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Penzeys Spices, ‘Hamilton’ the musical draw praise and criticism for anti-Trump stances

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MILWAUKEE -- Supporters of President-elect Donald Trump are calling for a boycott of Wauwatosa-based Penzeys Spices  and the Broadway musical "Hamilton" after they took stances opposing the president-elect.

Bill Penzey, the owner of Penzeys Spices, said Trump's voters had committed a "racist act" by electing him president.

"The open embrace of racism by the Republican Party is now unleashing a wave of ugliness unseen in this country for decades," Bill Penzey wrote in his newsletter to those on his company's mailing list.

In a follow-up Facebook post titled "Cooking trumps racism," Penzey wrote of Republicans: "You really are a good bunch, but you just committed the biggest act of racism in American history since Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway 53 years ago. Make this right. Take ownership for what you have done and begin the pathway forward."

Bill Penzey did not return repeated requests for comment.

President-elect Trump's supporters said the company would lose business as a result of Bill Penzey's controversial posts.

"He doesn`t know me. He doesn`t know anybody that I know that had purchased from him. But we`re racist because we chose to vote for a person that in this country we have every right to do?" said Robin Moore, a Waukesha County Republican.

Penzey's Spices

Penzey's Spices

"He doesn’t know what he’s talking about," said Van Mobley, a support of President-elect Trump. "People have a right to (make political comments) but I don't think it's good business sense."

Thousands of people have commented and shared Penzey's post on Facebook. Many were positive, including one who said: "Thank you for having the courage of your convictions."

Others were opposed to Penzey's political stance, with one man writing, "Calling me a racist has cost you a customer."

Yet a Penzeys store in Brookfield, part of the Republican electoral stronghold of Waukesha County, remained busy on Sunday afternoon.

"Everybody has their opinion, and I think people should stand strong about what they think because it`s a democracy," said Cathy Stehr, as she left the Penzeys store with garlic she had purchased. Stehr said she opposed Mr. Trump in the election.

Bill Penzey has stirred controversy before. In 2014, he wrote that residents of Waukesha County had "fled west" to escape diversity in Milwaukee.

Penzey's Spices

Meanwhile, President-elect Trump seemed to encourage a boycott of the hit Broadway musical Hamilton after cast members called out Vice President-elect Mike Pence late last week.

"The cast and producers of Hamilton, which I hear is highly overrated, should immediately apologize to Mike Pence for their terrible behavior," Trump tweeted on Sunday.

The Tony Award-winning musical is sold out.

Donald Trump

Pence received a smattering of boos and cheers from audience members when he entered a New York theater last week before the cast addressed him at the end of the musical.

"We sir, we are the diverse Americans who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us," said Brandon Victor Dixon, who plays Vice President Aaron Burr on stage.


Pence said Sunday that he wasn't offended by the cast's commentary. As for the boos from the audience, Pence said, "That's what freedom sounds like."



  • hocuspocus13

    Hamilton diverse?

    At $1000 per ticket to see Hamilton the only “diverse” people that can see the play are the wealthy “diverse”

    PENZEY’S isn’t that situation like “baking a cake”

  • Penzey's is LIBERAL TRASH

    Penzey’s needs to keep their hateful political opinions and insults out of their newsletters and emails. He basically just insulted 50% of his business, not an intelligent business move by any standard. Typical liberal who wants to preach “love and unity” – but of course only to those who agree with his viewpoint, apparently everyone else is racist garbage. Hypocrite much?

    • James Selkirk

      Scratch a Trump supporter and you will likely find a misogynistic, alt-right, bigot. Remember it was Trump who started this war of venom.

      • Liberal Hypocrisy

        Time out there Jimmy!! He has been spewing in his “Newsletters” long before Trump ran. It started with if you disagree with Obama, you are a racist. I know you won’t let facts get in the way of your intollerance, but give it a try.

