Bill Rixon was outside L.L. Bean on Tuesday – as he has been nearly every day for weeks – protesting L.L. Bean’s partnership with Citibank on the L.L. Bean Mastercard. Luna Soley/The Times Record

Bill Rixon, a retired high school physics teacher, has been protesting outside the L.L. Bean flagship store with a towering “Protect Mother Earth” banner for the past three weeks.

His goal is to encourage the CEO of L.L. Bean to make a “good faith effort” to persuade Citibank – which L.L. Bean partners with for their Bean Bucks Mastercard program – to stop investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure.

An advertisement for the L.L. Bean Mastercard inside the store’s entrance on Main Street. Luna Soley/The Times Record

Rixon stations himself outside L.L. Bean’s executive offices on Casco Street from 8-9 a.m., migrating to the L.L. Bean retail store on Main Street around noon.

Rixon, along with a handful of other retirees who have been joining him, hope their persistence may result in a public statement from L.L Bean’s CEO Stephen Smith asking Citibank to divest itself from new fossil fuel infrastructure.

L.L. Bean – described as a “much-loved company in the entire state” by Molly Schen, one of Rixon’s fellow protesters on Monday – partners with Citibank to offer their trademark “Bean Bucks” Mastercard.

According to a report on fossil fuel investing by global banks, Citibank invested the second-largest amount between 2016 and 2022, topped only by JP Morgan Chase – $332 billion.


“It’s egregious that they’re using Citibank,” Schen said of L.L. Bean.

Jason Sulham, manager of public affairs at L.L. Bean, said “Citibank continues to be a strong business partner that provides numerous benefits to our stakeholders.”

He cited “helping to increase the scale of our environmental initiatives. As such, we believe it is decidedly a net positive for our stakeholders that no current alternative can provide.”

Schen, another retired teacher, works with Third Act, an organization that brings together Americans over 60 to campaign against climate change. Third Act demonstrated outside Citibank’s headquarters in New York this April. Schen said her father worked for Exxon Mobil.

“I feel that my climate activism is an effort to make amends for my father’s work,” Schen said Tuesday.

Rixon said that his experience engaging with customers of L.L. Bean and other passers-by this past month has been “heartening” and “overwhelmingly positive.” He said he’s disappointed that the emails he has sent to L.L. Bean management have received no reply – but he plans to keep demonstrating.

“I’m a Mainer,” Rixon said, “I ice skate and ski – I’ll be out here in January, if that’s what it takes.”

Molly Schen, of South Portland, talks to a couple of L.L. Bean customers about Citibank’s investment in fossil fuels while they pet her dog. Luna Soley/The Times Record

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