David Green is the CEO of Hobby Lobby, which is a U.S.-based craft store chain. The company seems to be beloved and loathed by the public in equal measure. Green’s controversies on behalf of the company have ranged from publicly blasting Obamacare due to his religion to allegedly stealing cultural artifacts. Are the scandals the result of Green's misguided opinions or a way to keep Hobby Lobby in the public eye?
What is Hobby Lobby?
David and Barbara Green started Hobby Lobby in 1970. Green was working as a manager at TG&Y, a five-and-dime in Oklahoma, when he decided to start his own business. He borrowed $600 and started assembling and selling miniature picture frames out of his garage. The business picked up quickly. Within the next five years, the couple was able to open a small shop front in Oklahoma City. By 1975, they opened up a second location. Eventually, the tiny business blossomed into a national chain.
Who is Hobby Lobby’s CEO?
Green, an evangelical Christian who comes from a family of preachers, has a strong religious background. Green's religion has caused him to come under fire many times. His Christian faith has impacted his management style as a CEO. The political motivations attached to his faith have caused some issues for Hobby Lobby over the years.
Hobby Lobby makes massive donations to religious groups — nearly half of the company’s total pre-tax earnings. Being guided by faith isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it certainly speaks to Green’s overall agenda, which contributed to most of Hobby Lobby’s bad press in recent years.
What controversies has David Green been involved in?
David Green has never kept his opinion to himself, especially when it comes to his political or religious affiliations. In 2012, he publicly opposed the Affordable Care Act. He was angry about Obamacare’s mandate that employers must include access to the morning-after pill in the healthcare coverage offered to employees.
Green argued that his company should be exempt from that particular portion of the mandate. He said that the mandate infringed on his rights as a Christian. Unfortunately, a U.S. District Judge ruled that since Hobby Lobby isn't a religious organization, it couldn't be exempt from the law based on faith.
What's the Museum of the Bible conspiracy?
In 2017, Green spent $500 million to open up the Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. He hoped that the museum would be a tool to help reinvigorate the Christian faith in the U.S. However, the controversial museum happened to possess 17 fragments of ancient bibles that were reportedly stolen from a British non-profit organization.
Hobby Lobby fought the controversy before finally admitting the truth. Oxford professor Dirk Obbink sold the fragments to the museum after stealing them from the Egypt Exploration Society. The revelation fueled more speculation that the museum possessed other illegally obtained artifacts.
Hobby Lobby and the COVID-19 pandemic
Like many companies who experienced a loss of business due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hobby Lobby was forced to make some hard choices regarding some of its employees. Unlike other companies, Hobby Lobby had been outspoken about the belief that “God was in control” prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The company refused to realize how much the pandemic would impact the economy and the population. As a result, Hobby Lobby wasn't prepared for the massive losses that it has to take.
Many of Hobby Lobby’s outspoken opponents were outraged by how little the company did to protect employees’ jobs and how thoroughly “unChristian” the layoffs seemed. They weren't alone either. Many of Hobby Lobby’s discharged employees were upset that the Green family didn't sacrifice more of their own substantial wealth to help ease the transition.
What is David Green’s net worth?
Despite the many controversies surrounding David Green, he's still worth about $7.6 billion. The 2020 election and continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will likely create more controversy in the coming months. Green may show up in a few more headlines before it’s all over.