Featuring the Work and Ideas of the National Center for Public Policy Research & Project 21
In the second of a series of Daily Signal articles about the National Center’s conservative shareholder activism, Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director Justin Danhof explained the advantage the left has created for itself in the politics of investing. He also showed where conservatives can catch up.
Justin said there are “super easy” ways for conservatives to get involved in the effort to bring businesses back to their free-market roots.
The article focused on FEP’s “True Board Diversity Policy” proposal that was considered this year by shareholders at Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Starbucks, Twitter and other companies. It will also be under consideration at the upcoming meeting of Salesforce investors on June 6.
FEP’s proposal asks companies to consider prospective board members with diverse political beliefs as a positive aspect in the recruitment process. Justin noted:
The stated goal of diversity is a good goal, because you want the board to avoid groupthink. You don’t want everyone marching off the ledge in lockstep. But the way companies go about it is all wrong because they are only looking at gender and race, and that’s sexist and racist. If the companies really support diversity in the truest sense of the word, they would support our proposal.
The FEP proposal is patterned after a proposal the left pushed last year that sought to promote board member recruitment in a manner that valued race and gender. FEP reverse-engineered the language to highlight a person’s mind over their physical characteristics. Justin added:
Just putting people on your board based on skin color or gender instead of their expertise is bad for business. This doesn’t serve the corporate interest… I also added in ideology as something to consider in this day and age when companies are very political and take a lot of political actions.
The article, written by Kevin Mooney, also went into the minutiae of the proposal process and the hurdles conservatives face in getting a proposal before shareholders. Despite the potential for far-reaching change, they are limited to just 500 words and bolstered by a supporting statement that is not much longer. The crafting of a proposal is a legal art, as Justin explained:
There are a number of reasons why a company can kick out your proposal. In fact, most of the time companies will fight like heck to get your proposal removed any way they can. The SEC will also look for reasons. So sometimes we have to make them sound a little more bland than we want.
Then, should a proposal be accepted and added to a company’s proxy statement, there is a struggle for shareholder approval. Proxy advisory services can have immense effect on how investors vote on key issues. And, because they are often far to the left, liberal shareholder activists heartily embrace them and profess their importance. Commenting on one service in particular, Institutional Shareholder Services (whose support for the race and gender diversity proposal led to Amazon accepting it just before their shareholder meeting), Justin said:
Institutional Shareholder Services leans dramatically to the left. But they are the most important proxy advisory service in America. The [Amazon] lawyer said to me that because ISS came out in favor of this diversity proposal based on race and gender, what else were they supposed to do? They felt like they had no choice. That’s how powerful just one proxy advisory service is, and conservatives need to develop their own.
Justin said a right-leaning proxy advisory service is essential over the long term for conservative-liberal parity in the shareholder activism process.
But conservatives can still be effective now, and Justin and FEP welcome new allies:
We need to get more conservatives involved, and what I tell people is to please copycat me and take a look at what we’re doing with the Free Enterprise Project.
If the left can do this, how hard can it be? They know how to push companies. But to file a resolution, all you need is $2,000 [worth] of a stock.
To read this whole article –” Conservative Shareholders Push Facebook to Achieve ‘True Diversity'” — in its entirety, click here.
The Daily Signal is the news service of The Heritage Foundation.
Conservatives are often encouraged to change the culture by becoming more of a part of it. Don’t like what’s on television? Develop conservative shows. Dismayed about the state of modern music? Write and produce your own songs.
The left understands the importance of influencing the culture. And that’s a big reason for the current state of our union. They have noticed that conservatives ARE venturing out more into the arts. So the left is putting up roadblocks to stop conservatives’ progress.
One recent example of the left’s attempt to stifle conservatives in the arts is the stonewalling of Phelim McAleer. A journalist who changed careers to become a filmmaker, he first became known for the 2009 documentary “Not Evil Just Wrong” that rebutted Al Gore’s climate-alarmist “An Inconvenient Truth.”
Last year, McAleer produced “Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer.” The title pretty much says it all. Gosnell was a purveyor of illegal abortions in horrific conditions with no respect for humanity. He is currently in prison for his crimes. This film chronicled the investigation, arrest and subsequent trial.
“Gosnell” had good crowdsourced funding, a seasoned screenwriter and bankable actors. Despite all that, there were efforts to suppress the movie. NPR and Facebook refused to run ads. Hyatt cancelled a screening of the movie in one of their hotels.
He is now trying the stage – and finding more leftist pushback.
