22 May 2023 Discrimination, Misinformation and Decarbonization!
Conservative Shareholder Activists Present Seven Proposals Addressing Corporate/Government Collusion, Debanking of Conservatives, Radical Decarbonization Efforts, Racial Equity Audits and First Amendment Violations
Washington, D.C. – Shareholder activists with the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Free Enterprise Project (FEP) will present proposals at seven shareholder meetings this week – BlackRock, Amazon, McDonald’s, Pinterest, PayPal, Merck and FirstEnergy Corporation.
FEP has a heavy week of shareholder proposals that will cover discriminatory Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policies at BlackRock, Amazon and McDonald’s; Pinterest’s complicity in banning users at the request of government and political campaigns; civil liberties violations and debanking of conservative individuals and organizations at PayPal; Merck’s use of shareholder assets to fund anti-shareholder, globalist organizations like the World Economic Forum and Council on Foreign Relations; and First Energy Corporation’s acceptance of crippling decarbonization demands.
FEP’s proposals at BlackRock (Proposal #5), Amazon (Proposal #14), and McDonald’s Corporation (Proposal #8) would commission audits analyzing the impacts of those companies’ DEI policies on the civil rights of all employees, including those the company does not honor with the label “diverse,” to ensure that they are not contributing to workplace discrimination.
“Many companies – including Amazon, McDonald’s and BlackRock itself – have adopted DEI programs, trainings and officers that seek to establish racial and social ‘equity,'” said FEP Director Scott Shepard. “But in practice, what ‘equity’ really means is the distribution of pay and authority on the basis of race, sex, orientation and ethnicity rather than by merit.”
“Where adopted, such programs have raised significant objections, including the concern that the programs and practices themselves are deeply racist, sexist, otherwise discriminatory and potentially in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Shepard. “And that by devaluing merit, corporations have sacrificed employee competence, morale and productivity on the altar of ‘diversity.'”
“If Larry Fink and these other CEOs want to practice equity, they can do it at home, where it would be legal: they can give away their and their family’s wealth, power and future opportunities,” added Shepard. “Larry Fink managed to amass his great wealth and power because he was permitted to succeed according to his merit. For him to keep the fruits of that freedom and use that wealth and power to deny the same opportunity to other people who look and love like him is contemptible.”
FEP’s proposal at Pinterest (Proposal #5) would require the company to specify its policy in responding to requests to remove, “shadowban,” fail to promote or take other action regarding its content and users by the Executive Office of the President, members of Congress and other political campaigns and entities. This proposal addresses the historic, large-scale encroachment on the First Amendment and censorship of conservatives under the guise of so-called misinformation by requesting a report on all government requests for content removal, censorship, banning, “shadowbanning” and other forms of unconstitutional information warfare by our government and candidates for office.
“Recent news reports have revealed what many individuals already knew: that social media companies have been censoring and suppressing information at the behest of government entities,” said FEP Deputy Director Sarah Rehberg. “The FBI held weekly meetings with Facebook and Twitter in the run-up to the 2020 election. But in the instance of the Hunter Biden laptop story, the FBI falsely labeled derogatory information about Hunter as disinformation, resulting in social media censorship of the story.”
“Revelations of government collusion by Facebook and Twitter make statements by Pinterest regarding the removal of alleged ‘misinformation’ incredibly concerning,” said Rehberg. “Prior to the 2022 midterm elections, Pinterest vowed to ‘remove election-related misinformation’ from its platform. Pinterest also recently announced that it would remove so-called ‘climate-change misinformation.'”
“Engaging in censorship, particularly that which is politically or ideologically motivated, places the company at great reputational, financial and litigation risk,” added Rehberg. “Shareholders deserve to know whether Pinterest has been engaging in censorship activities at the request of government agencies or political parties, so they can mitigate these risks and ensure Pinterest is a platform for everyone – not just those sharing a leftwing political worldview.”
A similar proposal, focused on debanking and viewpoint discrimination, will be presented at PayPal (Proposal #8).
In its proposal at Merck (Proposal #9), FEP asks that the company publish a report analyzing whether it’s congruent with fiduciary duty to use shareholder assets to fund organizations that call for global realignment on anti-capitalist grounds.
“Merck does not list the World Economic Forum, Council on Foreign Relations or Business Roundtable among its partners or as recipients of contributions,” said FEP Associate Ethan Peck. “However, WEF and CFR do list Merck as a partner and BR lists CEO Robert Davis as a member. Why the inconsistency? Why is the Board concealing these partnerships, amongst others, from shareholders?”
“The agendas of those globalist organizations are incongruent with the interests of shareholders and the traditional – and legally binding – definition of a corporation,” said Peck. “None of this aligns with the company’s basic purpose of providing value to shareholders by making and selling health care products.”
FEP’s proposal at FirstEnergy Corporation (Proposal #7) would require the company to create a committee to evaluate the risks and drawbacks of surrendering to radical, politicized decarbonization demands. The proposal underscores how energy companies have put hard-left policy preferences over fiduciary duty and business necessity.
“First Energy has touted its commitment to becoming ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050. It is not conclusive, however, that that’s even possible,” said Peck. “And from publicly available information, it doesn’t appear the company has fully considered this or the risks involved in attempting decarbonization on such a schedule.”
“While such demands are silly and should be ignored outright, attempting to meet them can have serious ramifications,” said Peck. “Propagating climate-catastrophist lies – and acting on them by reducing fossil fuel energy – has real economic, social and political consequences.”
“Attempting to meet carbon-neutral goals raises the price of fossil fuels while subsidizing other unreliable sources of energy,” added Peck. “This has a ripple effect on the entire economy; when the price of energy is high, the price of everything else is too.”
More information about these proposals, as well as other key shareholder meetings and proxy votes for this week, can be found in FEP’s weekly proxy votes newsletter.
The Free Enterprise Project’s new Proxy Navigator Annual Voter Guide can be downloaded here.
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