Patagonia cuts ties with JHMR

The outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia has decided to quit supplying Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with its products, fallout from resort co-owner Jay Kemmerer’s support of the House Freedom Fund. The resort, which is Patagonia’s largest single customer in Jackson Hole, has retail stores in Teton Village and the town of Jackson.

Patagonia, the iconic sportswear company that has built a worldwide reputation on outdoor athleticism and environmental activism, will no longer supply Jackson Hole Mountain Resort with its products after a resort owner hosted a fundraiser for the right-wing House Freedom Fund.

Patagonia confirmed Tuesday that it would no longer sell to the resort, its largest single customer in the Jackson Hole area. The resort company operates retail stores in Teton Village at the base of the ski area, as well as Hoback Sports and the Jackson Hole Resort Store in Jackson.

The move came after Jay Kemmerer, one of the resort’s owners, co-hosted a fundraiser Aug. 5 at a posh Jackson hotel for the House Freedom Fund. U.S. Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.; former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows; and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, headlined the event. Admission cost a minimum of $2,000 per couple.

The three have parroted former President Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud and been panned by conservation groups for their environmental records.

Patagonia and the fund also diverge on social priorities such as voting rights and advocacy for minorities and disadvantaged groups, according to widely reported public positions.

Patagonia’s decision centered on “our really strong commitment to using both our business and our brand to advocate for our strong priorities,” said Corley Kenna, head of communications and policy at Patagonia. “When there’s a misalignment on that, then we take action.”

The resort president said Jackson Hole is committed to environmental action.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Protest

Nikki Kaufman takes a photo of a fellow demonstrator on Aug. 5 while protesting Jay Kemmerer’s decision to co-host a fundraiser for the House Freedom Fund. The Kemmerer family owns Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and Kaufman was one of a few protesters that called on others to think critically about their ski pass purchases.

“JHMR retail will continue to offer world-class brands across our retail locations with the aim to provide the best service and product assortment for our guests,” President Mary Kate Buckley said in a statement. “We have been a leader in the ski industry in adopting initiatives to reduce our energy consumption, recycle the consumables used by our employees and guests, and treat the spectacular natural habitat which surrounds us with vision and care.”

“We are proud to be the largest mountain resort operating on 100% wind today,” the statement continues. “We will remain focused on operating a world-class mountain resort and protecting the health and safety of our guests and employees.”

The Kemmerer fundraiser drew a gaggle of protesters, some of whom suggested that skiers and others should no longer support the world-class ski area by buying ski passes or otherwise engaging in business with it, according to reporting by the Jackson Hole Daily and Jackson Hole News&Guide. One protester, Jorge Colon, said he was willing to cancel the season ski pass he bought to access the expansive ski area, which is internationally known for long runs and radical terrain.

“It’s just a shame that it’s gotten to this point,” Colon, an active septuagenarian who has worked various jobs at the ski area over the decades, told WyoFile. “I know they supply a lot of people with work, but to be backing up that group … is pretty embarrassing.”

Resort management has struggled to separate itself and its operations from Kemmerer’s political views. Members of the corporation’s board published an opinion piece in Wednesday’s News&Guide touting the company’s own environmental priorities and its commitment to the community and guests, and to welcoming a diversity of views.

Patagonia’s Kenna acknowledged a “long and strong relationship” with the “workers and the management team at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, if not Kemmerer himself.”

“It’s very fair to say that Jackson Hole is a really important community for us,” she said. “We have several [sports] ambassadors that live there. Plenty of my colleagues enjoy going there and appreciate all that the area has to offer,” including the natural environment.

Kenna would not disclose how much business Patagonia does with the ski and resort company.

“It is our largest customer in an area — that’s really critical,” she said. “That tells you something about the importance of this relationship. We don’t take ending it lightly.”

The House Freedom Caucus formed in 2015, and both Jordan and Meadows led it at one time. The caucus and the three fundraising conservatives hold views that are at loggerheads with Patagonia’s ethics.