In Washington, D.C., he had planned to produce “FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers” at the small Mead Theatre. The play is about Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the philandering FBI agents who ignominiously ended their careers as possible Deep State operatives in an attempt to derail the Trump presidency. It is set to star Dean Cain (of television’s “The Adventures of Lois and Clark” and “Gosnell”) and Kristy Swanson (the original “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” from the movie).
But the play has been sidelined for now after the theater ownership group cancelled the play due to “threats of violence.” The media reported an alleged tweet complaining about the play that read, “lock the doors, and set the theater on fire.”
The theater owners told McAleer: “We have an institutional responsibility to protect the safety of our staff, patrons, rental guests and community. In the best interests of all involved, we must ask that you find another venue for your event.”
But McAleer contended:“This is censorship of facts that they want to keep hidden from the American people, and they are hiding behind ‘safety concerns’ in order to squash diversity of opinions in the theater.”
But the show will go on.
The script for “FBI Lovebirds: Undercovers” will still be read by the cast. It will still be performed by the cast – somewhere. It will be filmed, and the recording will be distributed. What was once set to be performed before 218 seats at the time for a short run will now be seen on the screens of millions of people and enjoyed long into the future.
McAleer succeeds again!
Conservatives ARE successfully engaging in the culture. Phelim McAleer is not the only one. Nina May of Renaissance Women Productions is making films such as “First Lady” and television shows such as “Daily Bread.” Pureflix is making – and now streaming through its own service – family-friendly and faith-oriented films such as “God’s Not Dead” and “Dancer and the Dame” with stars such as Billy Gardell, Kevin Sorbo and Della Reese.
Then there’s the case of Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla. They are putting together a documentary called “No Safe Spaces” about the threat to free speech on campuses and how “what’s happening on college campuses today is the bleeding edge of our cultural decline.” It’s to be released soon, but Facebook has made it harder to promote.
Students at Acton Academy – a charter school in Roseville, California – sought to earn credits toward an entrepreneurship requirement by holding an advance screening of “No Safe Spaces.” When they sought to advertise it on Facebook, however, they were blocked.
Why has Facebook placed a hold on Acton Academy ads for the documentary about free speech? Because the school won’t declare itself a political entity. Since Facebook has allegedly determined the content of the documentary to be related to “issues of national importance,” ad buyers are supposed to declare their political affiliation as a matter of compliance. But Acton Academy is not a political entity. School CEO Matt Beaudreau told The Hollywood Reporter:
They asked me a bunch of personal questions, then said I’d need to identify as a political entity, even though the ad doesn’t mention a party or a politician and takes no political stance whatsoever.
Noting that this makes one of the points of the documentary, Prager added:
Unlike liberals, who always valued and fought to protect free speech, leftists have never valued free speech. And the left controls the avenues of information on the Internet. That’s what this is about.
What to do? The National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) is trying to help.
At Facebook’s May 30 annual meeting of shareholders, an FEP representative raised the Acton Academy issue directly with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg. Appearing uncomfortable having to answer the question about Acton Academy’s problem, Sandberg replied: “There’s no requirement for anyone on Facebook to affiliate with any political party at any time.” She also committed to “take a look” at the school’s issue.
Sandberg and others on the panel clearly did not want to take any follow-up questions about it, but were willing to accept a copy of The Hollywood Reporter article.
FEP had earlier made a presentation at the Facebook meeting regarding a proposal to help politically balance the company’s board of directors. Facebook opposed it, suggesting that any additional steps to keep the company in line are unnecessary. The Acton Academy issue is Facebook executives’ first chance after our proposal to show that they mean that they say.
Facebook can help conservatives contribute to the culture, not suppress it.
With colleges and universities in the midst of graduating their senior classes, many are holding segregated ceremonies.
According to a report by the Washington Examiner, over 75 schools are holding special commencement ceremonies for their black graduates.
Among the schools with separate ceremonies are Ivy League institutions such as Harvard and Yale as well as University of California Berkeley and Arizona State University.
Things like this are why there’s a rise in white nationalism. Race-exclusive clubs, ceremonies, societies and the elitism they bring hurt the true American spirit and create artificial divides in our culture.
Race is purely a sociological construct used to manipulate and divide the public. We are one people. Any other thought, belief, agenda or suggestion otherwise is evil, unscientific, decisive, un-American and wrong.
Earlier this month, someone smashed a hole in the statue of Hall that is outside the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in West Winter Park, Florida. Police are still looking for any information that may help lead to finding the responsible party.
