Should you boycott a company over the actions of an individual executive? | The Tylt

Should you boycott a company over the actions of an individual executive?

Boycotts have been around for a long time as a means to apply consumer pressure to a business, person or government. Often controversial, boycotts are typically successful in causing change, or at least drawing attention to the behavior of those in power. Some boycotts protest the actions of an individual executive, while others focus on the company as a whole. Which boycott is best?

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Should you boycott a company over the actions of an individual executive?
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Should you boycott a company over the actions of an individual executive?
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The word boycott comes from Captain Charles Boycott, a sort of middle-man landlord in Ireland whose boss, Lord Erne, refused to lower rent sufficiently during a time of poor harvests in 1880. Boycott became socially ostracized when enforcing Lord Erne’s eviction orders and eventually had to leave the area. Since then, many boycotts have proven successful. The Montgomery Bus Boycott is one famous and successful example. More recently, the pro-Palestine Boycott-Divest-Sanction movement has also made headlines, given Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib's support of it (and President Donald Trump’s opposition to them, in particular).

A number of large corporations now find themselves targeted by calls for boycotts, after it came to light that certain high-ranking executives make financial contributions to Trump. Examples include Marvel chairman Issac Perlmutter, Stephen A. Ross of Equinox and SoulCycle, as well as numerous fast-food companies listed in a heavily shared tweet. But when protesting the acts of an individual, is a boycott of the company that employs them the correct course of action?

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While the actions of Trump-fan Isaac Perlmutter may not reflect the beliefs of Marvel or parent company Disney’s views at large—or even the views of its board of directors—a refusal to give material support to the corporation is the only reasonable way to put pressure on the individual. If dissenters cost the company enough, higher-ups will could oust Perlmutter for PR reasons. 

Similarly, the average trainer at Equinox may have nothing in common with Ross politically, but applying punitive measures to the whole company is the clearest means to draw attention to the actions of those in charge.  

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Ross fundraises and donates substantially to Trump's re-election campaign. He was most recently criticized for hosting a fundraiser where the opportunity for lunch and a photo with Trump cost supporters $100,000 a piece. The most effective way to express disapproval of these actions is a boycott of Ross' companies. This is a capitalist country, and people listen when the pockets get hit. 

If a person is the face of the company, then the company is responsible for the actions of said person; therefore, companies should be held accountable.

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Arguments regarding corporate personhood aside, big companies need not be synonymous with their leadership. It’s one thing to boycott a company over a company-wide policy, as was the case in the Nestle boycott of the 1970s, but quite another to take action against a company that may employ thousands of people simply because you disagree with the actions of one person. Many on the left opposed calls to boycott Nike over Colin Kaepernik’s political views, yet feel it is reasonable to target equally massive companies over the political views of right-wing executives. Left or right, people are people, and companies are companies. 

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As the tweet here reads, people want to boycott Walmart over gun sales. That's a very different thing than boycotting a corporation over the behavior of a specific person.  

Hold companies responsible for company-wide policies, rather than the actions of individual people. Individuals can and should be held accountable for their own actions without jeopardizing the livelihood of employees. 

FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Should you boycott a company over the actions of an individual executive?
#BoycottCompanies
A festive crown for the winner
#BlameExecs