One of the more controversial commercials at the Superbowl was for 84 Lumber. It featured an Hispanic mom and her daughter making the treacherous journey to the US and included swelling music, lots of shots of their anguished faces, and a promise of a new life at the end. Only the end of the original commercial, which showed the two at a large border wall, was deemed too controversial for TV and had to be cut. You can watch the entire commercial above. [Spoiler] At the end the mom and daughter find a door built into the enormous border wall, presumably from 84 Lumber, and walk out into the sunny US. There’s text that says “The will to succeed is always welcome here.” (It also shows that the little girl was making a US flag with the scraps she was collecting along the way, I wondered about that.) Deplorables are calling for a boycott of 84 lumber, like they’ve also called for boycotts of AirBnB and Budweiser for daring to tell immigrants and foreigners’ stories n their commercials. In response to this, the CEO of 84 Lumber says she voted for Trump, that she thinks his border wall represents security and that’s what she included it (it actually represents stupidity and wastefulness like most everything else he does) and that the commercial is open to interpretation. What?
Maggie Hardy Magerko, who took over ownership of her family’s $2.86 billion company in 1992, says she is a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and believes that a border wall – which featured prominently in the TV spot – “is a need.”
“We need to keep America safe,” the 51-year-old executive tells PEOPLE. “America needs to be safe so you and I can have the liberty to talk… The wall, I think it represents, to me, security. I like security.”
Hardy Magerko says she personally helped develop the commercial and its striking imagery, but her personal beliefs don’t play into the commercial.
“This came from the heart and I didn’t do it for personal gain,” she says. “It’s not about me or my beliefs or the wall, it’s about individuals… treating people with dignity and respect.”
She adds: “My intent was to show, through the mother and daughter, that through struggles we will do anything we possibly can to make [the world] a better place for our children. If I thought the wall was negative, I wouldn’t have had the wall.”
“There were many interpretations, but the message is in the eyes of the beholder,” adds Hardy Magerko, who took over Pittsburgh-based 84 Lumber from her father, now 94. “So, depending on what struggles and what you’re going through… it’s all in [the viewers’] interpretation.”
Instead, Hardy Magerko says the advertisement, at its core, was meant to attract new, young employees for her growing business and to drum up new customers while “stimulating the housing market.”
“I believe in youth and being contemporary,” she explains. “We need to surround ourselves with people who will continue to build America and build 84 Lumber.”
Is this the “some of my best friends are conservative” argument? Also does she really believe this or is she talking out of both sides of her mouth so as not to 1. lose customers or 2. lose government contracts? (Thanks Kaiser for helping me think of that.) How could anyone believe that this is the American dream and still support Trump? Or are we misinterpreting this ad? Some people are saying that you can read a tacit approval of Trump’s wall into the ad, especially when viewed in its entirety, and that it shows that only the best people can get through.
— Latino Rebels (@latinorebels) February 6, 2017
Magerko has an interview with the NY Times in which she clarified that it’s all about getting the right (read: cheap) employees for her company.
Ms. Magerko, who said she voted for Mr. Trump, said the ad was meant to recruit employees in their 20s “who really believe in American dreams.” She expressed concern about the labor shortage her company is facing. She said she had a welcoming attitude toward certain immigrants, while providing the caveat that she had faith in elected officials to “make the decisions to make us safe.”
“I am all about those people who are willing to fight and go that extra yard to make a difference and then if they have to, you know, climb higher, go under, do whatever it takes to become a citizen. I am all for that 110 percent,” she said. “But do I want cartels? Hell, no.”
So there are wealthy conservatives who are relying on Trump to lower their taxes and lift regulations on their industries all while hoping their cheap labor supply doesn’t dry up as President Gas attempts to bans entire countries from the US. Good luck with that. People like Magerko are going to be insulated from the worst that’s to come but they’re still going to feel the pinch. The deplorables calling for boycotts of this company aren’t smart enough to see that she’s “with” them, all they see is brown people who speak another language and they freak out. There’s no subtlety in Trump’s policies and conservatives who see nuance and compromise aren’t welcome either.