Posted: 11/16/2004 10:10:31 AM EDT
I sent this to them on election day, and I just got a response.
Dear name removed,
I have received lots of e-mails because of my endorsement of the
Kerry/Edwards ticket. Some of you merely made an inquiry as to whether
it was true. Some of you supported my position. Some of you opposed,
but were polite, and offered well reasoned arguments as why I should not
have done what I did - interesting food for thought.
Far more of you stated very, very emphatically that you were no longer
going to buy LEATHERMAN products and were going to tell family, friends,
co-workers, and everyone else with whom you come in contact to no longer
do so either. Some used unbelievably crude and vulgar language. Some
made accusations, that if proven, would get me executed. At least one
of you stated you hope I'll rot in the place the opposite of heaven.
Most of you, merely because I publicly stated how I was going to vote,
jumped to a lot of unjustified and untrue conclusions about my positions
on the issues.
I did endorse Kerry/Edwards. However, the endorsement was personal. No
corporate money (or personal either, for that matter), was contributed
to any candidate, any party, PAC, or any political entity what-so-ever.
In the endorsement I did include my job title and the company I work
for, and since my name and the company name are the same, many of you
said the endorsement was by the company. Some of you say claiming after
the fact that the endorsement was personal isn't good enough to escape
your wrath. If you were one of them, I don't think anything I can say
will change your mind. If you were not one of them, you'll have to
decide for yourself.
For many of you, gun control was your one and only issue. Some of you
saw Kerry (and still see - I am still getting e-mails written as if the
election had not yet occurred) quite literally as an enemy (or worse)
for one thing and only one thing - because of how you feel he feels
about gun control. One person went so far as to tell me that I am his
enemy because being a friend of his enemy makes me his enemy.
Amazingly, all those people decided to boycott my company and called me
all those names without a single one asking me my position on gun
control. My position is, assuming you are a law abiding citizen and own
weapons that are legal to own, that no one should be able to take your
guns away from you. I own a rifle and shotgun myself.
Some of you have jumped to the conclusion that I don't want hunters and
fishermen (and women) to have access to public lands for hunting and
fishing. That is incorrect. I too am a hunter and fisherman.
Some of you have jumped to the conclusion that I am anti-military. I am
not. I think some wars need to be fought. Some of you think I am anti
Vietnam era veterans. I am not. I have never been in the military, but
I lived in Vietnam for over two years (Aug. '72 - April '75). I am
probably one of the few Americans of my generation to pay his own way to
Just because I said I was going to vote for Kerry didn't mean that I
supported every position Kerry took. And I acknowledge, there were
times when it was tough to figure out what his position was. I did (and
do) believe that some of the things George W. Bush did during his first
term in office were not good for the country. Overall, I felt we needed
a change of leadership, but a majority of the country thought otherwise.
Almost all of you said I have a right to my opinion, but having stated
my opinion, you have a right to try to punish me economically by not
buying LEATHERMAN tools. I agree. You do. With your personal money.
(Not government money. See below.) Some of you were concerned that by
buying LEATHERMAN tools company funds would go to support political
candidates in which you did not believe. I have already assured you
that neither company funds nor personal funds went to any candidate,
party, PAC, or other political entity. It also seems to me you are
being highly selective in only going after those of us who were willing
to stand up and state our opinion and not require someone from every
company from which you buy anything to state a politically correct
opinion or risk a boycott. Also, it seems unfair to me to penalize all
the employees of a company when one of the employees states an opinion
you oppose. Over 300 people work at Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. Many
employees do not share my opinions. U.S. manufacturing jobs are already
disappearing fast enough without taking a hit from those of you who
undoubtedly consider yourselves to be patriotic Americans.
Most of you are worried about encroachments on your rights. I'm worried
too. Some of you say you work for government agencies, and have control
over purchases for your agency, and that you will no longer buy
LEATHERMAN tools because of how I voted. I would think that is illegal.
How would you feel if it comes to the point that individual government
employees make decisions on government purchases or providing government
services based on the public positions you are taking? How would you
feel if a fire fighter refused to come to your home to put out a fire
because he or she didn't like something you said in public?
It seems to me more reasonable to consider whether to buy a product on
the merits of the product itself, not on how one of the employees of the
company said he was going to vote.
I have to admit I was surprised by the outpouring of response. Some of
you pointed out it's Business 101 to not offend your customers. Now
that I am looking back, I agree with you. I guess my problem is that I
never took Business 101. I graduated in Engineering. And I never
realized that merely publicly stating how I was going to vote would
bring such virulent responses. I would have thought that if you didn't
agree with how I was going to vote, but knowing I had already decided,
you would have put your efforts into convincing the undecided to vote
your way, rather than try to convince me to change my mind, but I guess
you didn't see it that way.