McClendon spoke about the incident and Hall’s reaction to it in a previous blog post.
The artist, who made the statue from casts of Hall back in 2015, returned to repair the statue, strengthen it and give it a new paint to give it a “refreshed look.”
Here is a photo of Hall and Emery from a recent family reunion.
As long ago as 2013, the National Center – through its Free Enterprise Project (FEP) – has been making the point to Disney CEO Robert Iger that Disney’s ESPN sports channel is too political.
At the 2013 shareholder meeting, Iger addressed our concerns about left-wing media bias at ESPN and ABC, conceding that “we have been guilty of making mistakes… we have, at times, either presented the news in… a slightly inaccurate way through mistakes or in ways we weren’t necessarily proud of.” Shareholders cheered FEP’s question.
Yet Iger was less than accommodating in 2017 when FEP raised the ESPN bias issue again. At that point, he called the assertion “completely exaggerated.” But later that year, Iger personally intervened to lessen the punishment for ESPN host Jemele Hill after she called President Donald Trump and his supporters “white supremacists.”
(Project 21, on the other hand, strongly rebuked Hill’s comments.)
Now, James Pitaro, the president of ESPN, has changed the network’s tune – proving FEP right. While he has echoed Iger within the past year, calling claims that ESPN is too political a “false narrative,” he also seems to be guiding on-air personalities away from politics.
Pitaro admitted in a recent interview:
Without question our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics. My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused.
In a commentary published by Western Free Press, Jerome says ESPN seems to have “paid the cost of having an employee of theirs be so outspoken at such a frenzied time.” Assessing the situation, Jerome suggests Pitaro “has learned from the network’s previous mistakes and is bound not to repeat them.”
Noting that politics and sports are not often a winning combination, particularly in an era when there are so many viewing choices for consumers, Jerome writes:
[T]here are certain things that call for a zone of neutrality and inoffensive views being made, and sports commentary is that zone… The problem becomes when a certain view is continuously repeated without the opposing view ever being uttered or given the same amount of time on-air.
Jerome points out that people simply turning off the network appears to have had a profound impact on how ESPN is now dealing with political issues:
[S]ince the viewer has no real power to change television hosts, they can turn the channel off or cancel their subscription to the network. This was the case in previous years for ESPN as they lost a number of devoted followers.
Obviously, when you start losing money, it starts to be a conundrum of how much do you allow your employees (hosts or commentators in ESPN’s case) freedom when it comes to how vocal they can be with their political and social philosophies. As the old aphorism goes: “Money talks!”
To read all of Jerome’s commentary at Western Free Press – “ESPN President Statement Shows That He has Learned Something Valuable” – click here.
While the U.S. Supreme Court chose not to take up a case involving a common sense “abortion control” that prohibited the termination of a baby based on its race, gender or perceived disability, Justice Clarence Thomas made a compelling argument that the Court can’t run from the issue forever.
Members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are praising Justice Thomas for his legal opinion that “abortion is an act rife with the potential for eugenic manipulation” and “we cannot avoid [the issue] forever.”
“Having created the constitutional right to an abortion,” Justice Thomas noted, “this court is dutybound to address its scope.”
One of the 57 recommendations in Project 21’s “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” is a ban on race-specific abortions.
Project 21 member Demetrius Minor lauds Justice Thomas for his defense of the unborn:
Justice Thomas is correct in his assertion that abortion cannot go ignored and unaddressed.
As a nation, we have a moral obligation to uphold a culture of life. To ignore the atrocities that the unborn child faces will forever paint a tainted picture of our country’s principles and values.
With Justice Thomas invoking the issue of eugenics in the abortion conversation, it forces us to evaluate this not just from a moral code of conduct, but the cultural implications that will impact future generations for years to come.
In the case of Box v. Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky, the Court was asked to rule on provisions contained in a 2016 Indiana law designed to rein in extreme abortion practices. The justices ruled without formal oral argument. It overturned the lower court’s decision and allowed the reinstatement of a provision of the law that required aborted remains to be buried or cremated rather than simply thrown away or possibly even sold.
But the Court choose not to take up the provision that required doctors to inform those seeking abortions that, by the law, “Indiana does not allow a fetus to be aborted solely because of the fetus’s race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex or diagnosis or potential diagnosis of the fetus having Down syndrome or any other disability.” Situations that involved “lethal fetal abnormalities” were exempted from the Indiana law.
