Customers Dress Down Lands’ End

Barb Wire

Thanks to many of you, Lands’ End is no longer a dead end for pro-lifers. The long-time clothing company mended its ways earlier this week after wading into abortion politics and feminist propaganda. For many, Lands’ End was a refreshing option to so many companies that refused to stay neutral in the culture wars. That changed this month with Lands’ End’s glowing tribute to Gloria Steinem as part of the store’s “Legends Series.” The profiles, which were meant to highlight “individuals who have made a difference in both their respective industries and the world at large” ignited a firestorm by kicking off the campaign with a feature on a radical Equal Rights Amendment proponent and known abortion supporter.

“This profile on Gloria Steinem — conducted by Lands’ End CEO Federica Marchionni, no less — is revolting,” Media Research Center’s Katie Yoder told The Stream. “A feminist who adores abortion and hates religion doesn’t deserve one inch in a catalog that also celebrates Easter and family.” Hours after media outlets started drawing attention to the company’s move, emails and phone calls streamed into Lands’ End headquarters. The criticism was so overwhelming that it prompted an almost immediate apology from CEO Federica Marchionn. “We understand that some of our customers were offended by the inclusion of an interview in a recent catalog with Gloria Steinem on her quest for women’s equality,” she explained. “We thought it was a good idea and we heard from our customers that, for different reasons, it wasn’t. For that, we sincerely apologize. Our goal was to feature individuals with different interests and backgrounds that have made a difference for our new Legends Series, not to take any political or religious stance.”

Shortly after, to the cheers of pro-lifers, the references to Steinem were scrubbed from the site and catalogue. No one was more pleased with the victory than 2nd Vote’s Dr. David Black. His organization, which ranks companies on their positions on marriage, life, guns, and other values issues, was one of the catalysts of Lands’ End’s change of heart. For Black and so many conservatives, it was another example of how important it is for consumers to hold corporate America accountable for their advocacy. Yesterday, on “Washington Watch,” I talked to Dr. Black about the power conservatives hold just by voting with their dollars. As Christians, we have a responsibility to be good stewards of our money — not just in the company we keep, but the companies we keep.

With rankings on more than 400 popular companies, Dr. Black explains, “What we’re trying to do [at 2nd Vote] is defund the radical agenda by removing our dollars from the organizations supporting them.” (Listen to the entire interview here, starting at 27:37.) Obviously, companies have every right to express their views. But consumers have rights too — including the right to respond. At the end of the day, money talks — and believe me, these CEOs are listening.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Tony Perkins
Tony Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation’s first Covenant Marriage law. (Via FRC’s Washington Update. Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.)

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