Shopify powers both sides of Trump debate

Shopify was caught in political crosshairs this week when a petition emerged on SumOfUs.org calling for the Ottawa-based e-commerce giant to stop powering the online store of Breitbart, a pro-Donald Trump publication with close ties to the U.S. president-elect.

“Stop endorsing hate” read the petition with more than 20,000 online signatures, referencing Breitbart’s products including shirts that read “Get in Line” and “Border Wall Construction Co.”

Shopify has been quoted as responding to the criticism by saying that “if a merchant is selling products legally in the jurisdiction in which they are operating, they can use our software.”

While few would accuse Breitbart - which routinely publishes material that's highly critical of other media outlets, Trump's opponents and Muslims - of being balanced, merchants on the other side of the political spectrum are also using Shopify to fight back.

Buzzfeed’s online store just released a collection of shirts reading “failing pile of garbage,” a reference to Trump’s recent press conference in which he lashed out at the news agency for publishing unverified allegations of Russian connections to the president-elect.

Buzzfeed’s online store is, you guessed it, also powered by Shopify.

Those shirts are also, currently, sold out. Buzzfeed’s website says proceeds from the limited-edition shirts benefitted the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Shopify chief operating officer Harley Finkelstein also recently retweeted a positive review from Nasty Women Apparel, a clothing vendor spawned from one of Trump’s comments about rival Hillary Clinton during a presidential debate.

The tweet praised Shopify’s integration with shipping-platform Shyp for making it possible to deliver the tongue-in-cheek shirts prior to the 2016 election.