The 15 biggest controversies in Hobby Lobby’s nearly 50-year history

Hobby Lobby store

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Hobby Lobby is having a particularly scandalous year. 

But even before the arts-and-crafts chain made headlines for endangering employees during the coronavirus outbreak or prompting a boycott over a pro-Trump store display, the company — led by conservative Christian David Green and his family — has long been the subject of controversy.

Since Green first founded Hobby Lobby in Oklahoma in 1972, the billionaire businessman has drawn ire for imbuing his religious beliefs into the company and its 900 stores. Unlike most retail executives, who adhere to a strict separation of church and state policy, Green regularly references God in company memos, including Hobby Lobby’s commitment to “honoring the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles.” 

Over the years, Green and his evangelical leanings have served as the catalyst for a number of disputes, including claims of anti-Semitism, homophobia, and evangelizing in public schools. In its most prominent incident, Hobby Lobby faced widespread scrutiny for its efforts to deny access to contraceptives for employees, culminating in a high-profile and divisive Supreme Court case.

We took a closer look at Hobby Lobby’s scandals over the years, from claims of discrimination and illegally smuggled artifacts to endangering employees during the coronavirus pandemic. 

SEE ALSO: Hobby Lobby is facing new boycott threats over a photo of a store display urging customers to ‘Vote Trump’

May 2011: Feed the Children owners sue the Green family for ousting the non-profit leaders in a “hostile takeover”

In 2011, the founders of Feed the Children, a non-profit organization in Oklahoma, accused the Green family of pushing them out of their own charity, “alleging interference, defamation and civil conspiracy,” according to The Oklahoman. 

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In a lawsuit filed against the Greens, Larry and Frances Jones said the family staged a “hostile takeover” of the organization, and was behind the termination of Larry, who was fired for hiding microphones in the offices of three executives. 

While the Green family attorney told The Oklahoman the suit was “financially motivated and an attempt to tarnish the family’s reputation,” the Jones family attorney said the Hobby Lobby family had aspirations of taking control of what was then the sixth largest charity in the world. 

September 2012: Hobby Lobby files lawsuit against the US government for the right to deny contraceptives to employees

October 2013: Hobby Lobby is slammed with anti-Semitism claims after an employee tells a Jewish customer the store “doesn’t cater to your people.”

In 2013, Hobby Lobby found itself in hot water after news broke of anti-Semitic remarks made by a store employee in New Jersey. According to reports, when a customer inquired if the store sold decor for Jewish holidays, an employee allegedly responded that Hobby Lobby “does not cater to your people.” 

In response, founder and CEO David Green issued a formal apology to the Anti-Defamation League, that the company was “investigating this matter and absolutely [does] not tolerate discrimination.” 

“We sincerely apologize for any employee comments that may have offended …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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