CEO of 84 Lumber who created pro-immigration commercial voted for Trump


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.”

[From People]

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.

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.”

[From The NY Times]

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.

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48 Responses to “CEO of 84 Lumber who created pro-immigration commercial voted for Trump”

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  1. grabbyhands says:

    ::headdesk::
    ::headdesk::
    ::headdesk::

    • Birdix says:

      it just means that America is all White Walkers. And this woman is Jon Snow, coming with her child to save us from ourselves.

  2. Shambles says:

    Ah, the flawless logic of a Trump supporter. The wall is great but the wall is bad and you’re welcome here but also you’re not and everyone is taking our jobs but real Americans have to work and it’s a ban but it’s not a ban and that’s YOUR word.

    • DeniseMich says:

      Hmm.flawless logic of Trump supporters and poor leaders. This woman is a bad leader. Her personal wants are in conflict with the needs to make her company sustainable.

      She is a prejudiced woman who doesn’t really respect or believe in the American dream. Sadly, I am sure their head of marketing who really approved this ad will be fired shortly.

    • Birdix says:

      And we need an multi-billion dollar wall so that only those who are willing to give 110 percent to go over or under it, because that never happens now. Maybe it could be televised, like those reality shows where people are doing ridiculous obstacle courses.

    • Belle Epoch says:

      I honestly thought this was an anti-Trump ad, because to me the wall is evil and can’t be interpreted any other way. Plus, OBVIOUSLY nobody can just walk into America – unless you get rid of all the bans and restrictions, so I interpreted this as a post-Trump world where all immigrants are welcome. I’m amazed that her intentions were literally the opposite!

      • Me Three says:

        If you watch the whole ad online you realize it’s pro-Trump in that his schtick during the campaign was that they were going to build a big wall but that it would have a door in it for all the “good” people to come through legally. The end of the ad shows a door that is bathed in light, an allusion to heaven supposedly. I think it’s funnier than hell that the Deplorables are mad at the woman and at the ad.

    • Saks says:

      They are just following his leader, the Schrödinger Cheeto who totally won a clean election but also millions voted illegally…
      Seriously can’t these people see the complete stupidity of their “arguments”?!!!

    • cd says:

      She looks insane and talks insane, but she’s a multimillionaire so logic flies out the window and proceed as usual. So tired of theses people an their self-serving lies. So tired.

      • ichsi says:

        She’s a multimillionaire who will profit greatly from the tax cuts Trump is planning. Hypocritical, soulless pack of disgusting liars. I hope they choke on their money.

  3. ash says:

    sooo wait now THEY are capitalizing on the xenophobia at play….wtf

  4. daisyfly says:

    Cognitive dissonance at its finest.

  5. Jo says:

    I have so many comments on this:

    1. If you are a CEO of a company of course your Superbowl commercial is for personal gain, because you’re looking to promote your company, therefore increasing profits.
    2. If we’re misinterpreting this advert then the advert has been exceptionally poorly executed, as I think that there are very few ways to interpret this.
    3. This whole ‘we’re making America safer’ nonsense has to stop, because the best way to do that would be with significantly tighter gun controls, so kids aren’t shooting in schools, cops aren’t trigger happy and shooting anyone with pockets and there is less access to weapons.
    4. Who is advising this woman? I feel like she’s completely counteracted the expenditure on this ad by coming out with this nonsense statement.

    *Sigh*

    • Lascivious says:

      Exactly. If it were about making Americans safer, they’d focus on gun controls, climate change, and universal health care.
      These people are such luddites. Globalism won’t be stopped by a wall.

  6. MelB says:

    I didn’t like the commercial at all. It was building up to my liberal expectations but then the wall with the door threw me off. I got Trumped.

    • Rhiley says:

      This is exactly how I feel. The message is confusing, and unfortunately, I don’t think many trump supporters will interpret the way the CEO has meant it to be interpreted. They will “illegals,” illegally entering the USA, stealing jobs from hard working white men.

  7. lassie says:

    My husband used to work for 84 about 20 years ago. The bottom line was always profits, definitely not the human factor.

  8. Tanya says:

    Yeah, she just figured out that without immigrants, there’d be no construction, and without construction, she won’t have any customers.

  9. Sam says:

    Okay first of all I don’t believe for one second that they were going to air a 6 minute commercial. What commercial break would it fit in? Secondly I’m confused as to what there is to interpret. The door is not imaginary considering it was opened and the mom and little girl walked through it. This CEO woman sounds like your typical Trump supporter. They contradict themselves all the time and have no clue what they’re talking about. She probably saw her company being boycotted and then wanted to save face.

