By now most of you have probably seen Patagonia's "Vote the assholes out" tag that went viral earlier this month. While many automatically assumed the message was directed at the Trump administration, the California-based clothing company has since come out to reveal that the statement applies to all politicians who deny or doubt climate change.
The tag can be found on Patagonia's "Road to Regenerative" shorts. As revealed by the brand's director of global communications and public relations, Corley Kenna, Patagonia decided that rather than announce the politically-charged design detail, it would simply allow customers to discover the message for themselves. Clearly, they did, and now those shorts have sold out worldwide.
The idea for the tag stemmed from a statement made by Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, although at the time he was unaware the company would eventually apply it to a pair of shorts. "I will say, when our founder found out about them, his response was, 'These are great. I need them in a size 32,'" Kenna told Esquire.
The "Vote the assholes out" tag isn't the first time Patagonia has made a political stand, however. More specifically, the brand has a long history of supporting environmental activism, going so far as to donating one percent of its sales to environmental nonprofits.
With the US election right around the corner, you can learn about six instances when Patagonia took a political stand, below.
Patagonia Sued Trump
Numerous outdoor retailers opposed Trump's 2017 decision to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Feeling the assault on public lands, Patagonia wiped its website following the president's announcement and added a large text to the black background that read "The President Stole Your Land." The company then joined a coalition of conservationists to sue the Trump administration, claiming the decision exceeded a president's authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906. You can read more about that here.
When: December 2017
Endorsing Senate Candidates
Patagonia publicly backed two Democrats running for Senate in 2018, Sen. Jon Tester, who was up for reelection in Montana, and Rep. Jacky Rosen, who was trying to unseat Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada. These races were among the most competitive as the Republicans held a 51-to-49 majority. The reason for Patagonia's endorsement was protecting public lands, specifically in the western United States. And spoiler alert, both Tester and Rosen won.
When: October 2018
It Donated $10 Million to Environmental Groups
Following Trump's corporate tax cut from 2017, Patagonia decided to put the money it saved by owing less in taxes to good use. Instead of reinvesting the sum into the business, the company donated $10 million to environmental groups, insisting the planet needed it much more. As taxes protect public lands, Patagonia felt the tax cut came at the expense of the planet.
When: November 2018
It Shut Stores So Employees Can Strike
Patagonia closed all its stores and offices on September 20, 2019 to allow employees to strike alongside youth climate activists. The company also put up advertisements in select cities across the globe, as well as in all its stores and on its social channels, featuring activists with the words “facing extinction” across their faces.
When: September 2019
Patagonia Joins the Facebook Ad Boycott
Patagonia joined The North Face and other like-minded companies in a Facebook ad boycott this past summer. The brand pulled ads from Facebook and Instagram in light of the social media corporation's handling of hate speech and misinformation surrounding US elections and racial injustices. Patagonia stated on Twitter that it could not contribute resources to companies that add to the problem, as others work to ensure Americans have access to free and fair elections.
When: June 2020
Shares Views on 2020 Election
After endorsing two candidates in 2018, Patagonia has made recommendations for 22 of the 35 Senate seats for the upcoming election. Based on the candidates’ stances on climate change, public lands, and environmental justice, the suggestions — and other election-related material — can be found on patagonia.com/elections. This year, the company is backing one independent candidate, while the rest are Democrats.
When: September 2020