Publix — a grocery store chain with a large presence in Florida — has backed down in the face of a Parkland school shooting survivor’s protests.
Florida agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam, who is running for governor in the 2018 election, has so far received nearly $700,000 in donations from Publix over the last three years in spite of Putnam’s divisive support of the National Rifle Association (NRA). This prompted David Hogg, who survived the February 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, to organize die-in protests at Publix stores.
.@Publix is a #NRASellOut
In Parkland we will have a die in the Friday (the 25th) before memorial day weekend. Starting at 4pm for 12 min inside our 2 Publix stores. Just go an lie down starting at 4. Feel free to die in with us at as many other @Publix as possible.
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 23, 2018
I call on @Publix to donate double the money they gave to Putman to the Stoneman Douglas Victims fund, $1,000,000. And never support an A rated NRA politician again.
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 24, 2018
— Change the Ref (@ChangeTheRef) May 25, 2018
On the same day as Hogg’s protest, and after a boycott by customers due to the grocery chain’s support of Putnam, Publix announced it would be ceasing all corporate political donations effective immediately.
“We would never knowingly disappoint our customers or the communities we serve,” Publix spokesman Dwaine Stevens stated. “As a result, we decided earlier this week to suspend corporate-funded political contributions as we reevaluate our giving processes.”
Ever since the Parkland shooting, the NRA has been in the spotlight for its opposition to gun reform legislation with bipartisan support like universal background checks, reinstating the assault weapons ban that George W. Bush repealed in 2004, and bans on “bump stock” modifications that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at automatic speeds.
Hogg and other Parkland survivors say they get regular death threats from NRA members for their activism. Some pro-gun Twitter users — known as “truthers” — have baselessly accused the survivors of the Stoneman Douglas massacre of being “crisis actors” who are paid to act like a school shooting happened in order to win the support of the public as part of a secret government efforts to seize Americans’ firearms. Snopes captured several screenshots of threats and “truther” claims:
School shootings continue to be a pervasive problem in American society, with a shooting at a middle school in Noblesville, Indiana injuring a student and a teacher on Friday morning. The Noblesville school shooting happened just one week after the school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas, that left ten people dead.
Scott Alden is a freelance contributor covering national politics, education, and environmental issues. He is a proud Toledo University graduate, and lives in the suburbs of Detroit.