The owner and CEO of 84 Lumber says she’s a staunch supporter of President Trump and his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall despite her company’s controversial Super Bowl ad that depicted the treacherous journey of a migrant family.
Maggie Hardy Magerko said the ad wasn’t meant to take a political position, though many of Mr. Trump’s opponents cheered it’s seemingly pro-immigration message.
“We need to keep America safe,” the 51-year-old executive told People magazine. “America needs to be safe so you and I can have the liberty to talk. … The wall, I think it represents, to me, security. I like security.”
The Super Bowl ad, shot in Mexico, was initially rejected by Fox because its border wall was seen as too controversial. 84 Lumber responded by depicting the wall in a longer commercial published on its website, instead of the 90-second spot that aired Sunday.
In the longer version, a Hispanic mother and daughter make the arduous trip north to the U.S. border, only to be devastated by what appears to be an insurmountable wall. They then find a large door that allows them to enter the country.
“The will to succeed is always welcome here,” the tagline reads.
Mrs. Magerko said she personally helped develop the commercial but said her politics had nothing to do with its message.
“It’s not about me or my beliefs or the wall, it’s about individuals … treating people with dignity and respect,” she said. “My intent was to show, through the mother and daughter, that through struggles we will do anything we possibly can to make [the world] a better place for our children. If I thought the wall was negative, I wouldn’t have had the wall.”
“There were many interpretations, but the message is in the eyes of the beholder,” she added. “At the core, this commercial is about individuals that truly are scared, whatever that might be, whatever their own journey might be.”
Mrs. Magerko, who took over ownership of her father’s $2.86 billion company in 1992, said the ad was meant to attract new, young employees.
“I believe in youth and being contemporary,” she said. “We need to surround ourselves with people who will continue to build America and build 84 Lumber.”
The company explained in tweets Monday afternoon that it supports legal immigration.