Penzeys Spices CEO calling MLK holiday 'Republicans are racists weekend' to pump sales gets backlash

One customer was so shocked he thought email pitch was a joke, or company's email system had been hacked

Updated: January 18, 2022 - 10:01am

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The CEO of Penzeys Spices saying that he's renamed Martin Luther King Jr. weekend "Republicans are racist weekend" has sparked customer backlash.

"Remember how Republicans, going against a mountain of evidence to the contrary, once again lied and said BLM wasn't a peaceful movement but instead terrorists inciting violence throughout the country and then raced out to buy a crapload of guns because maybe they were finally going to get their chance to shoot a Black person?" owner Bill Penzey said in a recent newsletter to customers.

"What a bunch of racists," he also wrote, while suggesting Republicans fantasize about killing black people.

Penzey said his intent was to anger Republicans into honoring King, the late civil rights leader.

In addition to the letter, Penzey offered a "Republicans are Racists Weekend" deal on his website.

"I am not a Democrat or a Republican, having never registered for either party, a customer told Fox Business News. "I am, however, first and foremost a patriot and as such I recognize the difficult time our country is facing right now as various factions inside and out try to foment discord amongst us. The fact that any company feels they can make a such a patently absurd statement like this and not immediately be condemned by all is testament to how far things have deteriorated in this great country."

Another customer was reportedly so shocked by the letter that he initially believed it was a joke and that the Wisconsin-based company's email system had been compromised. 

Penzey's site also offered discounts on three spices: "China Cinnamon," "Mexican Oregano" and "Penzeys Curry." Any order would also include 10 Black Lives Matter stickers.

Earlier this month, Penzey emailed customers to say Republican voters are the "#1 threat to this country."

He followed up in his most letter to customers by saying, "The racist label is one you will deservingly wear every day you stand with [the Republican Party]. Get used to it, or maybe instead, become a better person. The choice is yours. We will be here rooting for you to Choose Love."

Penzey has been known to try to take advantage of a political moment for financial ends. Following the 2020 Kenosha, Wisconsin riots, he suggested "looting" his own store.