I hope I have given enough information so that those of you who still
have open minds can decide how you feel about LEATHERMAN. If not, I'd
be happy to answer any questions you might have.
Leatherman Tool Group, Inc.
P.S. If you are in contact with anyone who e-mailed me, but said I
never responded, ask them to check their spam filters. Some of you have
set your spam filters so high that my response won't go through.
I couldn't force myself to read the entire thing...
What I did read was him trying to explain things away. He is back tracking and trying to save his company.
Would that be called a "flip-flop?" I voted for him, I endorsed him, but even though I listed my company's name it doesn't mean my company endorsed him. Sounds like 'ole Timmy Poo is trying to save his rear.
Lip service blee blah.
"I own a shotgun and a rifle" so I feel your pain.
What a bunch of bullshit.
Either you are for gun rights or your are against.
Support Kerry, and you supported infringement of the those rights.
I always liked Gerbers myself
And the award for the gheyist sounding last name in the vast entirety of human history goes to...
So if folks like Kerry and Fienstein made them all illegal to own I guess he wouldn't have a problem with that?
What a tool. No pun intended.
Anybody else notice that Leatherman has taken advertisements out in most recent issues of certain gun magazines?
Ah, but the defining question is whether it was the John Kerry of the Senate or the John Kerry of the campaign that he supported. After all, they were two totally different people.
The flag waving, pro-gun, pro-military, tax cutting John Kerry of the campaign would have been an attractive candidate except for one thing. He couldn't get rid of the 20 year record of the John Kerry of the Senate.
This dichotomy meant he was either misrepresenting himself or suffering from a multiple personality disorder. Anybody who would support such a candidate has demonstrated questionable judgment.
Can I have all of your used Leathermans?
Seems he is getting a course in Business 101 now....
Dumb shit shouldn't have opened his mouth in the first place.
When you own a company like that, you stay away from public politics.
He is learning a good lesson.
BTW, I have always thought Gerber Multitools were the best on the market anyway.
Selling stuff to the NVA?
Burning paper-mache Nixons (And Fords) in the jungle wid his little buddies?
Does any know Gerber's position on this.
I'll still buy his tools.
Nothing wrong with another person having an opinion.
We are not Russia
ETA: Didn't help kerry get into office did it?
He did not look before he leaped. he is feeling the pinch now. Not only in his sales but also from his employees which are now worried about their jobs - all because he had to open his big mouth.
I think there is a seat for mr leatherman right next to ol' Alec Baldwin at the table of public shun.
I hope he learned his lesson. I think there was a thin attempt at an appology there, but no appology given. Definitely I think he will keep his mouth shut from now on. Hopefully others will do the same.
I do not put political statements on my website because I want all customers to buy from me -whether dem or rep- and I keep my shit to myself. This retard needs to learn that you keep business and personal matters private.
What he did was to use his [power] and his company to endorse a major candidate. Maybe he got brainwashed too. Maybe he thought kerry was going to win. He believed Moore's lies. He got sucked in. Or maybe he is just an asshole.
Not only being there, but also surviving the experience!
sounds to me that leatherman sales have droped and he is worried about his sales taking a larger hit!
after all his personal money comes from his work at leatherman.
Yes there is something wrong. He owns a very large company. He makes a public decision to say who he will vote for in an election. He says that his company money is not paying for his endorsements, but it is our money that goes to him in the form of us buying his product. My money will not go to any company whose leadership is for socialist ideals.
I don't know about you guys, but I'm sold. Great letter. I'm going out this afternoon and buying a new Leatherman.
Well, all except his rifle and shotgun......
Can you say: "Damage Control"?
my Gerber folding blade was made in Taiwan
Gee. You guys are starting to sound...
That would mean that you have values that you hold dear and are unwilling to compromise on.
Oh, the horror!
I take it that comment is a tongue-in-cheek?
There ya go- fixed it.
Bullshit. He put his job title and company there to add weight to his endorsement, and no other reason. Now that he found out he backed the wrong horse, he's backpedalling.
He made his bed. Now he can lie in it.
+1 Gerber multi-tool...
the gerber knife in my pocket says "taiwan"...
If your name is on the building, you are speaking for your company...lesson, hopefully, learned. Keep your mouth shut if you are a buisness owner or a celebrity.
We are more powerful than alot of people apparently realize. Just look what we did to m1sales. They lost millions.
When are celebrities and business owners going to realize that when they use their position of power to influence an election, they stand a good chance of pissing off 50% of the population.
