Did the working man's champion selling out to Walmart?
Reality star Mike Rowe, the former host of the reality TV show "Dirty Jobs," has come under fire for narrating a new Walmart ad. The ad promotes Walmart's pledge to buy $250 billion on American-made goods:
Critics are blasting Rowe on social media for promoting the retail giant saying, "It's hypocrisy. Walmart's products are all made in China. Walmart contributes to those empty factories. What's so 'powerful' about an ad that makes absolutely no sense?"
"I've looked up to you for the longest time, What happened to your support of the underdogs? Sad times Mike," Kevin said on Facebook.
CNN's Erin Burnett spoke to Rowe about the blacklash over him teaming up with Walmart - one of the biggest retailers in America.
Burnett asked Rowe what he would say about this criticism that he no longer supported the "underdogs."
"People find what they look for, right,” Rowe says. “And you can look at "Dirty Jobs" and you can see an honest tribute to hardworking skilled labor. And that is exactly what it was. But it was also a tribute to risk and entrepreneurship and the business. I have never looked at it as selling in or selling out. It is just work. And the idea of it, you can either be on the employee side or the employer side. It is a bad choice. I just don't want to make it."
Rowe went on to say the backlash has less to do with his work philosophy and more about the people he is associated with.
As an example, Rowe said he was recently a guest on HBO’s Bill Maher and Glenn Beck during the same week. He talked about the same subjects on the shows, including manufacturing, skilled labor and college debt, but the takeaway for viewers can sometimes be clouded by whether they like the person he’s doing the interview with rather than his raw point of view. (Those views have largely been the same since he started his foundation in 2008.) These backlashes, he says, "didn’t come from anything anybody said. It just came from who I was talking to."
He says it’s similar to what is happening now with his association with Walmart. "It is hell of a thing when somebody you have been trained not to like, suddenly does something that you actually agree with,” Rowe says. "It is cognitive dissonance and it forces you to look at American manufacturing as separate and apart from really everything."
WATCH BELOW FOR THE FULL INTERVIEW:
Mike Rowe weighs in on income inequality and whether there is a war on the '1%: