“Shakedown in aisle 3.”
Before teenage anti-gun celebrity David Hogg targeted the Florida-based Publix supermarket chain for made-for-TV “die-ins” last week, he demanded a huge payoff for a fund for victims of February’s mass shooting in Parkland, Florida.
On Tuesday, the father of a girl who died in that shooting went public with the Publix response, and liberals could not have been happy.
Publix was on the receiving end of Hogg’s latest stab at fascist activism thanks to the company’s previous financial support for Adam Putnam, Florida’s agriculture commissioner and a candidate for the GOP nomination for governor who is proud of the support he gets from the National Rifle Association.
In a Twitter post published a week before Friday’s demonstrations, Hogg demanded a payment of $1 million from the supermarket chain to make up for its support of Putnam — and tried to extort a humiliating promise from Publix to make its politics conform to a teenage liberal’s demands.
As atrocious as Hogg’s behavior is here, it’s not entirely unexpected. Hogg himself isn’t exactly famous for his honesty, and liberals have a long, ugly history of leveraging “progressive” causes into corporate shakedowns. (Jesse Jackson was so well known for it that a conservative author and activist wrote a book about the Chicago huckster called “Shakedown: Exposing the Real Jesse Jackson”.)
But Publix — to its credit — wasn’t coming across with the cash.
While the supermarket chain tried to wiggle its way out of the protests by announcing it would stop all political donations, turning over what would amount to a $1 million extortion payment wasn’t going to be in the cards. (It’s not like the fund needs money anyway. According to Orlando Weekly, it’s already collected some $8.7 million.)
This week, Fred Guttenberg, a Hogg ally and the father of 14-year-old Parkland victim Jaime Guttenberg, published a series of Twitter posts recounting how Publix CEO Ted Jones had informed him on Tuesday that the company wasn’t going to be victimized by a shakedown scheme.
Jones cited Friday’s “die-ins” at two Florida locations as the reason, according to Gutttenberg. That would make sense to anyone who knows that an extortionist who finds a victim willing to pay will only keep demanding more, but Guttenberg proclaimed that he was shocked.
“He had the gall to say to me that because the die in made this so political that he would not be able to come down here to meet with the Parkland kids and families, as a reminder we are customers, and that Publix would not be making any donation to the victims fund,” Guttenberg wrote.
Now, it’s important to remember that Guttenberg lost a daughter in the Parkland shooting, and grief can do strange things to a man’s decision-making process, so maybe he shouldn’t be held completely accountable for what this sounds like to normal people.
But this Twitter user summed it up perfectly:
It’s unfortunate that Publix — the largest, most popular supermarket chain in Florida — was cowed into stopping its financial support for Putnam — a potential governor who grew up in the same county where Publix is based.
But it’s heartening to see a corporation with the stones to tell an opportunistic extortionist like Hogg and his allies that the jig is up.
This was one liberal shakedown that wasn’t going to pay off.
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