  • Opinion8d

    Well I’m sure Bill will be moving his family into the City of Milwaukee and his business as well??!?! What an absolute liberal Puke!! Interesting how the ‘tolerant’ liberals are only tolerant if you believe as they do….how about all the people who believe in traditional values of Family, God and Country???? No, instead of respecting everyone -they want to cram their beliefs onto everyone else. It’s not okay to just respect the laws -say gay marriage; no, those that don’t believe in it must now fully support it or they are horrible people!?!? People are tired of this!

  • Marcia

    Penzey lost us as customers when he blasted us for living in Waukesha County. I don’t understand his rhetoric or his need to be political in his business newsletter. But like the ‘privileged’ Hollywood, he thinks his opinion is the only one that counts. Talk with your money and go to another spice house. We did.

  • John J. Ryan

    Penzey’s opinion should have been kept to himself. Insulting 50% of the voters by calling them a racist hopefully will cost his business dearly unless the other 50% of voters spent twice as much. Free speech is one thing but insults are not covered and should be punished.

  • Scott

    If Penzey hates conservatives so much why does he continue to locate his Milwaukee area businesses in conservative areas? Oh, the profits … I get it. Hypocrite much?

  • Metal Maniac

    So voting for a black man because he is BLACK is not racist? There are plenty of other spice companies and I’m sure they make their spices much better than this dope.

    Trump is not openly racist, where do you liberals get your intel from? Protecting our border is not a race issue. The only way it could be a race issue is if he said “I want to build a wall because the white race is superior.” We already have brown and black people in this country so building a wall to keep out certain races would be pointless. Can some liberals post their racist Trump quotes?

  • M Thomas

    This article, really does not get to the bottom of this issue. He is calling out his customer base as the CEO of a national company. This is being done with a great product, great employees, and LOCAL STORES. All of which do not share in his views or how he expresses them. The people are leaving and boycotting the company not as angry RNC members, but as consumers of his product that do not like to be called names directly by the CEO of the company. Also, in the next email, we were then asked to return their product and leave the company – much to the surprise of the employees right before Christmas time. The list the CEO is using for his rants is a list designed and marketed for specials and giveaways – but now it includes insulting emails from the CEO. Political views aside – this man is destroying a great brand by acting inappropriately as a CEO. The company should move quickly to have him removed from the position as CEO of the company.

    The most ironic part is he seems to be very “invested” in the election, and yet he has demonstrated that he has no real depth of topic by seemingly missing some glaring learning experiences. A lot can be debated from this election, however what helped bury Hillary was her own words where she talked directly to the American people, and called them a “basket of deplorables.” – This cost her the election.

    And here we have a CEO doing the same calling his consumers names – let us see how it works out for him. Sad part is, unlike the people working for the Clinton campaign, this will take down his company and the actual GREAT people who work for it.

  • Oh My

    Don’t know what’s funnier: libs who complains about Trump after the election or people who supports Trump, yet uses the same tactics PC are using to slience their critics

    • Hillary is a Communist wanting to Destroy Freedom

      I have *YET* to see a Trump supporter attempt to “silence” any critic. Unlike your liberal communist-loving friends who want to destroy free speech, Trump supporters always welcome opposing views and counter them with well-thought-out counter ideas backed by facts and statistics… something that you liberals are completely unfamiliar with since trying to argue with a liberal with facts is usually met with immediately insults such as “homophobic”, “racist”, “xenophobic”, etc. since you cannot come up with a legitimate counter argument and only want to “allow” free speech if it agrees with you and your little close-minded circle of beliefs. So ya, thought I’d clear that up for you since you seem to be quite misguided in your thoughts.

  • Katherine buffington

    I will empty my pantry of all penzey spices and never purchase another one. This CEO is so arrogant and self important that he cares nothing for the well being of his employees, company or his faithful customers. He is wrong in his opinions and he is too obtuse to see it. Pitiful.

  • Christian Patriot

    Yep- Just like the buffoon that is the pres of Netflix… this deplorable cxld the subscription upon learning his liberal anti-Trump views.. when will they learn to keep their mouths shut? My hard earned money will not fill the penzy’s coffers again.

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