Calls for a boycott of Home Depot have increased after two plaintiffs in a lawsuit opposing President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan received assistance from a conservative advocacy group established by the company’s founder.
Bernie Marcus, a co-founder of Home Depot, established the Job Creators Network Foundation. Marcus supported two student borrowers who claimed in court that the administration’s scheme was illegal, and the judge in the case blocked it.
Due to Marcus’ affiliation with the Job Creators Network Foundation, several Twitter users joined campaigns to boycott Home Depot. The hashtag “#BoycottHomeDepot” has been used in tweets for a few days and until early Friday morning.
Even though Home Depot’s wealthy co-founder is no longer employed by the business – Marcus retired as board chairman in 2002 – he still receives calls from customers.
It’s not the first time the call to boycott Home Depot has been pushed.
Customers were angry in September to discover more merchandise locked up at the retailer’s outlets. Home Depot said that, although it tests “more customer-friendly, higher-tech solutions” to deter shoplifting, it has been monitoring high-risk commodities and locking them up in the most vulnerable locations to prevent retail theft.
Customers began requesting that Home Depot stop selling invasive plants the month before that. Home Depot is selling at least 23 plants that are officially classified as invasive species in various states, according to a Change.org petition that has amassed close to 70,000 signatures.
And in November, Home Depot was one of several merchants forced to remove particular portable generators from their stock. After 24 individuals lost their fingers due to a major safety issue, a recall was issued.
At a time when retail is beginning to bounce back following the global pandemic, Home Depot can ill afford a boycott.
In response to calls to boycott Home Depot in October, the retailer was compelled to clarify that it had not given money to Republican U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker’s campaign. Marcus had sent money to the Georgia senate candidate, not the business.
When Marcus stated that he would back then-President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in 2019, there were similar demands to boycott Home Depot. At the time, corporate spokesperson Margaret Smith told NPR that Marcus was not speaking on behalf of Home Depot.
The corporation doesn’t support presidential candidates, according to the regular procedure, Smith said.
Marcus promised in 2019 to donate 90% of his wealth to charity, but it’s unclear how many shares he still owns in Home Depot.
On Wednesday, Twitter user Sarah Anderson wrote: “Did you know that Texas-based Job Creators Network, a nonprofit organization founded by Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus, is the force behind blocking Biden’s Student Debt Cancellation Bill?”
Anderson provided screenshots of the organization’s website, one of which revealed their hostility to the Biden administration’s plan to reduce student loan debt.
Several users retweeted Anderson’s message, while others used the hashtag #BoycottHomeDepot to show their disapproval of the retailer’s relationship with Marcus.
User Erle Davis tweeted, “Boycott Home Depot once and for all.”
User @momsresistnow stated, “Republicans legislate for the rich and penalize the working poor – it’s their platform #CancelStudentDebt #BoycottHomeDepot.”
@adhdwonderwoman, a user on Twitter, wrote: “If you believe that people’s lives are more valuable than money, do not donate to Home Depot. We are equally responsible for making sure that people come before profits.”
Marcus’s net worth is $5.38 billion, based on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
The debt relief plan was deemed an “unconstitutional exercise of Congress’s legislative power” by U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman of the Northern District of Texas on November 10.
The Job Creators Network Foundation supported the two debtors who filed the lawsuit even though they were either completely or partially ineligible for the relief provided under Biden’s plan.
While the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals considers an appeal from six Republican-led states that have asked that the plan be paused while they appeal the dismissal of their case against it, the student loan debt relief plan has already been temporarily blocked.
Stewart Rogers is a Senior Editor at Grit Daily and has over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, managing, and mentoring in tech. He is a journalist, author, and speaker on AI, AR/VR, blockchain, and other emerging technology industries. A former Analyst-at-large VentureBeat, Rogers keynotes on mental health in the tech industry around the world. Prior to VentureBeat, Rogers ran a number of successful software companies and held global roles in sales and marketing for businesses in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K.
A digital nomad with no fixed abode, Rogers emcees major tech events online and across the globe and is a co-founder at Badass Empire, a startup that helps digital professionals tap into their inner badass, in addition to being Editor-in-Chief at Dataconomy, a publication and community focused on data science, AI, machine learning, and other related topics.