Jordan and former U.S. Rep. Meadows received 3% and 2% scores respectively for their votes on conservation issues from the League of Conservation Voters. The House stripped Greene of her committee assignments in February for “spreading dangerous and bigoted misinformation,” according to a characterization by The New York Times.

“It’s a shame that those people are doing what they’re doing,” Colon said of Kemmerer, “especially when we know as much as we know today. You can’t get away with that s--t in Teton County,” he said of the fundraiser.

Patagonia has undertaken other boycotts, but is willing to reconsider its withdrawal from the mountain resort, Kenna said. If owners recommit to priorities, “especially protecting the planet,” Patagonia would “consider sitting down and talking through that.”

“This is very much about staying true to our strong feeling and our responsibility as a benefit corporation to stand up for and advance our priorities, our policies to protect our planet and our communities,” Kenna said.

 

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(12) comments

Kellie Peters

I haven't bought Patagonia products for years becasue I don't like their politics. It works both ways!

Bill French

Patagonia's business practice is a BAD practice. I will no longer wear or purchase anything from Patagonia.

Patti Piper

I totally agree with you. THEY should LEAVE TOWN....and never be allowed to ski the area they are trying to control. Ridiculous.

Patti Piper

exactly what I was thinking.

Gena Bailey

Don't know why companies cave to the mob and disregard more than 50% of their customers? I think 100% of the pie is better than 45% don't you? Tolerance and kindness is what we should strive for

Judd Grossman

Patagonia is being despicable. Do they also need to check my political views before they will allow me to wear their clothing? Are they so confident in their opinions that no one else is allowed to differ from them without being financially attacked? It’s an arrogant and foolish approach to life in America. The beauty of this country is that we can speak our minds and support who we want without suffering retribution. That’s how we learn from each other and make the country better. Patagonia is being authoritarian. Disgusting! (Notice that I’m not calling for a counter boycott).

P.S. Wyofile’s political bias is not conducive to good journalism.

NEIL RUDO

Good for Patagonia for standing up for truth, the environment and ethics. I am guessing that the people that find the company's actions objectionable agree with Mr Trump, Mr. Jordan and Ms. Green that there is no global warming, the election was stolen and that masks and vaccines are a violation of their individual rights. They fail to see that selfish, dishonest behavior puts all of us at risk. That type of narcissistic "patriotism" misses the point that if a democracy is to succeed its citizens must act for the greater good first: "Ask not what your country can do for you..." Good on you Patagonia.

Judd Grossman

The problem is that if you use economic coercion to silence people who disagree with you, the public conversation is chilled and we all get dumber, and everything becomes political. In a cohesive country we need to give each other space to disagree, and the benefit of the doubt that our intentions are good. The arrogance of Patagonia is that they have no interest in persuading people of the merit of their ideas, they only wish to coerce and intimidate, and they believe that they are the good guys and everyone else is not just wrong but worthy of destruction. Their sense of intellectual and moral superiority is misplaced.

David Block

Absolutely agree with your PS and I have told them so in the past. Just wait till you need a vac card to purchase something from a woke company

Robert Mack

Seems to me that as a private business they have the right to sell their products to whomever they want for whatever reasons they want. JHMR has no inherent right to distribute Patagonia or any other product. Speaking one's mind includes the potential for retribution. Freedom of expression applies across the board. If you don't agree with their decision don't buy their products. It is as simple as that.

Judd Grossman

JHMR can weather this, but when speaking your mind in your private life means you lose your job that is a kind of bullying and intimidation that prevents the free expression of ideas that is vital to a well functioning society. When corporations start to enforce political orthodoxies they can become a proxy for an authoritarian government. That is already the case with big tech. I don't believe in boycotts.

Patti Piper

Judd Grossman; you couldn't have said it better. I hope PATAGONIA learns a lesson from this. Just despicable.

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