In Leatherman's case he pissed off the people that buy his products. I highy doubt the DUers are using Leatherman's to repair the strap on their Birkenstocks.
you are correct. No matter which side you are on - you are alienating almost 50% of your customer base. A good reason to just keep your friggin mouth shut.
"Blah, blah, blah...... My candidate lost and now I look stupid, lah, blah, blah, blah, my pussy hurts, blah, blah, blah, I disagree with everything Kerry supports but I still endorsed him, blah, blah, blah, I'm a hunter, too, blah, blah, blah, my company is hemmoraging money because of my stupidity blah, blah, blah, I support the troops AND the asshole who was out to screw them also, blah, blah, blah....."
Geez, and I thought listening to KERRY was bad!
Definately tongue in cheek.
It's a communist company run by a bunch of butt pirates. I think I read that somewhere.
I'll continue to by Leatherman. It just sounds more manly than Gerber.
Guy X: What's that in your pocket?
Guy Y: Why, that's a Leatherman, of course
Guy X: Very nice manly device!
Guy X: What's that in your pocket?
Guy Z: It's a Gerber, I think.
Guy X: What!? Are you a communist butt pirate?!?
The opinions and / or views expressed or implied in this message are not necessarily shared by Gunner1X when not sniffing glue.
Think you guys are way overboard on this. If his company was making donations to Kerry or other Democratic causes it would be one thing. But all he did was say which way he was going to vote. I'm not out to punish people for their views, especially in light of the fact that you're not just punishing Tim Leatherman but his entire (US-based) company. I mean, where does this stop?
About the dumbest thing you can do as a business owner is to involve your company in politics.
Even dumber then that is to throw your company into politics and then support the candidate that the vast majority of your buyers do not endorse.
Reap the whirlwind moron......
Nope, nothing wrong with his tools or his free speech, just that you've got to be careful when you make public a political announcement of whom you support, you've to be ready for the consequences. Me? I won't buy anymore of Mr. Leatherman's tools.
It is unfortunate his employees could feel the collateral damage, but that is one of the things you've got to consider.
No, that's not all he did.
Tim Leatherman joined what, a dozen?, other companies and corporate officials, and put his name to an ad that was intended to undermine President George Bush's reelection efforts.
This ad/letter accused the President of willful neglect and intentional harm to the enviroment, and urged that we all vote for sKerry if we wanted an enviroment left.
That's a LOT more than "just saying who you are voting for"
100% on the money. Tim is not a smart man.
I didnt' care as much before I read this total BS response. Now I REALLY dont' want to buy any of his stuff.
For those of you who didn't see it...
Top Business Leaders from the Outdoor Industry Endorse Kerry-Edwards
Tuesday September 14, 2:24 pm ET
The Health of the Great American Outdoors is at Stake
OREGON CITY, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 14, 2004--Senior executives from leading outdoor manufacturers, retailers and associations across the country gathered today to endorse Senator John Kerry for President and Senator John Edwards for Vice President. They announced their endorsement at a press conference with Senator John Edwards at Clackamus Community College in Oregon City, Oregon.
"We have come together to endorse Senators Kerry and Edwards because they share our values and goals," said Lee Fromson, president of Seattle-based Cascade Designs, Inc., a leading manufacturer of outdoor equipment. "And we are here today because the Great American Outdoors is in serious jeopardy and if we fail at protecting the outdoors then our businesses will fail, our health will fail and we will leave future generations with air they can't breathe and water they can't drink."
Remarks by Senator John Edwards and Cascade Design's Lee Fromson carried common themes:
* We must clean up the air we breathe and the water we drink or the health of all Americans will suffer
* We must provide more venues and opportunities for outdoor recreation for the 150 million Americans who actively enjoy outdoor recreation
* We must treasure our national parks for recreation and not the industries that mine them for treasure
* We must lower health care costs to stay in business. This is true for all businesses not just our own.
"Our national parks are severely under-funded resulting in rampant understaffing, site closures, eliminated visitor education programs, neglected cultural and natural resource preservation and unsafe trails," said Peter Bragdon, vice president and general counsel of Columbia Sportswear. "Protecting our parks and open space is essential to the health of my business, the outdoor industry at large and to the many States whose economies depend upon tourism and recreation, not to mention the millions upon millions of Americans who enjoy the Great American Outdoors each year."
"Health care is the hardest decision I have to make each year as a business owner," said Paul Fish, president of Mountain Gear in Spokane, WA. "I want to provide my employees and their families with quality care but the cost of doing so weakens the very business we are trying to build together."