  10. Marion says:

    I work in the lumber/building materials industry (independents, not big box) and there was a lot of buzz about the ad leading up to it as it was supposed to be about recruiting. The industry is having a hard time finding people and there was hope that there would be the trickle down effect (yeah, know how effective that is). Post Super Bowl, NOONE is talking about wishing for/expecting a bump in applications.

    And FWIW, 84 Lumber has a horrible reputation with employees and has really high turnover. At one time, not sure they still do this, most of their employees were “managers” so they were exempt/salaried, and had them work 60+ hour weeks. Folks I know who worked there said it was great training, and they left as soon as they could.

  11. minx says:

    Well, then, she’s an idiot.

  12. OriginallyBlue says:

    I’m so confused. She’s talking out of both sides of her mouth and telling different stories. Did Kelly Anne prep her?

  13. Josefina says:

    I just find it hilarious these people really are stupid enough to think illegals will stop entering if you put up a wall.

    • Fiorella says:

      Over staying visas (not just from Latin America), via water, tunnels. The wall is a huge waste of money. changing the laws and how they are enforced would be much more effective in a place with huge coastal borders

    • Snowflake says:

      This^ Josephina

      If your life is so rough, you are willing to try to get into a new country, you’ll do whatever you gotta do. Darn wall is not going to make a difference.

    • Lascivious says:

      +1million. But I guess these are the same people who believe that carrying guns prevents gun violence. Sigh.

    • robyn says:

      It’s like some folks think abortions will stop if they make it illegal. Desperate people do desperate things.

    • Saks says:

      Exactly. The wall is so dumb in many leves. There are more Mexicans leaving the USA than entering. The US citizens will be paying for it. And for those who want secure borders should know that a lot of times both, immigrants and drugs enter through legal points (immigrants just stay when their visas expired).

    • Adrien says:

      Yeah, and the walls would be taken down with the change in administration party.

    • Uglyartwork says:

      The cartels can afford planes right?

  14. Anilehcim says:

    I said this in a post yesterday and I’ll say it again… I didn’t find anything about this commercial to be sincere, though I did find it touching. Construction companies notoriously hire illegal immigrant workers specifically so they can work ridiculously long hours, do very dangerous jobs, and drastically under pay them… and it has nothing whatsoever to do with hiring people due to “their will to succeed.” I’m from an area with a very high immigrant (both legal and illegal) population and I’m a nurse, and there are a lot of illegal immigrant construction workers who get dumped at hospitals when they get hurt on the job. Using the word “dumped” is no exaggeration… there have been instances where they literally get rolled out of cars that are pretty much still moving and on more than one occasion they were gravely injured and basically left to die.

    The construction industry is no friend to illegal immigrants. If anything, I actually took this commercial as a gross attempt at trying to attract more of them. Finding out that the CEO is a Trump supporter confirms my suspicion that this commercial wasn’t altruistic, and that they’re only looking for cheap labor.

    • PennyLane says:

      Thank you! When it comes to hiring cheap employees with no rights or protections, Republicans absolutely love undocumented migrants. All the easier to exploit them when they can’t complain to OSHA or the labor board…plus you save a fortune on insurance when you don’t have to pay for worker’s comp.

    • I Choose Me says:

      Just when I think man’s inhumanity to man can’t horrify me anymore but reading there have been instances where they literally get rolled out of cars that are pretty much still moving and on more than one occasion they were gravely injured and basically left to die. has just reduced me to tears and I’m left reflecting on how casual evil often is.

      I don’t know how you cope after witnessing something like that but I wish you continued strength and fortitude. Thank you for the work you do. I know how often care givers go unappreciated.

    • Adrien says:

      Anilehcim, the construction industry is very exploitative. Some contractors intentionally delay the release of the already meager wages of these undocumented workers (making excuses like client didn’t pay, etc) so that the laborers will be forced to accept an even more lesser salary. Better to get something than nothing. I have seen laborers wait till dawn before they get to receive their week’s worth. It is really a sad sight

  15. robyn says:

    Talk about “elites”. Ugh another rich white woman interested in lining her pockets and those of her investors. The heck with women’s rights and those not getting a fair shake in America. The heck with letting a p*ssygrabbing assaulter into the highest office in the land because she can get a tax break. I guess it depends on what side of any wall you feel you’re on as to how you view this ad. It’s not like I don’t want to be safe and don’t believe in borders, fences and walls or doors for that matter. But so-called president Trump’s wall is his largest yet mega billion-dollar con job.

