- People are boycotting Publix after heiress Julie Jenkins Fancelli was unmasked as a top donor to the January 6 Trump rally.
- Fancelli is not a Publix employee but is set to inherit from the $US8.8 ($11) billion founding family’s fortune.
- Fancelli contributed most of the roughly $US500,000 ($643,169) total raised for the “Stop the Steal” rally, the WSJ reported.
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People are calling for a boycott of Publix after The Wall Street Journal identified an heiress to the Southern grocery empire as the top donor to the Trump rally that preceded the January 6 riot at the US Capitol.
Julie Jenkins Fancelli, an heiress to the Publix founding family’s nearly $US9 ($12) billion fortune, has donated millions of dollars to Republican causes and candidates. On January 30, The Journal reported that Fancelli contributed $US300,000 ($385,902) of the roughly $US500,000 ($643,169) total raised for President Donald Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally.
Publix has a dedicated fan base, but The Guardian reported Monday that Fancelli’s contribution to the rally had turned off many loyal customers. On Monday, the hashtag #BoycottPublix was trending on Twitter, with many users expressing outrage and claiming betrayal over Fancelli’s donation.
—Bob south florida water man (@WaterDean) February 15, 2021
—Jordan Knash ????????????⚖️#ShutItDown (@JordanKnash) February 15, 2021
—Neri Beats (@NeriBeats) February 15, 2021
Fancelli’s donation was facilitated by the far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who donated $US50,000 ($64,317) to the rally, The Journal reported.
After the riot, corporations raced to cut ties with Trump and end donations to political candidates who supported Trump’s attempt to overturn his reelection defeat.
After the publication of the Journal article, Publix rapidly distanced itself from Fancelli in a Twitter statement, saying it did not employ her.
—Publix (@Publix) January 31, 2021
Fancelli is still president of the George Jenkins Foundation Inc., a nonprofit named after Publix’s founder that Publix says is not affiliated with the grocery chain. Since posting the statement on January 30, the Publix Twitter account – which previously posted about once a day – has been silent.
This isn’t the first time Publix-related political donations have courted controversy. The company came under fire after Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida awarded the chain an exclusive vaccine-distribution contract. This followed the Publix PAC donating $US100,000 ($128,634) to his campaign – a spokeswoman for DeSantis said any implication that the contract was a reward for the donation was “baseless and ridiculous,” per the Lakeland Ledger.
Leaders from predominantly Black communities throughout the state also criticized the contract, saying it deprived many Black Floridians of the chance to get vaccinated.