Paying Extra for ‘Anti-Woke’ Spite Products Is a Raw Deal
With so many companies going “woke” nowadays, American conservatives are understandably looking to purchase goods and services from brands that reflect their own values. Or, to put a finer point on it, from hucksters who promise that buying alternative products from them is a surefire way to “own the libs.”
It’s not an entirely new phenomenon, and challenging the mainstream market has paid dividends before. Black Rifle Coffee Company, for example, rapidly expanded after pledging in 2017 to hire 10,000 veterans — this being a pointed response to a Starbucks initiative aimed at hiring 10,000 refugees. The pro-gun, pro-military beverage maker is still thousands short of that goal (and has faced some unrelated lawsuits of late), but it’s still a nationally recognized competitor in the space.
However, the brands specifically launched in spiteful opposition to “woke” corporations — unlike Black Rifle, which already existed when it leveraged Starbucks’ announcement to gain viral attention — have a more dubious track record. When transphobes turned on Bud Light last month over an endorsement deal with the ‘Days of Girlhood’ TikTok star Dylan Mulvaney, conservative influencer Seth Weathers announced a rival “Ultra Right” beer, to much fanfare. Yet the high-priced six-packs are supposedly still in production after one brewery backed out of the project. The entire business model, if it ever gets off the ground, could run afoul of interstate shipping laws and licensing problems. (Weathers has promised to refund any orders that may go unfulfilled.)
Arguably the most prominent of these “anti-wokeness” entrepreneurs is Jeremy Boreing, co-founder, co-CEO and self-described “god-king” of conservative media company the Daily Wire. As the brand attempts to battle liberal Hollywood by producing their own films and documentaries, Boreing has shown a keen interest in expanding the retail side of the business.
In March, seeking to capitalize on right-wing outrage over Hershey’s chocolate including a trans woman in their PR campaign for International Women’s Day, Boreing unveiled Jeremy’s Chocolates. The first two milk chocolate bars available were “He/Him” and “She/Her,” the former made with nuts and the latter “nutless.” (Get it? Yeah, it’s that same transphobic joke you’ll see a thousand times a day on Twitter.) The Daily Wire claimed they sold half a million bars within days of launch.
But, as noted by Media Matters, the company struggled with production and shipping delays in the weeks that followed, with some product not out for delivery almost two months later. Those who did receive their pricey candy — at $27.99 for a four-pack, the bars cost as much as $7 apiece before taxes and fees — found the wait wasn’t necessarily worth it. Incomplete orders, melted chocolate, and overall dissatisfaction with quality were common in customer reviews. Of course, many of the Daily Wire‘s loyal subscribers still tried to find a positive spin, and some were satisfied to make a political statement with their spending, arguing that “taste was never the point.”
Anyone nonetheless hoping to make the switch from woke Hershey’s to Jeremy’s Chocolate on a permanent basis is also out of luck, since production is now backed up till the fall. Bars pre-ordered today will maybe arrive in time for Halloween (so you can dunk on socialist trick-or-treaters looking for a free handout), with an “estimated” shipping date of Oct. 15.
Before Boreing went all Willy Wonka, though, he was hawking men’s bathroom products. Last year, in response to Harry’s razors withdrawing their advertising from the Daily Wire because of a “values misalignment” over the site’s anti-LGBTQ content, he came out with Jeremy’s Razors, as well as a line of presumably “non-woke” soaps and shampoos. The commercial pitch showed Boreing turning a flamethrower on boxes marked with the Harry’s and Gillette logos (the other brand had previously drawn criticism on the right for an ad that commented on toxic masculinity).
“Yes, they’re real,” Boreing said of his new razors. “And yes, they’re fabulous.”
While the first statement is undeniable, on that second point, customers strongly disagree. As with the chocolate bars, Boreing and the Daily Wire trumpeted early sales figures, claiming to have locked in 45,000 subscriptions for the razor service in just one week. But harsh reviews — particularly those found on a Facebook page for Jeremy’s Razors — suggest that only a small percentage stuck with it.
“Poor razor quality,” reads the latest feedback on the page. “Reached out to speak to customer service and was basically ignored. Customer service is terrible. Cancelled my subscription and taking my money where I’ll get a decent product and not be ignored when I have questions or need assistance.” Another comment from this month: “Nice handle but again after one shave the blades were dull and made for a painful shave. Cancelled my subscription, sorry guys.” Common complaints addressed the razors’ tendency to painfully drag and tug on skin, and their ineffective moisturizing strip. “Would be better off shaving with a rusty pair of scissors,” quipped a dissatisfied customer earlier this year.
An emphatic post from April reads, “Garbage razors. Destroyed my neck and no refunds. Super expensive garbage. I love the daily wire and would never cancel my subscription but these razors SUCK!!!!!!!” By “subscription,” the customer appeared to reference his DailyWire+ account, not the razor delivery, because he continued: “Don’t support Harry’s but find another trusted razor company. Should be called Jeremy’s rip-off.” Said one more disappointed supporter: “I’ve been shaving for over 20 years and these are probably the worst razors I’ve ever used.” He added, “This is probably only the 2nd or 3rd online review I’ve ever written for a product, but if I can save some other guys from making a poor investment, then I thought it would be worth the time.” This man wasn’t alone in his shock. “I was so excited,” wrote a commenter in March. “Wow absolutely the worst shave of my life. Throwing in the garbage because they don’t back their product and won’t return.”
The few positive reviews, meanwhile, tended to be broad and without detail, focusing instead on the ideology that motivated the purchase. “Great razors for great American people,” for example. “Amazing razors. Birthing persons could probably use them as well,” wrote one satisfied customer. And a third declares: “Just awesome. I love the rise of manly men again.” Likewise, favorable reviews for Jeremy’s Chocolates often mention sticking it to Hershey’s. “Jeremy’s chocolate is better and doesn’t hate your traditional values,” a fan tweeted recently. “Buh bye Hersheeee…say hello to REAL chocolate by Jeremy’s,” read a similar tweet.
The Daily Wire — which did not return a request for comment on their “anti-woke” retail enterprises — has perhaps strategically chosen not to reveal how many are currently subscribed to the razor service, only reporting in their latest update that Jeremy’s Razors have moved 130,000 units (less than three razors per original subscription if the 45,000 estimate was accurate), and that the flamethrower ad has been viewed 22 million times on YouTube. As for the chocolate, it remains to be seen if Boreing’s operation can produce more than a few batches at staggered intervals.
“While the Daily Wire markets their programming and products as a way to ‘own the libs,’ the only people truly getting owned are the customers willing to settle for the Daily Wire’s inferior substitutes,” Media Matters’ LGBTQ program director, Ari Drennen, tells Rolling Stone. “The Daily Wire lures in customers with a universe of products where nobody is gay or trans — starting with razors and chocolate and ending with children’s television programs — but anybody who confuses these products for serious alternatives is likely to find themselves just as disappointed as anybody who confuses their programming for serious news.”
Nevertheless, it’s clear that a certain right-wing demographic is eager to express political views with their wallets, and will put up with a significant degree of inconvenience, premium pricing and disappointment to do so. Players like Boreing have proven adept at exploiting this consumerist strain of “anti-woke” ideology, and with each new furor over some canceled brand, he or another opportunist is bound to step in, brandishing a spite product the masses can buy to prove their allegiance reactionary movement.
Which is all you really need, as a conservative influencer, to profit and claim moral victory over the left. Those crummy razors and melted chocolate bars that your followers spent too much money on and waited weeks to receive? They’re just more junk for the landfill.
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