Publix defender in Lakeland goes viral

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Publix has bowed to pressure from protestors and suspended donations to political candidates.

The store had given money to gubernatorial candidate and Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam, who is a known supporter of the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Survivors of the Parkland shooting called for a boycott and organized a die-in at Publix stores around the state.

But, in Publix's hometown of Lakeland, a defender of the grocery store chain is going viral.

It took 10 minutes for Chrissanne Long to write the 223 words that would be shared by 17,000 people, liked by 10,000, and commented on by 3,700.

"My phone started vibrating, and I started blowing up," Long said.

The Lakeland resident's viral post argues a boycott of the Florida staple would jeopardize hundreds of thousands of jobs and charitable contributions.

"Let's consider what we are saying from an economic standpoint," she said of the plans to boycott Publix. "I was thinking about the idea of what would happen if Publix wasn't in our community."

She runs a digital marketing company for local businesses and says her post shouldn't be taken as pro-gun. 

While donations to pro-NRA Adam Putnam are what fired up Parkland students and others, Long points out that Publix has given $6.5 million to 1,300 candidates in 24 years.

"Show up at the polls if you want someone other than Adam Putnam to become the next governor of Florida," Long said.

Just as the die-ins started at Publix stores around Florida, the company announced it is pausing all donations

It says "We regret that our contributions have led to a divide in our community. We did not intend to put our associates and customers in the middle of a political debate." 

Parkland survivor and activist David Hogg spoke before Publix announced its move.

"We are not here to cause any major major disruption," he said. "We are here to make a statement. I want people to know we are not against Publix employees at all. They employ many people at my school."

Hogg has also challenged Publix to donate a million dollars to the Stoneman-Douglas victims fund and promise to never support a politician with an A-rating from the NRA.

"We have to hold them accountable just like our politicians," Hogg said.

After Publix announced it was reevaluating its donation policy, David Hogg tweeted that the young people will win.

Chrissanne Long says she got so many comments on her post, that she had to turn off notifications on her phone.