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Tech CEO Behind Anti-Trump Ads Has Become a Hero to Donald Haters

He got more than 1,500 texts and 11 hours of voicemail.

  

Yesterday’s New York Times contained a surprisingly blank page A5, taken up only in part by a letter beginning “Dear Donald” and ending with a San Francisco cell-phone number. The letter, a full-page advertisement, says in part, “Your campaign doesn’t just seem wrong. It feels un-American.” It’s signed by Josh Tetrick, who lists no other affiliation besides the 415 number. 

We reached Tetrick—better known as the CEO of food technology company Hampton Creek, aka the Just Mayo folks—to ask what made him take out the ad (it also ran in Sunday’s Cleveland Plain-Dealer). “I’m fortunate enough to have a little bit of a platform,” he says, “and I wanted to say something.”

Tetrick, a moderate Democrat who has supported Republicans and Democrats in the past, is quick to say that his beef with Trump has nothing to do with policy. “You can have policy disagreements, but I draw the line in the sand over basic human decency,” he says. “These are things you don’t need to argue about. They’re not controversial.”

Asked what response he hopes to get, Tetrick says, “I hope this is a wake-up call for Republican leaders,” adding, “I hope all the people who are responding [to the ad] write their own letters.”

When we called the number in the ad, the voicemail was full—though none of the messages were return calls from the Trump camp, Tetrick says. At last count, he’d received more than 1,500 texts and about 11 hours of voicemail. “I had to keep exporting the voicemails so we could keep up with it,” he says. 

“Thank you, Josh, for your bold inarticulate gesture in denouncing the Trump candidacy…” texted someone with a 703 number. Follow-up text: “Oops, that was AND articulate!!”  

The full-page letter-style Times ad is a format Hampton Creek has used in the past to call for an end to “crappy food.” Those letters always carry the Hampton Creek name, but yesterday’s letter did not. 

So is yesterday’s ad just another ad for Hampton Creek? “I could care less if someone buys more pancakes or muffins because they read this ad,” answers Tetrick, who seems unable to resist adding, “It flows from the fundamental values that enabled us to start the company in the first place.” Then: “I didn’t write this letter to sell more dressings at a retailer.”

OK. But whatever he’s not doing, it’s working. The affiliation was not lost on the legion of reporters who blasted out stories like “This tech CEO just bought two Teslas’ worth of full-page ads against Donald Trump.”

Tetrick declines to name the price of placing the ads, but he says they definitely weren’t as pricey as a Tesla. “It’d be much closer to the intro Tesla than the other one,” he allows.

Asked whether he’ll vote for Hillary in November, Tetrick says, “I don’t want to get into my personal voting choices.”

 

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