While Justice Thomas voted with the majority to not take up the case, he did issue a 20-page concurring opinion critical of such practices, in which he wrote:
Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement. In other contexts, the Court has been zealous in vindicating the rights of people even potentially subjected to race, sex and disability discrimination.
So long as the Supreme Court forces a policy of unfettered elective abortion on the entire country, it ought to at least allow for states to protect babies from unjust discrimination.
Justice Thomas cited the fact that Planned Parenthood, the defendant in the case and a leading marketer of abortion in America, has had a series of leaders who professed eugenics – the idea that humanity can be improved through selective breeding. This includes founder Margaret Sanger, who once called black Americans living in New York City in the early 20thcentury “the degenerate and the defective.”
Reacting to the way the American abortion industry’s founders thought of Americans, and to Justice Thomas calling them out for it in his concurrence, Project 21 Co-Chairman Stacy Washington says:
Black women in America represent seven percent of the population but have 37 percent of the abortions. Justice Thomas connects the abortion giant Planned Parenthood and the eugenics movement by way of its founder, Margaret Sanger.
In essence, Justice Thomas makes it clear that abortion may already be the tool of choice for racists in America who seek to limit the black population.
Instead of seeing his opinion as a dodge or missed opportunity, the pro-life movement should read the roadmap laid out before us. Tell the truth about abortion and its primary purveyor – Planned Parenthood. Both exist to exterminate “human weeds”; thus abortion is completely unconstitutional.
Additionally, Justice Thomas reminded the Court that it “threw its prestige behind the eugenics movement in its 1927 decision upholding the constitutionality of Virginia’s forced-sterilization law.” Considering that factor, he added: “Enshrining a constitutional right to an abortion based solely on the race, sex, or disability of an unborn child, as Planned Parenthood advocates, would constitutionalize the views of the 20th-century eugenics movement.”
Project 21 released its “Blueprint for a Better Deal for Black America” in 2018 to “identif[y] key areas for reform… to remove barriers blocking blacks from reaching their full potential and ensuring the American dream is attainable for all.” In its section for “Strengthening Faith-Based Communities,” the Blueprint addresses race-based abortion in a manner similar to the Indiana law about which Justice Thomas wrote his concurrence. The Blueprint specifically recommends “[b]anning abortions performed exclusively on the basis of ethnicity of a fetus.”
Project 21 members have met with staff members at the White House and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to promote the Blueprint and its specific recommendation about prohibiting race-specific abortions.
Project 21 member Donna Jackson, who was one of those who met with the HHS staff, says:
It is only fitting that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has risen to the occasion to discuss abortion, since he and other black Americans have been the primary targets of abortion rights advocates.
I believe he rightly pointed out the racist history of abortion and Planned Parenthood which still exists today. The organization no longer talks explicitly about reducing the numbers of “undesirables,” but the policy remains the same.
We have too readily become the disposable people of the liberal left with 78 percent of abortion clinics being located minority communities. I thank Justice Thomas for raising this important issue.
The Free Enterprise Project’s recent work and vital role in returning businesses to their free-market foundations were covered in a new profile published by The Daily Signal – the news website of The Heritage Foundation.
The article’s publication precedes FEP Director Justin Danhof, Esq. (who also serves as the National Center’s general counsel) speaking about FEP impact at Heritage’s 2019 Resource Bank conference this week in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Written by Kevin Mooney, the article goes into detail about the reasons for, and the results of, FEP appearances at the 2019 shareholder meetings of companies including Bank of America, Johnson & Johnson and AT&T.
Explaining one basic reason why the FEP’s work is necessary, National Center Vice President David W. Almasi says:
Often these days, corporate America has become a muscle and piggy bank for the left. Sometimes executives do this for reasons of public relations, but in most cases, they are not helping consumers or their investors.
We’re the ones yelling stop during these meetings and asking them to think about what they are doing and to ask themselves if they are giving a fiduciary benefit to their investors and customers.
Citing the Johnson & Johnson meeting, David says he “raised the fact that they started a relationship with a group that supports health care rationing” during the question and answer period when shareholders are allowed to question company leaders. He adds:
What I said [to Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky] is that you are part of a group and are giving money to a group that doesn’t want the patient to come first and instead wants a policy of health care rationing.
David is referring to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), which has demanded pharmaceutical companies lower drug prices and has promoted policies that may make lifesaving drugs harder to get for older and sicker patients in the name of cost-effectiveness. This, David says, conflicts with Johnson & Johnson’s celebrated credo, which demands the company abide by a “first responsibility… to the patients, doctors and nurses, to mothers and fathers and all others who use our products and services” and a “final responsibility” to investors and making a return on investment.
