Bill Penzey Jr., 58, (pictured) who founded the company in 1986 and does not have any shareholders to answer to, sent out the letter on Friday
Penzeys Spices CEO sparked outrage after he renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Republicans are Racist Weekend, in a promotional newsletter for customers.
Bill Penzey Jr., 58, who founded the company in 1986 and does not have any shareholders to answer to, sent out the letter on Friday.
It promised to ‘Cheese Off Racists for Free!’ as part of a spices promotion that includes ten Black Lives Matter stickers, because they have ‘earned our respect!’
The Republicans are Racist letter has infuriated customers on both sides of the aisle who criticized Penzey for his outrageous claims and say they now plan to boycott the company.
‘I’m a Democrat and liberal and all that and I know not all Republicans are racist. I think this is going a bit too far with the generalizations,’ one customer wrote on the Penzeys website. Another said: ‘I am a Democrat. But, I find this bad business.’
Republican Wisconsin State Senator Julian Bradley slammed the company, telling FOX 6 News, ‘Penzey’s has been grifting off terrible political takes and low name-calling for a decade, so the reporters will give them free media. These lies are news?’
The CEO has previously called Republicans the ‘number one threat to this country,’ and has spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads calling for former President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
Penzeys Spices announced on Friday a deal offering three spices and 10 Black Lives Matter stickers in a ‘Republicans are Racist Weekend’ promotion
Penzeys has 53 stores across the country, after having to close some during the pandemic. Here, Leah Madan Bowes, 28, of Denver, and her father, Michael Madan, were seen leaving one of the company’s franchises
However, Penzey told DailyMail.com he is not worried about a loss in customers, as he is getting new customers from progressive liberal supporters.
He wrote to DailyMail.com that since he sent out the email on Friday, he has seen 1.13 percent of his customers unsubscribe from his mailing list, but said he imagines he will have an equal amount of new subscribers by the end of Tuesday.
Meet the leftist Penzeys founder who brands all Republicans racist
Bill Penzey, 58, began working at his parent’s coffee and spice shop in Milwaukee as a child, according to the Los Angeles Times.
At 18, he went to college and crafted his own major, combining food science and history to help him better understand the family business.
He then founded the Wisconsin-based Penzeys Spices at the age of 22 in 1986, primarily as a catalogue mail-order business.
By 2012, the company had 67 retail locations in 29 states, but after the pandemic forced the company to close some stores, it was down to 53 stores by June 2021.
Penzey, who is married to wife Jeri, has always been a far left liberal and in the mid-2000s, he featured a gay couple who had triplets via a surrogate on the cover of the spice company’s catalogue, long before gay parenthood was widely accepted.
In 2010, amid a battle over immigration policy, Penzey created the Arizona Dreaming spice blend.
But when Donald Trump announced he was running for the presidency, Penzey launched his first aggressive attack on Republicans, claiming his supporters ‘committed the most racist act’ by electing Trump in 2016.
He later released customer newsletters calling Republicans the ‘number one threat to the country’ and calling all Republicans ‘racist’.
‘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.
‘Our more liberal customers of course are excited for us being honest about what the Republican party has become and are forwarding our emails to friends and family which is where our new customers are coming from.’
In fact, after he wrote that President Trump supporters ‘committed the most racist act’ by electing him in 2016, online sales of Penzeys Spices were up 59.9 percent and gift box sales were up 135 percent, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.
In his letter, FOX Business reports, Penzey praised the Black Lives Matter movement and its actions following the death of George Floyd in 2020, before suggesting that Republicans fantasize about killing black people.
‘Remember how Republicans, going against a mountain of evidence to the contrary once again lied and said BLM wasn’t a peaceful movement, but instead terrorists inciting violence throughout the country and then raced out to buy a c***load of guns because maybe they were finally going to get their chance to shoot a black person?’ he wrote. ‘What a bunch of racists.’
Penzey then went on to address Republican voters, saying: ‘The racist label is one you will deservingly wear every day you stand with [the Republican Party]. Get used to it, or maybe instead become a better person. The choice is yours. We will be here rooting for you to Choose Love.’
The newsletter follows a similar one Penzey sent out to his supporters earlier this month, marking the first anniversary of the January 6 Capitol riots by calling Republican voters the ‘number one threat to this country.’
He was promoting a new January 6 box including a combination of spices in the newsletter, and called on his customers to ‘remember this day forever,’ likening the riot to D-Day by calling it a ‘plot that will live in infamy.’
In 2010, Penzey created the Arizona Dreaming spice blend to support immigration
Some conservatives took to social media to slam Penzeys for its Republicans are Racist promotion, with many saying they would no longer buy the products
Penzey claimed that ‘after a lifetime pledging allegiance to the republic our flag stands for Republican voters have been so misled to where their allegiance is now to those seeing to bring the republic for which our flag stands to an end, and with it, America as we know it.
