Human Rights Campaign

Apple, Coca-Cola, Others Ignore Call to Dissociate from Human Rights Campaign

HRC Should Lose Corporate Support After Belittling Cuomo Accuser and Attempting to Destroy Women’s Sports and Religious Liberties, Says Free Enterprise Project

Washington, D.C. – Apple, American Airlines, Coca-Cola, Pfizer and Target failed to justify their continuing “platinum partner” support for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) after the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) brought to their attention how HRC has opposed sexual-assault victims, girls’ and women’s sports and religious liberties.

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard

Scott Shepard, who serves as FEP director at the National Center for Public Policy Research, sent a letter to the CEOs of each of these companies last Monday detailing these accusations and explaining the dangers associated with HRC’s use of the companies’ brands in light of these controversies.

Shepard wrote, in part:

The New York Attorney General issued a report last week finding that [New York Governor Andrew] Cuomo has sexually harassed a significant number of women. An article in The Hill captured [HRC President Alphonso] David’s involvement in this scandal, noting that he had “provided Cuomo aides with a confidential personnel file of a former Cuomo staffer after the staffer publicly accused the governor of harassment.” The article further detailed that David worked with Cuomo’s staff “on other moves meant to disparage accusers.”…

In addition to the organization’s endorsement of “slut-shaming,” HRC uses the [company] brand to promote the Equality Act. That legislation would remove federal protections for Americans of faith and would give the government the power to restrict or eliminate the ability of Americans to practice their religion. The Equality Act would also do tremendous harm to women in numerous settings including scholastic and professional sports.

Shepard called on the CEOs to announce by Friday that they had ended their companies’ support of HRC; and to distance themselves from HRC claims that their companies support all of the Equality Act, which would strip away religious liberties while destroying the ability of girls and women to compete in sports leagues designed for that purpose by mandating the allowance of athletes whose physiques have developed with the assistance of male levels of testosterone.

None of the companies have responded. As the letter warned, FEP has taken this silence as tacit agreement with HRC’s actions and positions.

Today Shepard responded:

Almost everything HRC does and says turns out to be a lie. It claims to stand for equality, but it wishes to subordinate girls’ and women’s sporting hopes for the benefit of a small cadre of people whose athletic prowess was formed with an advantage with which those girls and women cannot compete. That’s not equality.

Neither is it equality for HRC to seek to strip from religious believers the same rights that it demands for the groups that it claims to represent. According to HRC, those groups must be free to express themselves in any way that might occur to them, but religious people should not be free to express their credal convictions or to refrain from expressions that clash with those convictions.

And HRC’s very claim to represent the whole of the gay, lesbian and related communities is itself a lie. HRC supports only hard-left positions, which are not held by huge segments of these groups. In HRC’s own terms, this is a silencing and an erasure of those people, and so HRC adds hypocrisy to its corruption.

But the clearest stamp of corruption has come with HRC President Alphonso David’s assistance in slandering the women who have accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of sexual abuse. Belittling sexual abuse victims is disgusting and vile. And yet instead of showing David the door, HRC has convoked only an “internal investigation” whitewash. That’s HRC’s right, of course, but as shareholders of these companies, we wish to see our assets withdrawn from an organization that behaves as HRC behaves. We’re sad to see that the people who currently run these companies have used our resources in such appalling – and risky – ways.

Justin Danhof

Justin Danhof, Esq.

National Center Executive Vice President Justin Danhof, Esq., who has confronted these CEOs in person at numerous shareholder meetings, said that the alliance between HRC and these corporations is telling.

“Companies such as Apple have been hostile to conservative customers and employees for a long time,” Danhof said. “Now, however, the company’s close ties to HRC reveal that Apple is also openly hostile to Americans of faith, women and victims of sexual harassment. Apple CEO Tim Cook had the chance to do the honorable thing and end the tech giant’s fiscal support of this tainted organization. Instead, he chose to stand by HRC. The board members of every company that funds HRC, including Apple, are hereby on notice that financial support for such bigotry and misogyny is unacceptable.”

To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.

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 is prominently featured in Stephen Soukup’s new book The Dictatorship of Woke Capital: How Political Correctness Captured Big Business (Encounter Books) and 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.

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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.