Levi strauss gun control shannon watts
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At the National Retail Federation’s 2018 convention in New York City, Levi Strauss & Co. Brand President James Curleigh told those assembled that the multinational pants manufacturer intends to be the “most relevant lifestyle brand.” Evidently, part of creating that “lifestyle” includes foisting a doctrinaire set of political beliefs onto its employees and customers.

Last Fall, NRA-ILA informed gun owners that Levi’s (also the maker of Dockers) had declared that it would openly advocate for restricting the right to keep and bear arms. CEO Chip Bergh announced that the company had joined the business wing of billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s gun control conglomerate, Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety.

Further, the company donated $1 million to gun control groups, including Everytown and Giffords. The company’s recent anti-gun advocacy efforts were in line with the firm’s support for a gun control effort in the 1990s that called for “licensing and registration of guns” and a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms.

Continuing on its gun control crusade, on May 9 the company used its “Unzipped” blog to publish an interview and hagiography of Everytown press agent Shannon Watts. According to the post, Watts had visited the pants manufacturer’s San Francisco headquarters to speak to the company’s employees.

shannon watts bloomberg everytown gun control levi's
(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In the blog item, Levi’s does its best to advance the folksy persona Watts has perpetuated of a political neophyte who was spurred to action following the 2012 shooting in Newtown, Conn. The first paragraph of the piece noted,

Before she became the face of one of the nation’s largest grassroots movements to combat gun violence, Shannon Watts had never stepped foot into a statehouse or shown up for a rally.

In the interview portion, the Levi’s employee asked Watts,

What advice do you have for those who want to make an impact on an issue that is important to them, yet aren’t sure how their sole voice can make a difference?

Watts responded,

I think I am living proof that someone who has no experience as an activist can make a difference – I was just a really angry mom of five living in Indiana when I got off the sidelines…

The mislabeling of Bloomberg’s “top—down bureaucracy” as a “grassroots movement” aside, the claim that Watts had never stepped foot in a statehouse prior to 2013 is especially curious. As NRA and others have pointed out, in the mid-1990s Watts was a public relations staffer to Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan.

Watts’s Linkedin page listed that from 1993-1998 she had been a “Public Affairs Officer” who “Worked for the administration of Governor Mel Carnahan, the Missouri House of Representatives, and the Missouri Department of Economic Development.”

Is it likely that a person who held such positions never set foot in the Missouri State Capitol? It is certainly inaccurate to portray a person who worked as a public affairs officer for a governor as a political novice.

The Levi’s piece also conspicuously failed to mention how Watts’s days as a public relations employee for corporations such as General Electric, Bayer, and Monsanto might have helped prepare Watts to sell Bloomberg’s gun control agenda to ill-informed segments of the public.

The perpetual retelling of the dishonest Watts biography is strong evidence that gun control backers see political advantage in portraying the gun controller as a guileless amateur rather than a calculating public relations professional.

Unlike the news outlets that perpetuate the Watts origin myth, Levi’s is under no professional obligation to get the facts right. Still, after the thorough debunking of the Watts fable by the Washington Post, one might have expected the truth to prevail.

Levi’s modern efforts to create a “lifestyle” brand appear at odds with earlier iterations of the company ethos, which stressed a rugged individualism. A former Levi’s slogan read: “Original jeans. Original people.”

There’s nothing individualist or original about conforming to the political edicts of a multinational corporation in league with a septuagenarian billionaire financier and his public relations frontwoman.

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  1. Suggestions for an alternate brand? I like Carhartt shirts but don’t seem to get a bit for from their jeans

      • Well, if you ‘lost a bit’, you might ‘get a good fit’.

        (Something I’m guilty of, actually.)

        I *really* hope they are planning on having that ‘no semi-autos’ graphic on those jeans.

        Because a lawsuit by someone who got shot will claim they thought it meant it would be bullet-proof…

        • Since the topic is “Public Relations” couldn’t we capitalize on the idea “There’s no gun in these pants”?