‘Republican voters love America but have become so entangled in the propaganda of those who control their party that they are now actively working to bring the democracy they love to a permanent end.
‘The good news is that Republican voters want to be good people,’ he continued at the time. ‘They can be redeemed, but there’s no sugarcoating the reality that they are now the #1 threat to this country they love so much. They need your help.
‘The truth we must share is anyone still supporting the Republican Party after January 6 should be ashamed of themselves.’
After the news of that newsletter broke, FOX Business reports, Penzey thanked the station for ‘delivering [his] words to exactly where they need to go.’
Penzey has become well-known for his controversial political views.
Penzey, who is married to wife Jeri (pictured with him) has always been a far left liberal and in the mid-2000s, he featured a gay couple who had triplets via a surrogate on the cover of the spice company’s catalogue, long before gay parenthood was widely accepted
Bill Penzey, 58, began working at his parent’s coffee and spice shop in Milwaukee as a child and at the age of 22, he founded his own company, Penzeys in 1986
In the mid-2000s, he featured a gay couple who had triplets via a surrogate on the cover of the spice company’s catalogue, long before gay parenthood was widely accepted, and in 2010, amid a battle over immigration policy, Penzey created the Arizona Dreaming spice blend, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Prior to the 2020 election, Penzey also spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook ads supporting the impeachment of former President Donald Trump or railing against the Republican Party or FOX News.
His activism resulted in a Facebook boycott called Goodbye Penzeys, which amassed more than 1,000 members. But he told the Los Angeles Times that he did not regret his actions, saying: ‘The luxury of not being on a side is something of the past.’
Martin Luther King Jr. Day became a federal holiday under former President Ronald Reagan in 1983, 15 years after the famed Civil Rights icon was assassinated
Penzey added at the time: ‘I want other businesses to look at what we’re doing. If you want customers to support your business, you have to support the values and lives of your customers.’
But now, even some of his most loyal customers are condemning his actions, with one self-proclaimed ‘lifelong Penzeys customer’ from a prominent investment firm telling FOX Business on the condition of anonymity he was shocked by the newsletter.
‘I am not a Democrat or a Republican, having never registered for either party. I am, however, first and foremost a patriot, and as such I recognize the difficult time our country is facing right now as various factions inside and out try to foment discord amongst us.
‘The fact that any company feels they can make such a patently absurd statement like this and not immediately be condemned by all is a testament to how far things have deteriorated in this country.
‘Our nation faces many challenges, and it’s incumbent on all Americans to find ways to bring us closer together to face the many challenges that lie ahead.
‘Companies, politicians, celebrities – anyone who has a platform should be working towards that and [be] recognized and rewarded for that contribution.
‘In much the same way, those that seek to further create dissent and sow discord should be rebuked and face condemnation for their actions,’ he said.
Others took to social media to slam Penzeys, with Frank Moley writing the newsletter is ‘just another reason I shop at The Spice House instead of Penzeys.
‘Imagine calling your customers racists because of the party they vote for (especially when you ignore the real history, see civil rights act filibuster for just one example).’
Timothy Cox also wrote: ‘Do these idiots not realize their party founded the KKK, started the Civil War and voted against desegregation?’ And Tommy McDonald tweeted: ‘I’m not sure what spices this POS of a CEO’s company makes, but you can bet your a** if they’re in my house they’ll be in the garbage.’
Another Twitter user, sophisTom, simply wrote: ‘If you buy/use Penzeys spices, it’s time to stop.’
Ben & Jerry’s said over the summer it will stop selling its ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, saying the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians are ‘inconsistent with our values’
But Penzey isn’t the only CEO that has been losing conservative support for their views. Over the summer, the CEOs of woke ice cream brand Ben & Jerry’s announced they would stop selling ice cream in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem, claiming the sales in the territories sought by the Palestinians are ‘inconsistent with our values.’
The move was slammed by supporters of Israel, with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former leader of the West Bank settlement movement calling it ‘an immoral decision and I believe that it will turn out to be a business mistake, too.’
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also slammed the decision, tweeting that: ‘Now we Israelis know which ice cream NOT to buy’.
Then in September, the company announced that it is releasing a new ice cream flavor in support of a $10 billion bill by Rep. Cori Bush that would replace police officers with social workers and other first responders in incidents of mental health and substance abuse.
The Vermont-based ice cream company announced the limited batch, Change is Brewing, in a press conference Monday featuring the company’s ‘head of activism’, Jabari Pall, and Bush herself.
The cold brew-flavored ice cream, complete with marshmallow swirls and fudge brownies, was developed in partnership with black-owned coffee and tea company Blk & Bold and New York’s Greyston Bakery, known for its brownies.
‘The flavor supports the vision of the world in which every community is safe and everyone including black and brown people can thrive,’ Pall said.