Mackey was revising a statement he had made previously in a Wall Street Journal editorial in 2009 that compared Obamacare to socialism. At the time, many liberals in the company’s customer base were displeased, and some boycotted the store in protest.
In the recent interview with NPR to promote his book, Mackey said, “In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.”
On the Whole Foods website he posted:
“I believe that, if the goal is universal health care, our country would be far better served by combining free enterprise capitalism with a strong governmental safety net for our poorest citizens and those with preexisting conditions, helping everyone to be able to buy insurance. This is what Switzerland does and I think we would be much better off copying that system than where we are currently headed in the United States.”
Whole Foods' client base is mostly liberal and progressive; interested in exercising and staying fit, as well as eating right to stay healthy. They have taken to the web to discuss boycotting the store they would otherwise find appealing for carrying a large selection of sustainable, organic, natural and environmentally-friendly products.
The Whole Foods Facebook page was overtaken by angry comments. Underneath one post that asked, "Have you ever seen green beans look so tasty?" with a colorful picture of Szechuan green beans, Facebook user Tracy Collins wrote, "Buy green beans from a local farmer's market. Why line the pockets of this company's CEO?" Another poster, Michael Fiore, wrote "Mmmmm. You know what would look good with those green beens? Affordable health care for all Americans." Facebook user Todd Lister wrote, "Make this work. Be strong. Boycott Whole Foods."
The company's page was so filled with negative comments that company officials responded: "We hear your concerns about our co-CEO's recent comments loud and clear. He offers clarification here in his own words," with a link to a column by him in the Huffington Post.