Patagonia, an American clothing company that sells outdoor apparel, printed “vote the a**holes out” on the backs of their tags. The photo started to go viral via Twitter on September 15 as more than 40,000 people discussed it. While some praised the company, others were trying to figure out if it was real.
Heavy reached out to Patagonia, who confirmed they printed the phrase on their 2020 Men’s and Women’s Road to Regenerative Organic Stand-Up Shorts to stand up to climate change deniers.
“The tags are real,” Patagonia spokesperson Tessa Byars told Heavy in a statement. “[Patagonia founder] Yvon Chouinard has been saying ‘vote the a**holes out’ for several years and it refers to politicians from any party who deny or disregard the climate crisis and ignore science, not because they aren’t aware of it, but because their pockets are lined with money from oil and gas interests.”
In an April 2020 letter from Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia used the “vote the a**holes out” motto.
I’ve never celebrated Earth Day. I’ve always felt that all of that attention on just one day distracts us from the need to be taking action for the planet every day. But these are extraordinary times. This pandemic is showing us clearly that if we put off what needs to be done, it ends up coming back to bite us. We’ve known for a long time that there would be a global pandemic, and we’ve done nothing. We’ve known for decades about global warming, and we’ve done nothing. The problems we’re facing now have to be solved on a global basis, and can only be solved by people working together and staying tough together. So, hang in there, stay the course, and remember that this community matters. And vote the assholes out—all of those politicians who don’t believe we should do anything about climate change.
On Poshmark, there’s a Patagonia shirt that sold for $17 that has the same motto.
The trend might have originally started via Reddit on September 13, where the page has nearly 20,000 upvotes.
Patagonia Has Been Openly Critical of President Donald Trump
The Red Desert in Wyoming is the largest unfenced area in the continental United States. Several Wyoming groups have banded together to organize a trail race for people to experience this place and see exactly what is at stake.https://t.co/Hn6KN1jsbw pic.twitter.com/JnaUQ6V314
— Patagonia (@patagonia) September 11, 2020
The company isn’t shy to talk about politics, publishing a blog called “There is Trump and There is Truth.”
“Yesterday, the president didn’t just reduce the boundaries of your public lands, he revoked two national monuments,” they wrote. “No president has ever done that before. It is widely unpopular and unprecedented. It is also illegal, and Patagonia will be challenging his action in court. The president also lied.”
Patagonia, along with Columbia, brought a lawsuit in an effort to stop the Trump administration from reducing clean air standards, Outside wrote.
In 2018, Patagonia CEO Rose Marcario called corporate tax cuts given by the Trump administration “irresponsible,” GQ reported. The company received $10 million in “unplanned cash” and then said they would donate the money to battle climate change.
“Instead of putting the money back into our business, we’re responding by putting $10 million back into the planet. Our home planet needs it more than we do,” she wrote on LinkedIn at the time. “Our home planet is facing its greatest crisis because of human-caused climate disruption.”
Social Media Users Widley Approve of The Tag
— Patagonia (@patagonia) September 2, 2020
Some Twitter users supported the tag, including political commentator Ana Violeta Navarro-Cárdena. “@patagonia, can you please confirm if this is accurate. Cuz I’m about to go online and buy parkas in every color….and I live in Miami,” she tweeted.
MSNBC contributor Joyce Alene was also ready to purchase some of Patagonia’s products. “Christmas shopping for my children here in Alabama has commenced. Everyone needs one of these tags, er, jackets,” she wrote.
This story has been updated to include a statement from Patagonia.