Executives attending today's event included: Lee Fromson, president, Cascade Designs, Inc.(Seattle, WA); Peter Bragden, vice president, general counsel, Columbia Sportswear (Portland, Oregon); Menno Van Wyk, CEO Montrail (Seattle, WA); Paul Fish, president Mountain Gear (Spokane, WA); Carn Nielsen, vice president, Mountain Gear (Spokane, WA); Dan Nordstrom, CEO Outdoor Research (Seattle, WA); Jeff Bowman, vice president, Cascade Designs, Inc. (Seattle, WA); Doug Phillips, president, Metolius Climbing (Bend, OR); Tim Leatherman, president, Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. (Portland, OR); Dunham Gooding, president, American Alpine Institute, Ltd (Bellingham, WA); Brian Bennett, national accounts manager, Patagonia (Ventura, CA)
Outdoor businesses depend on abundant and available recreation opportunities so their customers can enjoy outdoor activities. In return, outdoor businesses employ over a million Americans, contribute $18 billion to the U.S. economy and work closely together to promote an active and healthy lifestyle to the 149 million Americans who enjoy the great American outdoors.
September 14, 2004
Dear Fellow Americans:
We are business leaders in the outdoor industry and we have come together because we can no longer be silent. Outdoor businesses depend on abundant and available recreation opportunities so our customers can enjoy outdoor activities. In return, outdoor businesses employ over a million Americans, contribute $18 billion to the U.S. economy and work together to promote an active and healthy lifestyle to the 149 million Americans who love the great American outdoors.
In our opinion increasing the number of venues for active outdoor recreation, staunchly protecting the environment, bolstering recreation and conservation funding to our public land agencies and reducing health care costs go hand-in-hand. They are essential for the health and well being of the outdoor industry and its customers.
Senators John Kerry and John Edwards share our values and goals. They know that promoting active outdoor recreation promotes good health. They know that proactively protecting and supporting public lands for recreational use means future generations will enjoy them too. They know that improving the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink is not negotiable for any industry or business in America. They know that health care costs will continue to increase unless we are united in reducing obesity in America.
John Kerry and John Edwards are committed to preserving our national parks for the benefit of current and future generations. President Bush has promoted policies that break that commitment and endanger the future sustainability of our national parks. President Bush's policies have severely under-funded our national parks resulting in rampant understaffing, site closures, elimination of visitor education programs and neglected cultural and natural resource preservation, demonstrating indifference towards unsafe trails, unclear facilities and the growing shortage of safety staff.
As importantly, the Bush administration has rolled back basic environmental protections that undermine parks including:
* Rolling back Clean Air Act requirements that ensure visibility and healthy visits to our national parks;
* Eliminating federal protections for our public lands that will allow mining, logging and development in national forests;
* Slashing the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enables the National Park Service to acquire new land and protect and enhance existing parks facilities.
In contrast John Kerry and John Edwards have a plan to protect the scenic landscapes and vistas for the appreciation of future generations through rigorous enforcement of clean air and water regulations and will preserve the resources that embody our cultural heritage through committed funding for parks operations by:
# Increasing the operating budget of the National Park Service by $600 million will put our parks back on the path toward recovery and restoration. We will pay for this important objective by modernizing the sale of mineral rights and using the revenue generated to increase the operating budgets of our national parks.
We know that Senator Kerry is a champion on the environmental issues that are central to our industry and customers. We also believe that Senator Kerry's economic and health care policies will keep our businesses competitive and health care affordable.
Therefore, we the undersigned are proud to endorse Senator Kerry as the next President of the United States.
