Saturday, April 3, 2021

Corporations Get Political With 'Cancelling' Georgia After State Passes New Voting Rights Legislation (VIDEO)

At the video, Tucker Carlson shreds "woke" corporations who have, really, no business getting involved with "racial" politics in Georgia (or for any other state, frankly), and the only bummer about the video is it doesn't include the Turcker's interview with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who sounds like a stand-up guy, and pledged not to back down to our wannabe corporate dictators (and it ain't just Coca Cola and Delta Airlines, to say nothing, sadly, of Major League Baseball).

Of course, there's "mainstream" news coverage at the Los Angeles Times, "‘There is no middle ground’: Corporate America feels the pressure on voting rights."

And, naturally, the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post, "Companies, facing new expectations, struggle with pressure to take stand on Georgia voting bill":

Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to stay on the sidelines of the nation’s social and political debates after a year of intense protests that led many firms to declare their support for racial justice and opposition to attempts to overturn the presidential election.

On Friday, executives from more than 170 companies -- including Dow, HP and Estee Lauder -- joined the corporate push to protect voting access not only in Georgia but in states across the country, writing in a statement that “our elections are not improved when lawmakers impose barriers that result in longer lines at the polls or that reduce access to secure ballot dropboxes.”

“There are hundreds of bills threatening to make voting more difficult in dozens of states nationwide,” the companies said in the statement, which also included signatures from the CEOs of Target, Salesforce and ViacomCBS. “We call on elected leaders in every state capitol and in Congress to work across the aisle and ensure that every eligible American has the freedom to easily cast their ballot and participate fully in our democracy.”

But as major corporations speaking out about Georgia’s controversial voting law discovered earlier this week, deciding when to step in, how far to go and whether to follow up with actions, can be fraught.

On Fox News Thursday, Gov. Brian Kemp (R) compared early-voting rules in Georgia to other states and defended the measure. “They’re not going to get back on board because they’ve been pressured by their board of directors, who have been pressured by these activists. And there’s nothing I can do about that.”

He also said: “They’ll have to answer to their shareholders. There’s a lot of people that work for them and have done business with them who are very upset,” and said that “We are not going to back down when we have a bill that expands the opportunity for people to vote on the weekends in Georgia.”

After initially mild criticism of the measure, which was signed into law last week, companies scrambled to issue more forceful statements. James Quincey, the CEO of Coca-Cola, described the bill as “wrong” and “a step backward.” Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian offered up an abrupt change in tone, calling the legislation “unacceptable” and contrary to the company’s values.

Those statements won guarded praise from activists — as well as calls for more concrete action. “Delta’s statement finally tells the truth — even if it’s late,” Nsé Ufot, head of the activist group New Georgia Project Action Fund, said in a statement.

But companies have struggled with growing expectations from the public and employees that they take stands on important social issues, forcing corporate leaders into positions on issues they’d probably prefer to avoid, from Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem to the “bathroom bills” that targeted transgender people to President Donald Trump’s statements about voter fraud in the 2020 elections.

Last summer, it was the Black Lives Matter protests, when many companies made clear their support for racial justice.

And now: voting rights.

At a time when public faith in a number of institutions — the presidency, Congress, the electoral process and the media — is faltering, many Americans continue to look at big companies and entrepreneurs with admiration.

“The whole idea of companies getting involved in political issues, it’s all pretty new. They prefer to stay above the fray,” said Bruce Barry, a management professor who teaches business ethics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “But now they are getting religion on these issues, including voting rights.”

For weeks, activists and civil liberties groups had been complaining about the proposed changes to Georgia’s voting laws — long before companies took serious notice. At first, the corporate reaction was mostly muted. The Georgia U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued a statement expressing “concern and opposition.”

But on Wednesday, an open letter from 72 Black executives seemed to open the floodgates. The letter said the new Georgia voting bill would make it “unquestionably” harder for Black voters in particular to vote. The letter also said, “The stakes for our democracy are too high to remain on the sidelines.”

Executives from the companies that made Friday’s statement acknowledged these leaders, saying they “stand in solidarity with voters 一 and with the Black executives and leaders at the helm of this movement.”

“What we have heard from corporations is general statements about their support for voting rights and against voter suppression. But now we’re asking, put those words into action,” Kenneth Chenault, managing director and chairman of venture capital firm General Catalyst and the former CEO of American Express, who helped organize the letter from the Black executives, said in a CNBC interview...