        • have not bought levis in decades already. They dropped their quality so now they wont hold up to the hard work they used to. They have also hiked up their prices which leaves them as being a cheap fashion piece of junk. Wranglers are still up there in price but they are at least reasonable quality still though not as good as levis used to be 40 years ago.

          As for their horse shit going with the gun controllers well that is just another reason why not to buy that brand, in fact if they were still the best jeans on the market i would not buy them any longer due to that one fact.

        • I too have been buying the bootleg counterfeit knockoffs from those sneaky Canadians eh, for a long time now. I must say too that those funny pants that the Chinks wear are actually quite confy. I always thought that Dickers are for those Homocomifornians.

    • I’ve worn Levi jeans for 45 years; oh well. Fuck them and the indonesian elephant they rode in on…

      Lee, Wrangler, Duluth, Carhartt anything but Levi’s…
      Maybe if 30 million gun owners told them that LS “lost my business” it might make their shit sandwich a bit harder to chew…

      • I used to wear Levis, back in the 80s-90s. It’s been more than twenty years since I bought a pair. They haven’t been made here in the USA for many years. Moreover, they are WAY overpriced compared to the competition.

        Now, I tend to buy Arizonas, or whatever Costco is selling. I don’t want to pay more than about $15 a pair. (I would pay more for quality American made jeans, but they are all crappy imports, so $15 is what I’ll pay).

        I didn’t realize that Dockers were associated with Levi. I do buy them from time to time. I guess Dockers get kicked to the curb now as well.

        • Picked up a couple pairs of well made and excellent fitting Buffalo brand jeans at Costco…..fifteen bucks a pair. Levis…….Levis who? Maybe the should do a tie in with Dick’s Sporting Goods? The advertising campaign would create itself…….

      • My preference is Faded Glory. They fit good and the pockets are cut such that inserting a hand is much easier than other brands. Got rid of my levi’s. Only problem with Faded Glory is they are rather inexpensive!

      • Me too. I also especially like their long tail cool max t shirts. Long tail works well for ccw as well as plumbers crack.

      • Absolutely. I’m a fan of several of Duluth’s products. They can get pricey but at least for the items I’ve bought, the quality is worth it.

    • I wear dickies shorts almost exclusively. They’ve been through hell and still going 10 years later.

      Jeans, American Eagle (not very manly) are extremely comfortable, fit well, and aren’t terribly expensive.

      I’ve had a bad experience with Duluth so I personally can’t recommend them on the customer service part, and the first two times I wore the pants the buttons/snap for the front came off. Supposed to be bomb proof but my first experience was the last.

    • I just wear Rural King’s store brand these days. They sell guns in the store, so I think I’m safe.

      • Oh. And if they’re still making them, Triple Aught Design has a pair of jeans in an extremely comfortable stretch denim with hidden pockets that will fit an AR mag

      • I quit buying Dockers after I bought a pair that were not 100% cotton. Pants just don’t breathe when they have polyester in them. That has been at least ten years ago. All the pants and jeans I have been buying since then have been L.L. Bean. Great customer service, and their jeans last very long.

      • I stopped dealing with L.L.Bean after being a 30 year customer. I carried their credit card but they changed card companies and went with Citibank who has taken a public stand against firearms and the 2A. An original hunting company now partners with an anti-gun credit card company. Never again, L.L.Bean!

        • Levis, Eddie Bauer, Bean, Landsin all went for the urban hipster sissy market 20+ years ago. To hell with the pansies. Once was a customer of all but dropped them 20+ years ago.

      • I have had both the flannel-lined and regular LL Bean jeans. They are very high quality and the customer service is great. The lined jeans fit perfectly for cold weather (a little looser than Levis 505s) and the flannel makes a big difference at low temperatures. The regular unlined jeans don’t fit me as well (tighter around the waist but looser everywhere else, than a similarly sized pair of 505s.)