  16. Linn says:

    I certainly feel like I need a great, great wall right now. What else am I supposed to smash my head against after reading this women’t stupid comments.

  17. Chingona says:

    Ugh, this women is horrible. I actually cried yesterday when I saw the clip for the commercial on this website. The problem in this country is people who like her who say immigrants are bad but have no problem exploting them for their gain. They employ people who are forced to work overtime, do dangerous and harmful work without any kind of protection, and are paid way under minimum wage. The people who say that immigrants are stealing American jobs, really, so you are going to pick oranges from sun up to sun down and only earn $40.00 bucks a day( that is how much my husband earned when he got here), you are going to dig ditches in the sweltering heat in Fl without any break and when you dare try to get out to get some water be pushed back in to a the ditch by your boss( this really happened to my husband), you are going to work for a company that you are forced to spray paint a yacht in enclosed tent with no respitory mask because they are to cheap to buy one for their employees so you end up throwing up blood every night(again really happened)!! This is what immigrants deal with everyday and they take it, why because they will do everything they can to make a better life for themselves and their families.

    • Snowflake says:

      Yes, and the people that say, oh, Americans will do those jobs are so full of shit. I’ve lived in a couple tourist areas that used plenty of immigrants for the cheaper cost of labor. So what are businesses going to do when supposedly all these immigrants stop coming in and they have to pay minimum wage? They are not going to lower their profit margin, they will charge more for their product. So i hope all those people who cant wait to get rid of illegals are ready to pay more for their goods and services. The tourist area i lived in used illegals and foreign exchange students in their restaurants, to clean houses rich tourists rented, etc etc. I think either the cost of living will go up dramatically or you will see a lot of automation of jobs that are now performed by people. As in, like panera bread and mcdonalds have screens you can order foid by yourself. These idiots have no idea what they are in for if we get rid of all the illegals. I am so sorry your husband was treated that way.

  18. LinaLamont says:

    F*ck her.

  19. QQ says:

    I don’t even need to be real eloquent here: F*ck this Lady, from the bottom of my heart

  20. PennyLane says:

    Looking at the photo of that woman, I wondered:

    “Why do almost all billionaires have really bad hair?”

    • elle says:

      As someone once said, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly goes clear to the bone.” I think what we’re seeing is people who get the face (and/or hair) that they deserve.

  21. Saks says:

    I liked the clip when I saw it yet something didn’t felt quite right.

    I was thinking of my country and all the stories of immigrations. The horrible statistics of the trip: most women are raped at some point, immigrants are capture by drug cartels, lots of people dying never making into the US…

    But they prefer to endure and risk everything because they are running away from horrible violence (so extreme that you wouldn’t believe the kind of things we read on the news), from hunger and poverty (that hunger that hurts and that poverty that destroys any dream). I remember that time I saw La Bestia in a town near Querétaro and know that many of those people wouldn’t make it.

    Now after reading her comments I can’t help but be very angry. These people have a lot of nerve for spouting such things when they know the US government has a lot to do with the current situation in Mexico and Central America (they pushed the Mexican government into the “war on drugs” and they actively supported the military and neoliberals governments of Central and South America). Plus as many of you have pointed out, they benefit from the immigrants who need a job and will do any job for almost no money.

    Sorry for the long rant.

  22. FF says:

    How is it cognitive dissonance when she’s clearly manipulating popular anti-Trump sentiment to buoy her business despite voting for Trump? That seems like a pretty straightforward deception to make money. Why would she feel ashamed and not try to muddy that move with bizarre falsehoods particularly with a post-truth, alt-fact administration at the helm playbooking such types of moves.

    Don’t bother getting upset just find the means to discern which businesses are being sincere and which are… Actually we would all be better off if all companies were forced into better legal responsibility and accountability, and forced to trickle down profits to the workforce.

    I’m starting to feel like this game of the lesser of two gigantic corporate evils is beside the point when the real problem of rising corporate profits and falling general wages is a bigger longer-term issue for all corporations.

    @Snowflake

    The slow strangulation of the middle class (and arts culture) will eventually force people to accept those jobs. Minimum wages won’t rise. And yes to more automation and self-service. Plus, as you said, everything else will cost more. The 2% will be chill tho.

    Tbh, I’m not sure how any crackdown on corporatism is going to happen with billionaires and their buds sitting in the highest offices in the land using their positions to butress them and their buds business interests. Apparently, with a lot distracting right wing rhetoric and victim-blaming.