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PayPal founder: Tech firms need to think carefully about doing business with Indiana

PayPal founder: Tech firms need to think carefully about doing business with Indiana

Max Levchin, the co-founder of PayPal, CEO of Affirm, chairman of Yelp and Glow, and director at Yahoo!, is the latest business leader to speak out against Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The controversial law has prompted a storm of protest, with prominent corporations condemning the passing of legislation that will allow business owners to refuse service to LGBT customers if they feel that doing so brings them into conflict with their religious beliefs.

Speaking to CNBC yesterday, Levchin said: ‘I encourage Paypal’s new CEO and other CEOs in Silicon Valley to evaluate their relationship with the state of Indiana.

‘If local laws and bills say that it is OK to discriminate, you have to make sure that you are protecting your employees and you keep them safe and comfortable.

‘More businesses in America will evaluate their relationship with Indiana and ask the question: How should we feel about this state that does not seem to oppose discrimination strongly and in fact enshrines the right to discriminate in the law?

Asked what feedback he’d had from his employees about his comments, he said, ‘I think I’ve had more ‘hey, thanks for standing up and doing the right thing’ notes from my employee base from every company I’ve been involved in than on any other topic I ever spoke about … people were very appreciative that I spoke up about this.’

In a separate statement to Human Rights Campaign, Levchin also condemned proposed ‘religious freedom’ legislation in Arkansas: ‘Legislation like that passed in Indiana on Thursday and before Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson now aren’t just discriminatory against LGBT Americans and their families – they discourage job growth and stifle economic development.’

‘As I said on Thursday, the Indiana bill is a fundamental step backwards and for any state such as Arkansas that hopes to attract high paying high-tech jobs – I sincerely hope they don’t go down that same dangerous road.

‘I am joining the CEOs of Salesforce, Yelp, Apple, and others in evaluating our relationships with states that have or are considering enacting legislation that permits discrimination against any of our employees or customers.’

Levchin’s comments just a day after Tim Cook of Apple penned an unequivocal op-ed for the Washington Post in which he said ‘religious freedom’ bills were ‘dangerous’ and that ‘discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business.’