Silicon Valley tech executives have been some of the most vocal opponents of President Donald Trump and his administration since the early campaign trail (with the notable exception of Peter Thiel). Recently, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announced he would be stepping down from his position on Trump’s advisory council.
But it’s not just Silicon Valley — major retailers have also distanced themselves from the Trump family. Notably, clothing retailers Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom have discontinued sales of Ivanka Trump’s merchandise line.
However, one major eCommerce company has decided to take a different approach. Shopify reportedly received over 10,000 emails, tweets and messages from consumers concerned about the sale merchandise — including politically themed t-shirts, mugs, and doormats — from Breitbart News, the far-right website cofounded by Steve Bannon, a senior counselor to President Trump, back in 2007.
In a blog company post entitled “In Support of Free Speech,” Shopify CEO Tobias Lütke responded to consumers urging the company to drop Breitbart.
“We don’t like Breitbart, but products are speech, and we are pro free speech,” Lutke wrote. “This means protecting the right of organizations to use our platform even if they are unpopular or if we disagree with their premise, as long as they are within the law. That being said, if Breitbart calls us tomorrow and tells us that they are going to switch to another platform, we would be delighted.”
The move by Shopify runs counter to recent moves made by other companies as of late.
AT&T, Kellog, and Visa, for example, have removed their advertising from Breitbart and fake news sites, said Forbes.
Lutke launched Shopify in 2006 with business partner Daniel Weinand. The platform reportedly hosts 325,000 merchants and a sales volume of $24 billion. Shopify went public in 2015.