REPORTED BY: DAN O’DONNELL | JANUARY 31, 2022
Just two weeks after a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based spice company held a “Republicans are Racist” sale over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, it is dealing with a massive loss of business and openly begging for new customers.
Penzey’s Spices CEO Bill Penzey, who routinely uses his company’s email list to send anti-Republican screeds, sent a newsletter earlier this month in which he accused GOP voters of fantasizing about killing African Americans.
“Remember how Republicans, going against a mountain of evidence to the contrary, once again lied and said BLM [Black Lives Matter] wasn’t a peaceful movement but instead terrorists inciting violence throughout the country and then raced out to buy a crapload of guns because maybe they were finally going to get their chance to shoot a Black person?” he wrote. “What a bunch of racists.”
In a follow-up email Friday, Penzey acknowledged this allegation had cost his business a substantial number of newsletter subscribers.
“After starting the year with All Republicans are Republicans and following up with Republicans are Racists we’ve set a nice little Boycott Penzeys! surge in motion,” he admitted. “It certainly wasn’t unexpected, but if it’s within your means, you picking up a small stack of Gift Cards would help.”
Penzey informed supporters that his “Republicans are Racists” email cost his newsletter 40,005 subscribers—approximately 3 percent of its total. While this was offset by 30,000 new fans, he explained, he still needs to make up for the lost business and is offering a deal on Penzey’s Spices gift cards to lure them in “with the hope this might make it a bit easier for you to share some and possibly get a few good new customers to replace the ones we’ve lost.”
His note then took on a more desperate tone, imploring fellow leftists to support his business by appealing to their base political biases.
“If you can’t even begin to fathom how to ‘compromise’ with January 6th, or the Republican vaccine lies needlessly killing 10,000 Americans every week, if you have no desire to become half-way racist, and if their intent to destroy our climate for one thousand years to come doesn’t have you asking: ‘What if we just destroyed it for five-hundred years instead?’ we would be better off with you on this Voice Of Cooking email list,” he wrote.
Penzey has long used “A Note from Bill” emails to customers to launch attacks on Republicans, and in 2019 he spent $700,000 on Facebook ads targeting then-President Donald Trump. But his “Republicans are Racists” stunt brought him international attention and prompted tens of thousands of customers to shun his business.
Still, he told The Daily Mail that he was not worried about backlash.
“From what we’ve heard in the way of feedback a lot of our Republican customers wish we would stay out of politics but they are pretty honest about the problems with open racism in their party since President Trump took control,” he said. “So, on one hand they wish we would tone down the racism thing but on the other hand we have really good spices and they are not going to sacrifice those.”
Unfortunately for Penzey, it turns out they did.