As Pride month has drawn to a close, new research has shed a light on those companies who seemed eager to appeal to the LGBTI community by placing rainbows on their products and services.
Supporting anti-LGBTI politicians and Pride
A study from Progressive Shopper identified nine rainbow flag-waving corporations financially supporting homophobic, biphobic and transphobic politicians in the last election cycle.
Nine US companies who launched rainbow items for Pride seem to have donated $1 million or more to anti-LGBTI politicians.
What are the companies that don’t appear to practice what they preach? Home Depot, General Electric, FedEx, UBS, Verizon and Pfizer, with communication conglomerates AT&T, UPS, and Comcast being the ones giving the most.
They all received a perfect score from the Human Rights Campaign in its annual Corporate Equality Index. However, they also supported politicians with anti-LGBTI stances over the last two years.
The companies reply
GSN has reached out to the nine companies involved for comment.
‘The information presented in the Legum report is flawed. We’re proud to support equality in the US and globally,’ a spokesperson for General Electric told GSN.
GE donated $7,500 to Senator Roger Wicker, known for opposing marriage equality in the US. However, he’s not among their top recipients.
UPS also replied with a formal statement.
‘UPS has a longstanding record of supporting diversity and inclusion and it is a core value of UPS culture. As you noted, UPS had obtained a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign Foundations’ Corporate Equality Index, and the designation of being a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality.” UPS also received the prestigious “Best-of-the-Best” designation for 2019 from the National Business Inclusion Consortium, which honors organizations for their commitment to diverse employees and business owners.
‘UPS has also confirmed its commitment through The Business Statement on Transgender Equality, led by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Out Leadership. Through this commitment, UPS is calling for all people to be treated with respect and dignity, and the company opposes any administrative and legislative efforts to erase transgender protections through reinterpretation of existing laws and regulations.
‘UPS conducts business and maintains operations in every state and congressional district. Helping legislators understand private sector issues enables them to better craft policies that create jobs and improve the economy. Few policymakers agree with each other or businesses one-hundred percent of the time, nor do we agree with one-hundred percent of the members’ opinions. Our goal is to discuss legislative priorities that will help achieve and maintain a stable and predictable business environment.
UPS engages in the political process
UPS continued highlighting the importance of their political engagement.
‘One of the tools we use is UPSPAC. It is a political action committee that is made up of voluntary, personal contributions from UPS employees. UPSPAC supports candidates because of their positions on a wide range of issues. Choosing to categorize a company or individual representative of the people on the basis of their position on one issue is a disservice to the official and falsely mischaracterizes the depth of UPS’s careful consideration when supporting a candidate for public office.
‘We also believe it is important for us to be engaged in the political process and to be at the table when these discussions happen. We have been transparent, clear and unwavering in our positions on diversity and inclusion, including bringing the leaders of our LGBTQ Business Resource Groups to Washington DC to meet with Members of Congress on the importance of diversity and inclusion, and we will continue to make our voice and our opinions heard on all issues pertaining to our business, including this one.’
Stop pinkwashing for Pride Month
LGBTI advocacy group All Out has launched a petition addressed to Randall L. Stephenson, David P. Abney, and Brian L. Roberts, the CEOs of AT&T, UPS, and Comcast.
‘Your companies make an effort to show support to the LGBT+ movement,’ reads the petition. It has gained 7,754 signatures so far.
‘But you also donate millions of dollars to members of Congress who received the worst score on HRC’s Congressional Scorecard – and who have a long track record of anti-LGBT+ positions.
‘We urge you to show your true commitment as allies to the LGBT+ movement and to cease your financial support for politicians who try to harm the lives of LGBT+ Americans.’
Director of Supporter Engagement at All Out Sarah Mitchell explained the decision.
‘Waving rainbow flags while supporting some of the biggest enemies of LGBT+ rights is an insidious form of hypocrisy. That’s why we launched a campaign to ask these companies to stop supporting anti-LGBT+ politicians and to prove that they really believe in equality.’
Activist Peter Tatchell also tweeted about the report, urging his followers to sign the petition.