Who owns Walgreens? #BoycottWalgreens trends after donation to Sedition Caucus revealed

The company was caught breaking its promise to not support those who objected to the certification of Biden's win; angry Internet calls for boycott


                            Who owns Walgreens? #BoycottWalgreens trends after donation to Sedition Caucus revealed
A Walgreens pharmacy (Joe Raedle/Getty Images) with an insert of Executive Chairman Stefano Pessina (Stefano Pessina website)
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The Internet is calling for a boycott of Walgreens after the company was reported to be donating to members of the "Sedition Caucus". According to the latest reports, the company has donated to 11 members, who all objected to certification of Joe Biden's win in the 2020 Presidential Election. The news has led to the hashtag #BoycottWalgreens trend on February 17, 2022. 

Back in June 2021, Toyota was called out for similarly donating $55,000 to 37 lawmakers. The firm isn't the only one, many including Pfizer and AT&T made donations to Republicans who opposed Biden's win, leading to widespread condemnation and anger. Shortly after the January 6 insurrection, many big businesses including Wallgreens announced they would stop donating to objectors, but it seems like that's a hard promise to keep. 

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On January 16, 2021, Walgreens said, "Walgreens holds in high regard the role of government and the peaceful transition of power that is core to our democracy. As such, our political action committee suspended contributions to members of Congress who voted to object the certification of U.S. electoral college votes."

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Then on February 17, 2022, CREW tweeted, "Walgreens made donations to 11 members of the Sedition Caucus in November 2021, totaling $25.5k, breaking the pledge they made after Jan 6th to indefinitely suspend contributions to members of Congress who objected to the election certification. Shame on them."


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Who owns Walgreens? 

The pharmacy chain is owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, a Deerfield, Illinois-based holding company. It was founded in 2014 after Walgreens purchased Alliance Boots, and is currently headed by Stefano Pessina. Pessina serves as both Executive Chairman, and the single largest shareholder of the company. Originally from Italy, Pessina took over his family's business and quickly grew it into the Alliance Boots company in 2007. 

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Apart from his long involvement with the healthcare industry, Pessina made headlines in 2015 for commenting on the then-leader of the UK's Labour Party. However, that controversy has since blown over, and he is now the 234th richest person in the world according to Forbes. He's largely stayed away from getting involved in US politics, so it's unclear if Pessina was involved in the role to donate to the objectors. 

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Stefano Pessina at a 2013 meeting. (Stefano Pessina website)

 

'Don't want to fund treasonous insurrectionists'

Of course, the company isn't alone in backtracking on its words. In January 2022, Fast Company reported that nearly 100 corporations backtracked on their promises not to donate to those who objected to Biden's win. Amongst them are T-Mobile, Comcast & NBC Universal, Home Depot, Wells Fargo, American Airlines, Lockheed Martin, and UPS to name a few.  Making matters worse, it also emerged that Walgreens sponsored $28,000 to Florida's controversial 'Don't Say Gay' bill. CREW did not report who the 11 Republicans were that Walgreens donated to, but it seemed like those details didn't matter to many people online. 

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The news was met with widespread backlash almost instantly. "Looks like I have to #BoycottWalgreens I don't want to fund treasonous insurrectionists. @Walgreens how can you do this? What a scandal to know my money supported the seditionists," one user tweeted. A second said, "Really @Walgreens you support seditionists? #BoycottWalgreens Guess I have to find a new place to buy my medications." One user commented, "Many people don’t have any other option, but if you do have a small business/local pharmacy, PLEASE support them rather than sedition supporting @Walgreens #BoycottWalgreens."

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"I have been shopping @Walgreens for years. I will be taking my business elsewhere. So disappointing. #BoycottWalgreens," one person responded. Another tweeted, "How very un-American of you @Walgreens. We need corporate leadership that will help ensure a strong future for democracy, not leadership that lines the pockets of people who attempted to overthrow an election." A third tweeted, "Walgreens funds treason."

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