Lions Not Sheep, a pro-gun, pro-Trump apparel company, received over $200,000 in fines for falsely claiming its products were American-made. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found the company has removed “Made in China” tags on its clothes and replaced them with “Made in the USA” labels.
According to an FTC press release, “…Lions Not Sheep must stop claiming that products are made in the United States unless they can show that the product’s final assembly … and all significant processing takes place here.” Additionally, the FTC stated that “all or virtually all” materials and components of the product must be made and sourced in the USA.
The FTC ordered the company to stop claiming its products were made in the USA and to disclose “the extent to which the product contains foreign parts, ingredients or components, or processing.”
The FTC launched the investigation when Sean Whalen, owner of Lions Not Sheep, claimed he could conceal where a product was made by removing the sourcing tag and replacing it with a
“Made n the USA” tag, or some iteration thereof.
Per Deseret News, Tags the company used included “Made in the USA,” “Made in America,” “Are your products USA Made” and “100% American Made.” In fact, Lions Not Sheep imported clothing and other apparel from China, removed the “made in China” tag, and claimed manufacturing occurred in the USA.
Under the FTC’s Enforcement Policy Statement on US Origin Claims, guidance is provided on making non-deceptive “Made in the USA” claims. A Made in the USA page on the Agency’s website also provides examples, sample closing letters, and a brochure entitled “Complying with the Made in USA standard.”
In addition to fines, the FTC requires Lions Not Sheep to:
- Cease all bogus Made in USA claims, and,
- Come clean about foreign production
The order is based on the FTC’s made in USA Labeling Rule, which the Agency adopted on August 13, 2021. Violators of the rule may be subject to civil penalties. Civil penalties, in this case, refer to fines levied by the FTC on the offending party.
Under the order, accepted by a 5 – 0 vote and agreed to by Whalen, Lions Not Sheep must disclose the extent that its products contain foreign parts or were manufactured in a country different than the USA.
To make the Made in USA claim, Lions Not Sheep must ensure and be able to prove its products “is last substantially transformed in the United States, its principal assembly takes place in the United States and US assembly operations are Substantial.”
The FTC order will substantially alter how Lions Not Sheep produces its products and proves that its products are mostly USA-made should it continue to make that claim.
The Company is Controversial
The Made in USA finding by the FTC is not the first time Lions Not Sheep has courted controversy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the company produced shirts with the phrase “Give Violence a Chance” and included images of former President Trump as a terminator armed with military-style rifles.
The company is also known for selling merchandise with phrases like “let’s go Brandon,” a slur against the sitting President. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, every purchase of Lions Not Sheep includes a copy of the US Constitution.