Officials at Publix Supermarkets are now saying they are going to reevaluate how the company contributes to political campaigns.
That decision comes after the Lakeland-based grocery chain faced an online backlash for giving more than $600,000 to Republican gubernaorial candidate Adam Putnam, who has called himself a "proud NRA sellout."
Gun control advocates took to social media to criticize Publix for it's campaign donations using #BoycottPublix. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivor David Hogg organized a "die-in" protest at the two Publix stores in Parkland scheduled for Friday afternoon.
In a statement, the company says it didn't intend to upset some of its customers and that contributions to Putnam were meant to quote support "job growth and a healthy Florida economy." Publix says it will try to ensure future campaign donations will reflect those values. The company has previously called Putnam, who was born and raised in Bartow, "the hometown candidate."
Here is Publix's full statement:
“As the largest private employer in the state of Florida, and with the majority of our stores and our corporate headquarters located here as well, we have a history of supporting candidates focused on job growth and a healthy Florida economy.
We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida.
Publix cares about our associates, customers and the communities we serve. It is important to understand that the vast majority of our giving is focused on organizations whose mission supports youth, education, and the plight of the hungry and homeless within our area of operation.
As a result of this situation, we are evaluating our processes to ensure that our giving better reflects our intended desire to support a strong economy and a healthy community."