In the article, David explains how we may see FEP’s question change Johnson & Johnson policy:
So, essentially this is like setting up an Obamacare death panel in the private sector. We pointed this out to Johnson & Johnson, and we were able to do this by just by owning a couple of shares of stock and going into the room and asking questions. Now Gorsky may reevaluate the company’s relationship with ICER.
ICER responded to The Daily Signal, saying they “don’t determine a drug’s price” and “provide a detailed, public and transparent assessment” for “making critical decisions.” David refuted these assertions during a later presentation against ICER membership at the shareholder meeting of Merck and Co.
Justin also told Signal author Kevin Mooney about the Bank of America shareholder meeting, where he called on the financial giant to “correct the record” about its funding of Planned Parenthood. While Bank of America claimed it had only made donations to the abortion provider through an employee matching-grant program, Justin brought additional information to the meeting showing that additional funding was given to Planned Parenthood for a gala dinner in New York City.
This information was provided by 2ndVote, another conservative consumer/investor-minded organization working with FEP. David says about the relationship:
We’ve had a great partnership with 2ndVote because they’re interested in the same corporate activism we are. They’re doing some great research, and they are going to the grassroots and getting information out there through scores and tweets.
When we went to Bank of America, we went with the information they found. This is a great example of how groups on the right are working together to get information out there.
David stresses the importance of these partnerships and the need for increased conservative activism to keep businesses tied to their free-market roots:
The more active we can be, the more effective we can be. We need more conservatives to be on board.
To read The Daily Signal article – “‘We’re the Ones Yelling Stop’: How These Conservatives are Fighting Corporations’ Liberal Tilt” – in its entirety, click here.
After taking on United Airlines about the awkward way in which the CEO dropped the company’s ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA), I was asked to be on NRATV’s “Cam and Co.” program to explain the situation to viewers who comprise the demographic most affected by the snub.
My attendance at this year’s United shareholder meeting on behalf of the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) was a follow-up to last year’s meeting in which United CEO Oscar Munoz said the decision to break a business relationship with the civil rights group was a “personal” decision.
I explained to host Cam Edwards that Munoz “doubled down” on his decision to make the move on behalf of his employees – in their name – without actually consulting them or his board of directors about it.
I noted to Edwards:
We went this year to say: hey, would you like to possibly change your mind? Would you like to explain why you felt – as CEO – you could make a personal decision [for the entire United workforce]?
But, as I explained, Munoz was very dismissive of my offer:
He didn’t want to answer to the idea that he was virtue-signaling last year and doesn’t want to come clean on that.
Interestingly, the two examples I gave for future potential “personal” decisions Munoz could make on behalf of the United family were:
Coincidentally (or not, since I was at JPMorgan’s meeting the day before), JPMorgan Chase and Co. leaders announced a day after the United meeting that THEY had begun the process of cutting all ties to Purdue Pharma. This was also interesting since JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon assured me at that meeting that they did not “debank” individuals.
When Edwards inquired about Munoz’s reaction to my follow-up, I told him it was “silence.” Munoz’s response was “thank you for your comments – next question.” And that question was obviously not supposed to come from me.
While watching my interview, note the trees outside the window behind me. When the interview started, it was the calm before a very bad rainstorm. Some people in my area lost power. And I was a bit on edge, because I put my puppies outside before the interview started just to keep them from barking. All, however, went well.
Project 21 Co-Chairman Horace Cooper is thankful for the objective testing standards that guided the college application process when he applied to the University of Texas. Because of his scores, he received a full scholarship.
But that same opportunity, for someone to be awarded due to their merits, may soon be disappearing because of a new score being assessed by The College Board, the company that creates, administers and scores the SAT test for college-bound students. It has developed an additional “adversity score” that can be sent to schools along with a student’s test scores.
This score is already being offered to 50 schools, and could be made available to all colleges and universities by 2020.
This adversity score – a 100-point scale in which 50 is considered average – is calculated from family, high school and neighborhood environmental factors in a student’s community – factors including home value, crime rate, single parenthood, median income and free lunch enrollment. Duke University Dean of Undergraduate Admissions Christoph Guttentag said an adversity score would help “understand each applicant’s context a little better” because he thinks the current admissions process is “not a level playing field.”
