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SmileDirectClub CEO sends cash directly to Trump
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The CEO of SmileDirectClub – a company that markets itself heavily on social media as diverse and inclusive – has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the reelection of Trump and key Republican Senators.
Screenshot of SmileDirectClub’s Instagram page
According to recent FEC filings, David Katzman, CEO of the popular tele-orthodontic company SmileDirectClub, has donated $100,000 to the Trump Victory Fund and $265,300 to the Republican super PAC Hold The Line 2020.
Established in July 2020, Hold The Line is a joint fundraising committee for Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Steve Daines (R-MT), Ernst Joni (R-IA), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Martha McSally (R-AZ) – all of whom are in tight reelection races this fall. So far, the super PAC has raised $895,000.
The donations, however, are at direct odds with SmileDirectClub’s “commitment to diversity and inclusion.” The brand prides itself on providing affordable orthodontic care to low-income, rural, and disabled communities who may not otherwise be able to access these services. Over the years, this pitch, coupled with heavy social media advertising, has allowed SmileDirectClub to build a cult-like following. (Its Instagram boasts more than 435,000 followers.) The company’s mission to “democratize orthodontics” has even lured NBA player Draymond Green as an investor.
“SmileDirectClub was founded with a ground-breaking idea that changed the dental industry and increased consumer access to affordable, safe and efficacious premium oral care,” said Katzman in a statement.
In 2018, the company pulled its advertising from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight after Carlson said that immigrants make the U.S. “poorer” and “dirtier.” At the time, SmileDirectClub announced that it no longer wanted to run ads “around any political opinions show.”
On June 12, around the peak of Black Lives Matter protests, the company told consumers that it was “listening and learning” and said that it wanted to do its part to “build a world where inclusion, kindness, compassion and decency are experienced by all.”
Four months later, the company's CEO donated $100,000 to Trump.