Lee Fromson, president, Cascade Designs (Seattle, WA)
Peter Bragden, vice president, general counsel, Columbia Sportswear (Portland, Oregon)
Menno Van Wyk, CEO, Montrail (Seattle, WA)
Paul Fish, president, Mountain Gear (Spokane, WA)
Carn Nielsen, vice president, Mountain Gear (Spokane, WA)
Dan Nordstrom, CEO, Outdoor Research (Seattle, WA)
Jeff Bowman, vice president, Cascade Designs (Seattle, WA)
Doug Phillips, president, Metolius Climbing (Bend, OR)
Tim Leatherman, president, Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. (Portland, OR)
Dunham Gooding, president, American Alpine Institute, Ltd (Bellingham, WA)
Larry Harrison, president, Earth Games (San Clemente, CA)
Jim Clark, CEO, Watermark (Arcata, CA)
Steve Barker, CEO, Eagle Creek Travel Gear (San Diego, CA)
Peter Metcalf, CEO, Black Diamond (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Ashley Korenblat, president, Western Spirit Cycling (Moab, Utah)
Mike Wallenfels, vice president, Mountain Hardware (Richmond, CA)
Roody Rasmussen, CEO, Petzl America (Clearfield, UT)
Tony Post, president, Vibram (Concord, MA)
Kelly Stone, director sales and marketing, Werner Paddles (Seattle, WA)
Joe Hyer, president, Alpine Experience (Olympia, WA)
Mike Sullivan, president, Sullivan Agency (Wimberley, TX)
Bob Olsen, president, Peregrine Outfitters (Williston, VT)
Michael Crooke, CEO, Patagonia (Ventura, CA)
Brian Bennett, director national accounts, Patagonia (Ventura, CA)
Adam Forest, managing partner, The Forest Group (Lotus, CA)
Gordon Seabury, president, Horny Toad Activewear (Santa Barbara, CA)
Paul Gagner, vice president, Gregory Mountain Products (Temecula, CA)
Tom Campion, founder and chairman, Zumiez Inc. (Everett, WA)
Malcolm Daly, president, Trango (Boulder, CO)
Rodney Smith, president, American Outdoor Products (Boulder, CO)
Joan Keller, president, Le Travel Store (San Diego, CA)
I disagree. Make any endorsement you want. Just be willing to stand up to the consequences. I'm glad guys like Dillon and Hogden (sp?) take a public pro-gun rights stand. Don't publically endorse a candidate and then whine when people hold you accountable. As someone above said, it's not like someone asked him who he was voting for, and he said, "Kerry." He went out of his way to sign his name, and the name of his company, to an ad criticizing Bush and endorsing Kerry.
A lot of celebrities understand the First Ammendment guarantees "Freedom of Speech," but they also think it guarantees "Freedom from Consequences." It doesn't.
Tim Leatherman = bad + weasels
In his pro-Kerry statement Tim tried to justify his choice by making it sound like his clientel was "outdoor" peole that would also support Kerry since he was "pro-environment/outdoors" . I think he overwhelmingly misjudged the general slant of his clients as he is so painfully realizing now.
I guess it's just not that big of a deal to me, I understand what you are saying,
But he didn't give any corporate money to them, and he sure as hell didn't help kerry win the whitehouse.
I like his tools, (Although truth be told the leatherman I carry right now was free)
and there are others out there.
To each their own.
No, it wasn't overboard at all. Yes, Tim Leatherman is entitled to his opinion and he is certainly entitled to vote as he chooses. But, when he associated his personal opinion with the reputation of his company, he exposed his company to liability. What he did was without a doubt, foolish and ill-conceived given the market that his products are likely to appeal to.
His fire fighter analogy was desperate and pathetic. The firefighter would do his duty because he is responsible, something that Mr. Leatherman should take note of. The firefighter would not confuse his personal feelings with his responsibilities. Mr. Leatherman, on the other hand, was irresponsible to his company and his employees by mixing business with politics when a reasonable person would have (and should have) known that it could cause great harm to the company.
Stick to engineering Tim. Hire a business manager who knows something about public relations....it's obvious that you don't.
Vibram and Columbia too. Goddamn
Cascade Designs (Seattle, WA)
Columbia Sportswear (Portland, Oregon)
Montrail (Seattle, WA)
Mountain Gear (Spokane, WA)
Mountain Gear (Spokane, WA)
Outdoor Research (Seattle, WA)
Cascade Designs (Seattle, WA)
Metolius Climbing (Bend, OR)
Leatherman Tool Group, Inc. (Portland, OR)
American Alpine Institute, Ltd (Bellingham, WA)
Earth Games (San Clemente, CA)
Watermark (Arcata, CA)
Eagle Creek Travel Gear (San Diego, CA)
Black Diamond (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Western Spirit Cycling (Moab, Utah)
Mountain Hardware (Richmond, CA)
Petzl America (Clearfield, UT)
Vibram (Concord, MA)
Werner Paddles (Seattle, WA)
Alpine Experience (Olympia, WA)
Sullivan Agency (Wimberley, TX)
Peregrine Outfitters (Williston, VT)
Patagonia (Ventura, CA)
Patagonia (Ventura, CA)
The Forest Group (Lotus, CA)
Horny Toad Activewear (Santa Barbara, CA)
Gregory Mountain Products (Temecula, CA)
Zumiez Inc. (Everett, WA)
Trango (Boulder, CO)
American Outdoor Products (Boulder, CO)
Le Travel Store (San Diego, CA)
Yep, we're big on the 2nd amendment around here.
First Amendment is okay too as long as the speaker agrees with me.