IBM Criticized for Supporting Bigotry, Opposing Religious Liberty

Free Enterprise Project Questions Tech Giant’s Sponsorship of the Human Rights Campaign

Charleston, S.C./Washington, D.C. IBM executives were unable to defend themselves today when confronted by a conservative activist about the company’s financial support of one of the nation’s leading anti-religious liberty organizations.

In response to a question from Free Enterprise Project (FEP) Director Justin Danhof, Esq., IBM CEO Ginni Rometty could not explain the tech giant’s funding of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), one of the nation’s most active groups working to root out religious freedom through legislation and corporate activism. The exchange came at today’s annual meeting of IBM investors in Charleston, South Carolina.

Justin Danhof

Justin Danhof, Esq.

“IBM investors and clients deserve answers as to why the company supports such an extreme anti-religious agenda. We didn’t get those answers today,” said Danhof. “Left-leaning groups, led by the HRC, have coopted much of corporate America into their opposition of religious freedom laws, decency laws and general freedom of association. We are here to say enough is enough. Religious liberty is one of America’s founding traditions. Why would corporate America stand in the way of that freedom?”

At the meeting, Danhof stated:

IBM is one of the top donors to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). HRC is perhaps the nation’s leading opponent of religious liberty. Right on HRC’s website, on the corporate sponsors page, is a big IBM logo listing the company as an HRC partner. HRC threatens and organizes boycotts when states seek to enact laws protecting the right of people to act according to their faith or to use a bathroom in privacy that matches their DNA. What is IBM’s interest in those activities?

HRC also works to dictate corporate philanthropy away from conservative and Christian organizations. I highly doubt that when shareholders invest their hard-earned money with IBM they anticipate those funds will be used to try and root out Christianity and oppose religious liberty.

Danhof then asked:

We just want to make sure that the company is actually informed about what HRC is doing with IBM’s money. Can you explain to us investors why IBM is funding anti-religious bigotry and opposing freedom of speech? And can you explain how this helps the company’s bottom line?

Danhof’s entire question, as prepared for delivery, can be read here.

“Rometty gave me an entirely incoherent response in the face of my very simple questions. She claimed that the company was a strong defender of religious liberty and freedom of speech, and did not support discrimination of any kind,” noted Danhof. “Those are fine words, but IBM’s actions don’t match that rhetoric.”

Today’s IBM meeting marks the eleventh time FEP has participated in a shareholder meeting in 2019.

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Launched in 2007, the National Center’s Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings – advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers’ rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America.

FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Variety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP’s work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for email updates here. Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.


The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.