Utah company Lions Not Sheep responds to $211K FTC fine
BLUFFDALE, Utah — A Utah company responded Tuesday to a 6-figure fine leveled by the Federal Trade Commission amid allegations the business falsely claimed its clothing is made in America.
According to an FTC enforcement policy statement, the commission will find an advertisement or label deceptive or unlawful if it contains a representation or omission of fact that is likely to mislead consumers acting reasonably under the circumstances.
Regulators ordered Lions Not Sheep to stop making “bogus” Made in USA claims, “come clean about foreign production” and pay the monetary judgment.
Lions Not Sheep’s founder Sean Whalen issued a video statement on the company’s website and on YouTube acknowledging the business was out of compliance for a period of time and taking responsibility for what happened, while blasting regulators for a fine he argued did not fit the circumstances.
“They want to obliterate and nuke any conservative company that they can, but I digress,” Whalen stated in the video. “We were 150 percent in compliance with the FTC until those 6 weeks when we weren’t.”
Whalen chalked up the 6-week period to not being aware of a rule change last year that narrowed Made in USA claims.
“If you’ve bought a shirt from me or my company over the last 2 years, take it off and look at the tag and chances are you have a Next Level or a District tag on here which has ‘Made in Nicaragua’ written right there on the tag,” Whalen added in his new FTC video response. “They changed it to literally all of the garment had to be processed and made here including the seams, including the stitching, including the material here in America.”
He said the change in approach to labels happened under an agreement with another company when Lions Not Sheep started to see greater demand and Whalen didn’t believe the other approach to labeling looked professional.
Starting Monday afternoon, KSL 5 attempted to reach out to Whalen for an interview about the ordeal, but after a series of back-and-forth interactions with company representatives that still had not taken place as of Tuesday evening.
Whalen in a text to a KSL 5 reporter Tuesday night said he would be “game for a chat so long as I know the context of what you’re wanting to report.”
In his video response, Whalen said while he disagreed with the fine he paid it because it was better than the alternative of a lengthy and expensive legal fight against the FTC that could stretch over several years.
“I chose ultimately that I had to sacrifice this battle to win the war and to keep my company going,” Whalen said.
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