    • All American Clothing make awesome Made In The USA Jeans with even a gusset. Great fit and All-American, the cotton, the metal, the denim stitched together. Support your fellow Americans and get an awesome product to boot!

  2. Been wearing Cabela’s Roughneck jeans for years now. Don’t last forever but usually about $22 on sale. Bass Pro Redheads are about the same and usually $9 (!) on “Black Friday Sale” but only have 4 belt loops. I quit Levis about 30 years ago when they went Left. Columbia, too.

  3. No prob,,, Levi’s of today are not as good or long lasting as the older models, too bad a American icon falls into the political piss pot.

  4. Someone should make a running list of companies like this not to support. It’s sad that you have to worry about this instead of just trying to buy a decent product.

    • Gillette
      Burger King
      Levi Strauss
      PBS/NPR (duh) … Pretty much any media company
      Dick’s Sporting Goods

      All of the above companies are involved in promoting anti-freedom laws or moral degeneracy (Some on this list are much worse than others). It’s an incomplete list, but it’s growing.

        • Marty Daniel at least attempted to fix his stupidity, so I’ll give him a pass. However, I don’t own his stuff because it’s ugly and far too expensive for what it is.

      • Add Team Wendy to the list. They not only supported and donated to Hillary Clinton, they invited her in for a campaign tour stop.

      • Obviously some of those companies we all know about why we should spend our money someplace else.

        But that’s a long list and I’m not going to stop doing business with a list I don’t know the background on.

        For example, explain why EOTech is on that list?

        • They had an issue with thermal drift for a time. The big problem was they denied it while deployed troops were using them. They did buy back any sight that an individual had bought that I thought was pretty stand up, but to knowingly allow our troops to use defective optics kind of kills it. Sadly, I do use them as an astigmatism caused my Aimpoints to blur. But I console my self with only buying them used.

        • Sorry, can’t ever do business with a company that advertises it allows perverts to go to the same restroom as little girls.

      • Good deal, glad to see so many companies I don’t deal with all gathered in one place. Stopped buying LS stuff about 20 years ago when they first rumbled about firearms… we need 40 million more to step up and MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

    • Most of the gun owning crowd has switched brands as other outdoor focused companies have started marketing jeans at lower prices. Levi’s market is now the woke urban hipster crowd. They aren’t leading the market. They are following it. I think Dick’s did the same thing. Guns and accessories were low to no profit items for them. They probably already made the decision to get out of the market before Parkland.

      My switch from Levi’s has nothing to do politics. About seven years ago I decided to give Wranglers a whirl because they were half the price. I wanted to see how well they held up — they lasted just as long. End of Levi’s for me.

      Boycotting every anti-gun company is a losing battle. The firearms community should focus on one company in the market and break it. The rest will back off.

      • I switched to Wrangler’s as I could get the heavy weight denim that I wanted. Levi’s just didn’t last. Glad I did, now.

        • Ditto. Mine usually start *looking* like they need to be retired before they rip or wear through.

  5. I bought my first pair of Duluth Firehose jeans 7 years ago. Worn every single weekday. I just bought my second pair as the knees of that first pair opened up while on a job last month. Now I have a pair of Firehose shorts to go with my jeans. Levi’s has been the jean of choice for twig boys and poseurs for over 50 years.

    • I bought a regular pair of Duluth jeans awhile back. Nice quality. I haven’t bought any Levis for about 10 years. I definitely won’t now.

  6. They’re pricey, but I really like 5.11’s Defender flex jeans. This from a guy who doesn’t particularly like 5.11, but nobody else makes jeans like theirs.

    • You might consider giving Duluth Trading Company (www.duluthtrading.com) a try. Along with denim, they have stretch denim, firehose canvas, stretch firehose canvas and more. The firehose canvas is some pretty tough stuff. Designed with folks in construction and similar trades in mind, they have gussetted crotches and are typically cut fuller than your standard jeans. That usually applies to shirts too, though they usually have gussetted underarms.

