Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Memphis Entrepreneur Jeff Webb to the studio.
During the third hour, Webb discussed how he saw it was a mistake for large corporations to be taking political sides and calling for the boycott of other companies. He was concerned for future generations of Americans if small businesses don’t get more support.
Leahy: We are here with Jeff Webb our good friend who’s been talking about his endorsement of Dr. Manny Sethi. He also has had some very interesting things to say about big business and small business. You are a small business guy who built a big business.
I know that you’ve got this very very interesting commentary at townhall.com. I’ll just read the headline and I want to talk about how you came to this. And what your view is on this. The headline is To America’s CEOs, It’s Time to Cancel Cancel Culture. Where did this come from?
Webb: We’ve been watching more and more recently during all of the protests and everything that’s going on in the country right now. One of the things that we’re starting to see is the CEOs and sometimes even the boards of directors at mega-companies these large global corporations coming out and being so far to the left that they’re actually calling for boycotts of other companies that may not be quite so far to the left. And I think it’s a huge mistake for companies to get into politics. First of all, and these are big companies. We’re talking about companies like Nike, Coca-Cola, and Procter and Gamble.
What they don’t realize is that at least 50 percent of the people in this country disagree with that far-left approach. Them getting out and calling for these boycotts is unacceptable. What they need to realize is that what comes around goes around. There’s no reason that they can’t be boycotted. And the people on the other side should look at their companies and say I don’t think I’m going to do that. (Laughs) It gets into some of the sports leagues as well but that’s a different story.
Leahy: We can talk about that too because that’s one of my pet peeves.
Webb: But those are companies too.
Leahy: Yes, they are. So this boycott thing. So, Goya is a company that sort of makes Mexican food. It’s really good stuff. Their CEO Robert Unanue. He just expressed his personal opinion that the nation was blessed to have a leader like President Trump. OK.
Webb: Well he had also been at the White House with President Obama. He said nice things about him. He was being respectful and he was speaking about the country. And for that, these woke CEO’s call for boycotts against his company.
Leahy: Against his company.
Webb: Against his company.
Leahy: Because he said something nice about the President of the United States.
Webb: It’s just crazy. It’s crazy. But now the good news is apparently it hasn’t worked because a lot of people on the other side have actually gone in and bought extra products and so on. The fact of the matter is that one company calling for a consumer or a customer boycott of another company because their CEO had said something that wasn’t even partisan. He was being appreciative of the president and what he’s trying to do.
It just goes to show you. We see the same thing with Facebook. Here you have a company like Facebook with certainly no conservative platform there. But apparently they aren’t even woke enough. Because now you’ve got all these companies actually boycotting Facebook because they might actually allow people on the conservative side to speak their mind and to state their opinion. It’s a very dangerous precedent and a very dangerous road that we are going down.
Leahy: Although Facebook apparently caved because they took off a Facebook live presentation of some doctors. We know Dr. Simone Gold. They didn’t like it and they said it was false information but they wouldn’t say what the false information was. Hmmm.
Webb: We know philosophically where Facebook comes out. We should hear more in the hearings today, I think. (Chuckles)
Leahy: I think you are exactly right.
Webb: Should be a very interesting thing. This whole road to intolerance is what is so concerning to me. I think it’s ironic because I talked to many of my liberal friends and said as I was growing up in my adult life people on the left who were liberals have been all about free speech and the opportunity for people to speak their minds and have constructive conversations. To be open and tolerant. But now you are seeing really this authoritarian intolerant approach to everything we do. And I think it is very dangerous for our country.
Leahy: It’s un-American I think.
Leahy: I was talking in the five o’clock hour with Doug Kellett about this. It seems to me when you talk about America you talk about rugged individualism. You talk about entrepreneurs. People that have a dream and follow that dream as you did in founding your company in your apartment. And now you’ve turned it into more than a billion dollars in revenue for Varsity Brands. That wasn’t because you were hesitant to go and follow your dream and you wanted to wait to see what somebody else would say.
Webb: No. You are right. It was a different time. Right now entrepreneurism is under assault. You see fewer and fewer young entrepreneurs. You see it in the tech space but people out there starting operating companies there are fewer and fewer.
And I think that the Trump administration no matter which side you are on if you look up and see some of the deregulations that are taking place is certainly on the right track. Small business needs the assistance of people like Manny Sethi in the United States Senate.
Leahy: Sure. That was your argument as to why you’ve endorsed him. I found it interesting to see this. And tell me what you think about these Fortune 500 companies that are all going for Black Lives Matter. To me, it looks like we’re basically just saying we’ll give them a bunch of money so they won’t attack us and break into our stores. That’s what it looks like to me.
Webb: That’s the way it looks to a lot of people. I don’t know what their motivation is. But look, there is no doubt there are things that can be improved in this country. We’ll never get to a point where it’s perfect. It’s fine to have a discussion about things that people think are unfair and need to be adjusted. We should listen to that. We should all be trying to get better. I think when you look again at the extremes at which these liberally lead companies are going to I do not think its good. I do not think it’s helpful for our country.
Leahy: You said something important when you describe them as globalists. We’re talking about small businesses. It seems to me that a small business in America is owned and operated and the size of it could be just a couple of $100,000 a year in revenue maybe 10-25 million in revenue that are typically owned by an individual or a family but they are based in America. They are part of America. I look at Apple as an example and it strikes me that their loyalties are not necessarily American. Their loyalties it seems to me are global.
Webb: Global and to the business. The company itself becomes to some of these folks the actual entity that they are loyal too. So therefore yes it is globalists. Rather than their ultimate loyalty being to our country and our own citizens. Look you are right. I’m one of the lucky ones.
I was able to build a company that has employed thousands and thousands of people across the country and several thousand in Tennessee over the course of time. But it’s harder and harder to make that happen today. And one of the reasons I’m trying to be involved politically is I think our country’s future is at stake. Unless we support small businesses. Unless we support the middle class. And unless we support everyday Americans we’re going to have a very different country and very different opportunities for our children and our grandchildren.
Listen to the full third hour here:
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