After billionaire Donald Trump made disparaging remarks about immigrants from Mexico during his presidential announcement speech, Macy’s said on Wednesday they would discontinue selling his line of menswear and scents.
In an Instagram post, Trump insisted he had ended the relationship "because of the pressure being put on them by outside sources." Trump also called for a boycott of the retailer, and noted that Macy’s had faced an investigation and a fine over racial profiling at its New York store.
The Trump line has been sold through Macy’s since 2004.
Celebrity-branded merchandise has a built-in marketing advantage because a high-profile name and image are transferred to the goods. But that only works as long as the celebrity is well known and their image is a positive one because it can all fall apart if the celebrity acquires a reputation that would be detrimental to the retailer's brand. Add to that, most retailers want to stay as politically neutral as possible in order to reach the largest possible number of people.
Enter Donald Trump, who, for all his pomposity and weird hair, has lent his aura of financial success to his business attire. His remarks, however, have caused a severe public backlash, and he is now being abandoned by television networks and production companies, other celebrities, and most entities, including Macy’s, tied to him through commerce.
"We welcome all customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture," Macy’s said in a statement. "We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. ... In light of statements made by Donald Trump, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship."