Trump’s campaign could sink Ivanka’s business as well as the family’s reputation
The effects of Donald Trump’s rapidly spiraling presidential campaign are anything but limited to him. Since the hashtag #GrabYourWallet started trending on Twitter in mid-October, women have been boycotting Ivanka Trump’s brand as well as the stores that stock her products. The tides officially turned against Ivanka’s lifestyle brand shortly after the second presidential debate, when women came forward with sexual assault allegations against him following the 2005 Access Hollywood tape leak, in which Trump talked explicitly about grabbing women against their will.
This was the straw on the camel’s back for many women who had previously given Ivanka a chance, because while many of the Trump daughter’s past actions could be rationalized as an obligation to family — such as campaigning for the Trump presidential platform or even claiming her father is a feminist — Ivanka’s prolonged silence following the sexual assault allegations cracked the fractured iceberg of trust between her and many women voters.
The hashtag #GrabYourWallet, which is a pointed play on Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” quote, was started by a San Francisco-based digital brand strategist named Shannon Coulter, who following the slew of sexual assault allegations against Trump, urged women to vote with their wallets by boycotting the Ivanka Trump brand and the stores that carry her products.
In an interview with The Guardian Coulter revealed how hearing Trump’s words on the Access Hollywood tape triggered her own memories of being objectified in the workplace and served as the ultimate call to action. This combined with the fact that Ivanka’s brand exploits cheap labor turned the tides for many consumers.
Coulter’s sentiments towards Ivanka’s sustained support of her father were echoed by many women who joined the campaign. Lindsey Ledford, a 29 year old studying cybersecurity in Maryland told The Guardian, “I don’t blame her for being supportive to her family. But the way she has positioned herself with her website, the one-stop shop for women who work and female empowerment, then acting as a surrogate for the most hateful, racist, sexist campaign — you can’t pick and choose like that.”
When reached for comment regarding the boycott, Ivanka’s chief brand manager, Abigail Klein, sent a statement to The Guardian that artfully avoided the controversy:
“We are proud that our business is growing rapidly and that our brand resonates strongly with women who are inspired by our messaging and excited about the polished and chic solution-oriented products that we offer.”
Ivanka’s brand still brags the corporate feminist hashtag #WomenWhoWork, despite the fact that several of her employees have come forward sharing that her brand doesn’t offer paid maternity leave without a fight. Will this boycott force Ivanka to rethink her branding, or at least remove the Trump name from the labels? Only time will tell.