    • Absolutely nothing. I like mine, they’re well priced, and fit well. Can’t complain. I only wish they were made in the US.

      • I love BiMart. I don’t think I’ve bought any jeans there, but have bought just about everything else from them.

    • I wore Levis in my long haired youth, but switched to Wranglers in the early 80’s and never looked back. These days I wear both Wranglers and Rustlers, the Rustlers being just lighter weight Wranglers without a watch pocket and just a bit cooler for summer wear. Neither last as long as I might like, but then I buy them relaxed fit for chump change from WalMart online in bulk when I see them on sale… At $16 or $12 a pair, how long do they have to last? Most make it a couple years… Can Levis come close to those prices? It’s hard to imagine a company that trademarks the names Wrangler and Rustler ever going anti-gun!

  7. Interesting how the apparatchaks go after orgs where the brand has taken over the product.

    The joke used to be that GM was a retirement health plan with some car factories attached.

    These “companies” manage a brand image, provisioned with the occasional product when they have to. Makes them vulnerable to a bad news cycle, twit-storm, product hit piece (fake or real) or smear. So, of course they play along. They don’t even have to be extorted. (Nice company you got there. It would be a shame…) Their whole gig is finding the next folks to suck up to.

    • To each his own but I couldn’t see spending around $200-300 for a pair of jeans. In addition I wear a 36″ inseam and theirs only go to 34″.

      • I feel your pain. The 36″ inseam is tough to find. That is my main complaint about being 6 ‘4″ .

  8. After reading the comments it looks like I’m the only one who switched off Levi because of its anti gun stance. It looks like the gun community left them well before they left us. They probable did a research and realized they really wouldn’t lose anything by becoming a “woke” brand.

    • The world revolves around guns for some people so they make every decision basef on guns, even retroactively. I have two safes full of guns and I carry every day yet my life doesn’t revolve around a hunk of metal, plastic or wood.

      • tdiinva,

        My world does not revolve around firearms. It most certainly does revolve around liberty and personal responsibility. Thus, any company that advocates against liberty and personal responsibility immediately goes onto my “do not patronize” list.

        • Then you are going to quickly be making your own stuff, growing your own food and plowing with a mule.

        • And I might add that there are a lot of people here who think gay rights and legal weed pro Liberty and Levi Straus supports those causes. So it’s sounds likes guns to me.

        • On a non-firearm related topic, I have not set foot in a Target store since they banned the Salvation Army bell ringers years ago.

      • Troll Alert quote!

        The world revolves around guns for some people so they make every decision basef on guns, even retroactively. I have two safes full of guns and I carry every day yet my life doesn’t revolve around a hunk of metal, plastic or wood.

        “Huh huh, you said Wood”

  9. Before I even learned about their political activities I had stopped buying Levis because they had changed the cut of their clothes. I had worn 33W 36L 505s for decades until they lowered the rise about 10 years ago. They called the new “fit” their “Straight Fit” as opposed to their former “Regular Fit”. After numerous complaints they changed the label back but not the fit!

    I had worn their jackets since I was a little kid. They had formerly sized them by chest size with both regular and tall lengths. Now they are sized as Small, Medium, Large etc. Whereas the old 48 Tall fit me perfectly the new XL would leave several inches of wrist exposed.

    Why can’t they just make the products their customers want and keep their controversial political views to themselves?

  10. Levi’s flushed a million bucks down the crapper for the sake of a little trendy moral posturing. And the shareholders said nothing? Shameful.

  11. Levi’s joins Dicks Spirting goods along with the likes of Stalin, Hitler, and Castro to advocate against human rights that protect minorities from those who would prey upon them.

    Another brand I will never again support. The product has become crappy anyways. There are plenty of other places to buy pants. Levi’s has never been less relevant. Levi’s will sacrifice sales in all the Red States thinking New Yorkers will suddenly find them fashionable? LOL!!!

  12. Levi Strauss and Company just lost another life-long customer — along with everyone in my family.

    It will take a major apology and serious grovelling before my family and I return as customers.