On the Fox News Channel program “The Ingraham Angle,” Horace agreed with host Laura Ingraham that this could be a “proxy for race-based admissions.” He said “that’s exactly what this is.”
A lot of these lawsuits are getting to the courts, and the courts are making it harder and harder to use race as a proxy.
You come up with this adversity score, and then you don’t tell the student what his score is. And the schools get to decide which portions of it [to use].
What they’re actually getting to do is throw away:
- “Did you perform well in school?”
- “Do you have some aptitude?”
Those kinds of things are what the SAT is supposed to do.
Now if you don’t want an SAT anymore, that’s fine. But what you shouldn’t be allowed to do is have the SAT company work in tandem with the affirmative action crowd.
That’s just giving more advantage to one group over another group.
Leo Terrell, an attorney who often faces off on the show against Horace in what Ingraham calls her “Dynamic Duo,” talked about his family’s adversity and how he valued opportunities that allegedly took his situation into consideration. He asserted that “you gotta give people opportunity.”
Horace, who brought up the gradual rise in education attainment within his own family, said he did not seek to deny anyone opportunity:
It’s not about closing any doors… It’s about making sure that – in America – you’re not judged by your race in deciding if you get educational opportunities.
Polls show that people are overwhelmingly opposed to using race and ethnicity as a factor in college admissions. A poll conducted by Pew Research earlier this year found 73% completely opposed to it, and 19% who thought it should only be a minor factor.
Michael Nietzel, a retired president of Missouri State University, told Fox News that “one must wonder whether adversity scores are primarily an attempt to protect the SAT’s market or to promote social mobility.” He also was critical of the secrecy behind the creation of the adversity score, adding that “[t]he fact that the College Board does not want students to know their adversity scores reflects their own discomfort with the concept.”
The recent scandal over elite families abusing the admissions process through bribes and false applications should only bring more scrutiny to this new “adversity score” tactic.
Watch the entire “Ingraham Angle” segment below.
Asked why Intel would support the Human Rights Campaign in light of the group’s anti-religious bigotry, the tech giant’s leadership said its affiliation is a demonstration of the company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
It’s an odd statement to make considering that the Human Rights Campaign has sought to deny people the ability to act according to their faith and enjoy the privacy of using public bathrooms that match their biology.
That’s neither diverse nor inclusive.
Intel’s leaders – who held a “virtual meeting” today over the Internet in place of a traditional, physical annual meeting of shareholders – answered a truncated version of what Free Enterprise Project Director Justin Danhof, Esq. would like to have said if he was physically addressing the company’s leadership. That full statement and question are available here.
Intel is a HRC Premium Partner, which is the highest level of corporate donor partnership a company can have with the “largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization.” If that’s not enough, Intel also participated in a 2017 legal brief submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that had the support of the HRC. This is the case where the Colorado Civil Rights Commission sought to compel a baker to bake a cake for a gay wedding against his religious values and under threat of fines and imprisonment.
Yet despite supporting this attack on the First Amendment – where the baker prevailed by a 7-2 decision of the justices – Intel CEO Robert H. Swan said that the company supports all forms of free expression. Intel, he repeated in response to FEP’s question and had extolled earlier in the presentation, is “committed to diversity and inclusion.”
Intel’s support of the Human Rights Campaign is “part of that commitment” to diversity and inclusion.
To quote the character Inigo Montoya from the movie “The Princess Bride”: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Intel CEO Swan said: “We support each employee’s freedom of expression, and the context of respect, empathy and tolerance of fellow employees is critical.”
But the Masterpiece case was rooted in intolerance and disrespect toward the baker’s faith. HRC wants workplaces that allow anyone to use any bathroom or locker room “that correspond to his/her full-time gender presentation, regardless of what stage that person is in terms of his/her overall transition process.” Those who disagree are “fear-mongering” and “anti-equality.”
Again – not seeing a lot of inclusiveness here when that diversity includes people with faith and traditional values.
In his prepared statement, Justin said: “We are a free-market organization. We have never called for a boycott or tried to direct a company’s philanthropy. We just want to make sure that the company is actually informed about what HRC is doing with Intel’s money.” He has taken a similar message to the Hyatt hotel chain and to IBM in just the past few days. Last year, companies including Salesforce and Prudential Financial heard a similar message.
While Intel may have been able to dodge the full FEP question and any follow-up through its virtual meeting, it managed to move itself closer to a radical group that seeks to impose its will upon others. While saying they value free expression, Intel leaders have shown today that they are actually helping to destroy it.
Watch the Q&A below.