Marcus Lemonis should start taking his own advice, quickly.
In an interview last week, the Camping World CEO and star of “The Profit” was asked to comment on business leaders resigning from President Trump’s economic councils in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, VA. He answered:
There’s no doubt that there is probably not many consumers in this country today that are in favor of what has been said in the last couple days — and if they are, frankly, don’t shop at my business.
Multiple news websites covered the interview using this headline: “Major NASCAR Sponsor Asks Fans Who Agree With Donald Trump To Shop Elsewhere.”
You see, Camping World is the exclusive title sponsor of NASCAR’s truck racing series, a partners that is valued at more than $5 million a year. The investment has apparently paid off as the company and NASCAR extended the sponsorship agreement in 2014 after Camping World experienced a 35 percent growth in number of stores and over $3 billion in annual revenue due to the exposure to NASCAR fans.
That notion didn’t sit well with NASCAR legend Mark Martin who tweeted:
First thing in the morning I will be canceling my order for 150,000$ RV I have ordered. Leave politics out of it. https://t.co/B0AUhqXVdh
— Mark Martin (@markmartin) August 20, 2017
It appears the CEO has gone into full damage control mode. Martin, who is scheduled to be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame later this year, has since retracted the tweet saying:
After a call from @marcuslemonis today regret my tweet yesterday. I believe many articles about his statement were misrepresented.
— Mark Martin (@markmartin) August 21, 2017
Lemonis has also posted a video to clarify his statement:
How I feel over the last several days https://t.co/zku9VyP8dV
— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) August 21, 2017
However, some on Twitter did not believe the explanation adequately addressed the controversy:
Hi @marcuslemonis, you condemned “what has been said” in C’ville but won’t say what it was (and who said it).
— Dr. Milton Wolf (@MiltonWolfMD) August 22, 2017
So you basically said what @realDonaldTrump said? That violence & hate from both sides is bad?Now wasn’t that much ado over nada?
— NJ Kingston (@jakeandpooky) August 22, 2017
In terms of what was said, what are you referring to? From accounts, hate speech was from both sides. you’re condemning it from both I hope
— The Mind Optimizer! (@themindoptimize) August 21, 2017
Ironically, the full interview from CNBC’s website includes Lemonis offering advice to other CEOS that he promptly fails to heed. Just seconds before making the controversial statement, he says:
I think the challenge that we have right now, particularly as CEOs, is our job is to be stewards of our business, and we are entitled to a personal opinion and we are entitled to voice that, but we need to be careful and I encourage a lot of these CEOs to be careful in really voicing an opinion that represents their business or their shareholders.
And he’s right; CEOs should indeed “be careful” what they say on political matters. Failing to “be careful” is also the reason Lemonis may need a lot of help removing his foot from his own mouth if he ever remembers this tweet from 2016:
There is no place for politics/any political endorsements in any business. Your customers and employees should have their own mind. #period
— Marcus Lemonis (@marcuslemonis) March 1, 2016