“Three days of press, five hours of sleep, four bottles of wine, a speech, a job offer, 5,000 form letters, and a couple of good-natured death threats,” Rowe wrote in the post. “All because of a commercial that I narrated about American manufacturing paid for by Walmart. Press tours are fun!”
In the ad, Walmart promises to spend $250 billion over the next 10 years to create new U.S. manufacturing jobs. Nevertheless, people have called Rowe everything from a “Shill-for-the oppressors” to a “lightning rod for Walmart” for his voiceover.
We were unable to get ahold of Rowe to confirm the death threats, and an email sent to Profoundly Disconnected, Rowe's foundation to promote U.S. manufacturing, was not immediately returned.
But we did reach Walmart, which told HuffPost over the phone Tuesday that the controversy only focused more attention on the issue of U.S. manufacturing.
"Walmart is pleased with the reaction and the increased exposure that our $250 billion commitment to U.S. manufacturing has received through the ad," company spokesperson Brooke Buchanan said.
Critics told The Huffington Post that Walmart should be focusing on improving the conditions of the workers it already employs.
"We maintain that large private companies like Walmart can and should pay their workers enough to make ends meet," Ori Korin, a spokesperson for Jobs With Justice, a labor advocacy group, wrote in an email to HuffPost.
Jobs With Justice is currently encouraging people to write to Rowe asking him to meet with Walmart workers in response to the ad. "Unfortunately, that’s the side of the story that’s left out of the Walmart ads that Mike Rowe narrated," Korin added.
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