By Leah Asmelash, CNN
Calls to boycott Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls and Bread are growing across the country, after the executive chairman’s massive donations to a far-right candidate were brought to light.
In 2021, Jim Martin, the executive chair and former president of Martin’s, donated more than $100,000 to Pennsylvania GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano — a far-right candidate who has been backed by former President Donald Trump and has helped advance Trump’s election fraud claims. Mastriano was also pictured outside the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, the day of the insurrection, and was questioned by the FBI last year about his role in the events.
Martin’s contribution was one of Mastriano’s largest donations received in 2021, campaign finance records show.
The news — recently surfaced via local news site Billy Penn — has traveled through the food world, which has long upheld Martin’s Potato Rolls as the ideal bun for burgers and hotdogs. Now, many are calling for restaurants and customers to boycott the brand.
“I will not be buying any more Martin’s products, nor will I support any establishment that uses their buns until they change suppliers, and I’d urge you to do the same if you don’t want your dollars supporting this stuff,” wrote popular cookbook author Kenji López-Alt on Instagram last week.
Joe Rosenthal, a popular voice in food media, also spoke out against the brand, after being a longtime fan and supporter.
“Unless Martin’s takes sufficient action to remedy this situation, I will never support them or their products on any of my platforms ever again,” he wrote. “I sincerely hope they earnestly consider how profoundly harmful Mastriano and his movement are to many of their customers and make this right.”
Fast food chain Shake Shack famously uses Martin’s Potato Rolls for its burgers across its restaurants. In a statement to CNN, a spokesperson for the chain addressed the issue, though did not indicate that it would participate in the boycott.
“Shake Shack has always championed equality, inclusion and belonging at our company — and we know these values are important to our guests and team members. Shake Shack does not make political donations, nor does the company endorse the political donations of private individuals,” the statement read.
“In regards to the actions of individuals associated with the Martin’s company and their personal political donations – those are the choices of those individuals and do not express the values of Shake Shack. We continue to be in active conversations with Martin’s to express our concern.”
Martin’s is aware of the criticism, a spokesperson for the company said in a statement, and iterated that the company itself does not support any particular viewpoint.
“Like the rest of the country, Martin’s employees, business partners, and customers hold to a diverse range of personal opinions, beliefs, and values. Although the stockholders who own the company are members of the same family, they also hold a wide range of views,” the statement read. “For these reasons, the company, as a matter of policy, does not support any particular candidate or party.”
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