  13. I buy jeans at my local thrift stores…Levi sux. Same for Nike. Got a $100 pair for 4 bucks😏

  14. 5.11 Defender Flex jeans are pretty nice. Fit me well. I wish they were US made. I have about a half dozen pairs of 501’s I’m wearing out. I haven’t bought new Levi’s in this century. They went to hell went the production went overseas. They best quality pair I have left are made in Canada.

  15. Whelp… sounds like another company that wants to get woke and go broke. Haven’t worn jeans in decades. It’s either suits, 5.11 tac pants, or sweats. For the price of a pair of hipster jeans I can get a set of pants that actually let me carry the things I need to carry without crushing my balls. Then again, given most hipsters, that’s a feature for them anyway.

  16. Well, I guess I’m the only one here that doesn’t wear jeans.
    When I was younger, only poor kids wore jeans, so that stuck with me. I still think jeans really suck the big one. From what I remember, it was like wearing iron pipes.

    Put me down for never buying Levi Strauss…….The ones I remember were Oshkosh B’Gosh worn mostly by farmers in Wisconsin. Of course, back then, all of them had rifles and handguns.

    However, one good thing about Oshkosh B’Gosh was that they weren’t that easy to penetrate with 22s…

    • Nothing like iron pipes today. I wish….. The jeans now, are too thin. I’m trying to find thick (like the old ones) for my husband and me. The kind that can stop thistles and raspberry canes thorns. The kind you can wipe your dirty muddy gloves on, and not have it soak thru to your skin. I found Union Bay jeans on a sale rack somewhere, and I don’t remember where. They were great.

    • Once you’ve lived in or worked in a hot desert environment items made from cotton usually get traded in for polyester. I quit wearing heavy denim and haven’t touched jeans or cotton tees for almost twenty years. Columbia/Cabela’s ripstop nylon clothing is lighter, cooler, prevents chafing, and can be handwashed and dried in minutes in hot weather. It isn’t cheap, but you can get them under retail and won’t regret it. The only cotton on my body is the underwear.

  17. Just my 2 cents. I’m liking the Vertx Defiance jeans. They stretch, have pre bent knees, have the side hip mag pockets. When I’m not wearing those I wear Vertex Hyde and Delta pants. In general discreet tactical pants have that tactical function and comfort, without being baggy and having cargo pockets that make you stick out of the crowd. Yes they can be pricey, but so is a good flashlight, good knife, a good gun belt, good holster, good defensive ammo, a good gun and good training.

    • Never heard of them. Are they in stores or mail-order? I’m going to try Diamond Gusset Jeans. American made. They have one called Defender Motorcycle. It has 9 belt loops They have ‘abrasion protection’, but can’t guarantee against all road rashes. I thought that was a cool. I don’t ride, but it might be great walking in the blackberries/raspberries and buckthorns. It’s at gusset.com. No, I don’t work there. I can’t even figure out how to give you a clickable link to the site.

      • “They have ‘abrasion protection’, but can’t guarantee against all road rashes. I thought that was a cool. I don’t ride, but it might be great walking in the blackberries/raspberries and buckthorns.”

        You want abrasion resistance?

        Draggin Jeans, Kevlar lined for motorcycle riders :


  18. Another fan of Duluth Trading and their Firehose jeans.

    $50 or so but wear far longer than any other jean I’ve ever tried.

  19. Fuck Levi Strauss and Company… and whatever fucktard implemented this shit!

    It is not a company’s place to get into political discourse. Make a good product, market it effectively, and sell it at a decent profit. That’s IT!

    I never was a big Levi wearer. I’m more a Docker (or Proper) kind of man, but I certainly won’t wear them now… and I’ll be calling out anyone who sports the ‘NoGuns’ symbol as an anti-2nd Amendment pussy.

