Patagonia’s founder, Yvon Chouinard, isn’t afraid to get political.
The outdoor clothing and gear company has a long history of environmental activism, but as the world falls deeper and deeper into a harmful climate crisis, Chouinard feels it’s imperative to call out climate deniers who hold positions of power. Bluntly.
In addition to providing election resources and encouraging people to vote for climate leaders, Chouinard is also making Patagonia’s political stance crystal clear with the slogan, “Vote The Assholes Out.”
A photo of a Patagonia clothing tag that features the slogan has recently made the rounds on social media. And though some people were skeptical about the authenticity of the tags, Patagonia spokesperson Corley Kenna confirmed that they’re real in an email to Mashable.
“They were added to our 2020 Men’s and Women’s Regenerative Organic Stand-Up Shorts because we have been standing up to climate deniers for almost as long as we’ve been making those shorts,” Kenna wrote.
Though the short tags may be new, Kenna explained that the slogan has been around for quite some time.
“Yvon Chouinard has been saying ‘vote the assholes 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,” Kenna said.
It appears that the slogan was also previously featured on a shirt, and the sentiment is clearly re-enforced throughout Patagonia’s website. In April 2020, Chouinard also included the words at the end of a letter addressed to the 1% for the Planet community. (Chouinard and Blue Ribbon Files founder Craig Mathews created the group 1% for the Planet in 2002. The organization’s members have committed to donating at least one percent of their yearly sales to bettering the environment.)
“Remember, vote the assholes out — all of those politicians who don’t believe we should do anything about climate change,” Chouinard wrote. “Vote for the planet and against those who would do nothing. We have the power and now is the time to use it.”
Since the Patagonia clothing tag photo went viral, people have been praising the hell out of the company for its bold, straightforward messaging.
It’s worth nothing, however, that the tag isn’t the only public action Patagonia has taken in recent years. In 2016, the company donated every cent made from its Black Friday sales to environmental non-profits. And in 2017, the brand condemned Donald Trump’s plans to significantly scale back two national monuments: Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante.
In 2018, Patagonia launched a digital platform called Patagonia Action Works to help customers take part in environmental activism themselves. And in June 2020, Patagonia was one of the brands that pulled ads from Facebook and Instagram to protest the way Facebook fails to shut down the spread of hate and misinformation on its platform.