Before 2016, the Trump name was perhaps best recognized in the form of big gold letters that adorned lavish hotels, casinos, golf clubs and apartment buildings around the world.
Since launching his bid for the White House, Donald Trump has touted the success of his real estate business as evidence of his ability to run the country. But with the election just two weeks away, the Republican presidential nominee’s controversy-filled campaign has driven some to want to distance themselves from the Trump name.
The Courage Campaign, a California-based progressive advocacy organization, first called on Nike to relocate its New York flagship store out of Trump Tower in Manhattan last March.
“ESPN, Macy’s, NBCUniversal, Univision and more have dumped Donald Trump and his hateful, bigoted rhetoric,” read the initial petition, which urged Nike to “do the same by not renewing Niketown’s 2017 lease with Trump Tower.”
Now, in response to the leaked 2005 “Access Hollywood” recording of Trump’s lewd comments about women, and the growing list of women who’ve accused the Republican presidential nominee of sexual misconduct in the wake of the tape’s release, the Courage Campaign is renewing its demand for Nike to take action.
“For a leading global corporation that boasts its dedication to diversity and inclusion, Nike has done absolutely NOTHING to disassociate itself with Trump and his misogynistic presidential campaign,” Courage Campaign manager William Winters said in a press release Monday. “Even after Trump bragged about sexually assaulting women, Nike did nothing. And its silence is deafening.”
According to the Courage Campaign, more than 60,000 people have signed the petition for Nike to cut ties with Trump as of this week.
Contrary to the Courage Campaign’s claim that Nike will soon have the opportunity to move its New York flagship store out of Trump Tower when the lease expires next year, Nike spokesperson Greg Rossiter told the Oregonian this week that the Portland-based athletic giant has a “multi-year lease agreement” with Trump Tower that “does not end in 2017.”
According to the Oregonian, Rossiter declined to comment on the candidate’s language and alleged behavior referenced in the Courage Campaign petition. However, in a statement to Footwear News regarding the initial campaign back in April, Nike said that it “strongly supports equality and inclusion for all. We oppose laws that facilitate discrimination as they hurt our employees, our customers, our business and society as a whole. We stand with other businesses and organizations against discriminatory laws across the country.”
Nike isn’t the only company getting heat for its ties to the controversial Republican nominee. Other companies that rent space from Trump properties, such as Gucci and Starbucks, have also been the subject of petitions over the past several months.
It wasn’t long after Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign with a scathing attack on Mexican immigrants that celebrity chefs José Andrés and Geoffrey Zakarian backed out of their respective deals to open restaurants in the real estate developer’s new hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue.
This week, Washingtonian magazine published an in-depth look at the personal and professional dilemma Trump’s candidacy had created for both chefs, and the legal battles that ensued once they decided to pull out of the property.
Meanwhile, at an apartment complex on the Upper West Side, more than 300 residents have signed a petition to remove Trump’s name from the front of their building.
Despite what it says on the gilded awning out front, Trump Place is neither owned nor operated by the Trump Organization but by a company called Equity Residential, which pays a leasing fee to use the GOP nominee’s famous moniker. But for many who live inside the building, the controversy associated with Trump’s campaign has become too much to bear.
“Every time we have a conversation with somebody who asks where do you live, and you say you live on Riverside Boulevard, they say ‘Oh, that’s one of the Trump buildings, isn’t it?’ It’s really embarrassing,” one frustrated resident told New York 1.
“Why should he get part of my rent, and why should his name be on there?” asked another.
A spokesperson for Equity Residential told New York 1, “We have a contractual obligation regarding the use of the name. We will assess the continued use of the name at the appropriate time, taking into consideration the issues raised by the residents in their petition.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported Monday that Trump’s name will no longer be emblazoned on the mats that cover the floor of the complex’s lobby or on the uniforms worn by the building’s doormen and concierges.
Trump press secretary Hope Hicks told the Times that the presidential hopeful was not aware of the petition at Trump Place but said that removing his name from the complex would be “an inappropriate thing to do.”
“If the name comes off, the building will lose tremendous value,” Hicks told the Times.
Petitions like those lead by the Courage Campaign and the residents at Trump Plaza are just part of a recent backlash against Trump’s brand. According to the Associated Press, advance rates for a room at Trump’s new hotel in Washington, D.C., have dipped significantly below those of neighboring competitors ahead of the property’s official opening this week. And in what could be a further blow to the Trump brand’s reputation, major charities like the Susan G. Komen Foundation are reportedly considering relocating their events away from Trump properties, and three U.S. senators are petitioning the U.S. Golf Association to change the location of next year’s U.S. Women’s Open from one of Trump’s golf courses.