Shopify first pulled MAGA products the day after the Capitol riot, on January 7th. Since then, Shopify, Etsy, and marketplace platforms have pulled MAGA and Donald Trump related products. Shopify argues that those products support violence. Shopify also banned Donald Trump from shopping on its platform.
Millie Ann Lewis, otherwise known as the “Sassy Cowgirl,” is a soap maker in Black Mountain, North Carolina who makes artisan soaps and body products at home as her sole source of income.
Millie Ann’s soaps and body products range from deodorants to lip balms, with her two most popular lines of merchandise being her Back the Blue and Trump lines. Shopify’s censorship of her products, which in this case consist of Trump soap, Back the Blue soap, and Back the Blue chapstick, amounts to ongoing revenue losses for the local artisan, in the name of “safety…” from soap.
Shopify has now banned those products, accounting for more than half of Lewis’s sales. The platform sent Millie Ann an email informing her of the products’ removal.
Now, Millie Ann is relying on her website and social media followers to carry the message that she still has those products for sale.
Lewis is a small town, Southern Christian who makes soap and deodorant in her kitchen, and she just so happens to also make products for people who support the police and buy Donald Trump soap. She’s not inciting riots, and the blatant stifling of her profits is immoral.
Though Millie Ann terms herself as “sassy,” her products are pretty tame. There are Etsy vendors like Sweet Support, who’s “in your face attitude” is far more apparent and have been warned by Esty that un-publishing could occur.
Sweet Support was founded by Jeanie O’Reily, the mother of a US Naval Sailor to show “sweet support” for those in the military. Sweet Support’s products use phrases such as “Come and take it” and “Biden for Prison.”
PatrioticMe was banned from selling ads on Facebook because it sells merchandise with “1776” and the Betsy Ross flag.
Millie Ann’s soaps represent the middle-aged American housewife purchasing innocent products with semi-political amusements. The FBI is trained in determining threat levels of extremists, while Shopify and Etsy aren’t trained in terrorism. Clearly, however, those merchant platforms are delving into censorship…using soap to stifle the voices of 74-million Americans.