A Utah-based apparel company known for its inflammatory T-shirts that often espouse pro-Second Amendment and pro-Trump messaging, has been heavily fined by the Federal Trade Commission for falsely claiming that some of its products were entirely made in the United States.
Lions Not Sheep and its owner Sean Whalen were fined $211,335 last week after the FTC found the company had removed ‘Made in China’ labels, replacing them with fake ‘Made in USA’ labels. “, according to a press release.
This is the latest development after a complaint was filed by the FTC in May.
A reference to the saying “a lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep”, the company has made waves during the pandemic in response to mask mandates and COVID-19 restrictions, with shirts that say “give violence a chance” portray Donald Trump as the Terminator and frequently feature military-style guns.
The company also has a celebrity list that includes mixed martial arts fighter Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Robert J. O’Neill, who claims to be the only Navy SEAL to kill Osama bin Laden, and motorcycle racer Davi Millsaps.
In addition to the fine, the company was ordered to stop making “false” statements in the United States and to “tell the truth about foreign production.”
Lions Not Sheep must now prove that final assembly or processing of the product takes place in the United States “and that all or substantially all of the ingredients or components of the product are manufactured and purchased here” before telling customers that the garments are made in the USA.
“Any qualified Made in the United States claims must include clear and conspicuous disclosure of the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing,” the press release reads.
“Finally, to assert that a product is assembled in the United States, Whalen and Lions Not Sheep shall ensure that it is ultimately processed in the United States, that its primary assembly takes place in the United States, and that assembly operations in the United States are important.
Under its frequently asked questions page, the company’s website explains the “white label” process, where raw materials are often purchased outside the country but assembled in the United States.
It details how the company buys from manufacturers based in China, Colombia and Bangladesh, ships the blank garments to facilities in the United States for printing, embroidery and labeling, then ships the finished product to headquarters. of Lions Not Sheep in Utah.
But according to the FTC’s complaint, Whalen posted a video on social media claiming he could “cover up the fact that his shirts are made in China by ripping out the original tags and replacing them with tags stating that the merchandise was manufactured in the United States”. ”
The complaint states that from May 10 to October 8, 2020, Whalen removed labels showing where the products were made. The company’s shirts had labels reading “Made in the USA”, “Made in America”, “Are your products made in the USA?” “100% AMERICAN MADE” and “BEST (expletive) AMERICAN MADE GEAR ON THE PLANET.”
Lions Not Sheep did not respond to a request for comment.