  20. Not cheaper than Levis, but American made jeans are available from All American Clothing. I’ve even bought dress shirts from ’em. Socks are available made here, as are Tshirts. Many New Balance shoes are still made here and good boots are made here , while not cheap, are easily found. Boxer briefs made in USA seem to be scarce !
    I was not particularly peeved when Levi moved production to Mexico though. It means a couple of ’em stayed home !

    • I have a couple of pairs of All American AA 101s. The basic fit is really good for me except the legs are a little looser than I would like. I had one pair tapered to approximate the fit of Levis 505s and that pair now fits almost perfectly. They also have a watch pocket big enough to comfortably use my great grandfather’s large 19th Century pocket watch. I wish they made them in black.

  21. Please add my name to the Levi Strauss “do not buy list” along with Dick’s and Nike’s !!!

  22. Corporate America is an appendage of the banking cartel. They want you disarmed. It would be easier to name the few corporations that still support gun rights.

  23. When has gun safety and those issues become anti gun. In my feeble little mind these
    folks want no guns, period. Maybe this is an example of how the government schools are teaching people how think. The left doesn’t have a clue or are able to have a complete, conherent thought about anything much less gun safety. Pretty soon they’re going to have us register our yard tools and lawn mowers.
    They need to stick to what they know, making jeans, coffee, cookies razor blades etc.
    Wait till THEY need to defend themselves and see how it goes for them. Thanks for listening.

  24. Levi’s has not hidden their agenda for the last couple of decades. They have embraced it. It is no secret that they have been drinking the Kool-aid. I just refuse to buy anymore products from them.

  25. I wish I could boycott Levi’s, but I have been buying Lee for decades. I think my next pair will be Key or Prison Blues from the farm store.

  26. I can’t remember what year it was when Levi started their anti gunm sht but I haven’t bought a pair of pants from them for years. And is TTAG got some kind of mind reading implants in my brain as I was just thinking of this three days ago. Cowboys wear Wranglers

  27. I’ve been wearing Levi’s for years and they are my favorites but I’ll start looking at some other options.

    On a side note, Shannon ain’t lookin’ to bad here…

  28. when douchebags making canvas pants try to parlay that into left-wing political advocacy, they have jumped the proverbial shark.

    seriously, no one cares what some canvas pants-maker thinks except that they will piss-off half their customer base.

  29. Some brands you fellas mentioned, I have never heard of before? I got off the Levi’s in the 80’s and went to Wrangler, Tommy Hilfinger, Lucky and Dickies, as I be spent a lot of time outdoors working. These brands seem to fit my build best and I like to wear a wide, thicker leather belt for support. As far as where they are on politics, idk? I will say a woman with a nice ass looks good in most any jeans too.
    Sorry, but I went to a buddies family’s kids graduation party last night and seeing all young women in the latest outfits and shorts made me feel young again.
    Nothing like a beautiful n classy dressed woman.
    We may have lost a rib over the deal, but I say well done, the good lord knows what he’s doing.
    I spent most of the even talking to a an old timer that lived in Montana, so we talked elk hunting for quite awhile, good time. Who cares about Levis anymore?
    They don’t want our buisness, they won’t get it.

  30. Does anyone else remember when companies’ were only interested in making and selling products and didn’t want to rule the world? Though it really isn’t surprising, considering Levi Strauss is headquarter in San Francisco. Like most leftie cities on the coasts, the bay area is full of smug jerkoffs who have an unwavering faith in their moral and intellectual superiority.

    • Looks like no more Levi’s for me. I am a God fearing gun toten white man that likes his God, woods an water

  31. Ben Davis, the only “Frisco Jeans” still manuf.
    They have more nearly horizontalfront pocket flaps that don’t lose change or seed “pocket knife bushes” 😉

  32. No idea their politics but I’m only wearing DU/ER jeans now. Coolmax in them so I can tolerate Florida heat. Stretch so an IWB holster isn’t an issue. Anti stink treatment because I’m naturally disgusting (unlike all you who I’m sure smell like roses!).


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