USMagazine, Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 12:00pm (PST)
Macy's is standing by its man -- for now, at least.
The department store giant has faced significant backlash in recent days over its longtime employment of billionaire Donald Trump as a spokesperson for the brand. More than half a million people have signed an online petition calling for Macy's to sever ties with the 66-year-old business magnate, who has drawn fire recently for his tirades against President Barack Obama, NBC's Brian Williams, and global warming.
But a rep for the retailer says the company's spokespeople -- Trump included -- have no bearing on its business practices.
"Macy's marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position," the store said in a statement. "Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy's -- or at any retailer, for that matter -- express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company."
Angelo Carusone, who created the petition, told NBC's Today that he was inspired to take action after seeing one of the brand's new holiday ads, which features cameos from a grumpy Trump and his fellow spokespeople Justin Bieber, Martha Stewart, and Taylor Swift. Carusone, 30, thought the ad represented an "embracing" of Trump's brand, which he said is built on "consequence-free bullying."
However, Macy’s insists there's no hidden agenda. "A longtime focus of Macy's holiday advertising has been to celebrate the season's spirit of generosity and goodwill through our ongoing 'Believe' campaign," the store's statement read, "and that is the sole message of our holiday television commercials."
Carusone and his half a million supporters aren’t backing down. "Donald Trump does not reflect the 'magic of Macy's,'" the petition states. "Macy's says it has a strong obligation to be 'socially responsible' and that 'actions speak louder than words.' Indeed. It's time to act."
The petition also cites Trump's "especially unpleasant, nasty, and despicable behavior" and paints him as a sexist hypocrite who has used his fame as a public platform to spread lies and conspiracy theories. (The longtime Republican is a noted "birther" and has said that he thinks global warming "was created by and for the Chinese.")