trump. That led L.L.Bean’s board chairman, Shawn Gorman, a great-grandson of L.L.Bean, to do something unusual for the company: address a political controversy head-on.
Total Retail’s Take: Without trying to get overly political, as that’s what not what we’re about, I find it troubling that consumers would boycott a brand with thousands of employees based on the political actions of one person. L.L.Bean is breaking away from traditional protocol and commenting on the controversy, in an effort to calm both sides. Gorman told The Boston Globe: “We are deeply troubled by the portrayal of L.L.Bean as a supporter of any political agenda.” A company spokesperson later added, “As with most families of this size, the views of L.L.’s family members cover nearly the entire political spectrum. And as every member of this very large family would agree, no single person represents the values of the company that L.L. built,” Carolyn Beem said. “Unfortunately, some have attempted to attribute the personal political activities of one member of a five-generation ownership family to our entire company. That is both illogical and unfair.” I, for one, agree with how L.L.Bean handled this.