These pro-LGBTQ companies are also supporting anti-LGBTQ lawmakers
A group has accused some pro-LGBTQ companies that tout support for gay rights but are also supporting anti-LGBTQ legislators through corporate donations.
The organization Corporate Accountability Action has launched a campaign against a number of corporations that support these lawmakers in Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi and Tennessee.
The group accused five corporations: telecoms giant AT&T, automaker General Motors, beverage company Coca-Cola, beer maker Anheuser-Busch, and media conglomerate NBCUniversal.
They based their accusation on data on corporate donations gathered by the National Institute on Money in Politics.
Pro-LGBTQ companies to be doubtful of
Complete with rainbow banners and badges on their social media pages, AT&T has claimed they “have a moral and business obligation to engage on the fundamental issues of equality and fairness.”
However, they also gave at least 327 donations totaling US$204,350 to 133 anti-LGBTQ legislators.
General Motors says they are the “first automaker to run an LGBTQ-specific ad,” but they’ve also given 63 donations totaling US$51,000 to 35 anti-LGBTQ legislators.
Meanwhile, Coca-Cola says they are doing everything “from supporting LGBTQI pride parades to running rainbow-colored billboards” but they’ve also given 28 donations totaling US$9,550 to 23 anti-LGBTQ legislators.
Coca-Cola has said these donations happened before they “updated our political contributions criteria” in 2020.
They also declared that “candidates will not be eligible for a political contribution from The Coca-Cola Company or the Coca-Cola PAC if they have made egregious remarks” on topics that include the “LGBT community.”
Lip service of pro-LGBTQ companies to gay rights
Another corporation cited was Anheuser-Busch, who wants to promote “inclusion and diversity across our business and supporting the communities we stand by whether through impactful partnerships or empowering our teams.”
However, they gave 48 donations totaling US$35,350 to 29 anti-LGBTQ legislators.
And lastly, NBCUniversal– despite showing queer content on their platforms and channels on Pride Month– gave 16 donations totaling US$24,000 to 11 anti-LGBTQ legislators.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said these companies offer lip service for gay rights but also supported then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who recently blocked the Equality Act at the Senate.
“AT&T donated $56,295 to Mitch McConnell’s 2020 campaign– while he was actively blocking the Equality Act. But what a great Pride Twitter banner,” Jayapal tweeted.
She likewise called out American Airlines for giving US$46,617 to Mitchell’s campaign, as well as defense contractor Raytheon for giving US$18,500.
Furthermore, she said Walmart gave US$150,000 to Mitchell and other GOP senators.
Need for accountability with corporations
The global organization Corporate Accountability Action launched their campaign, “Keep Your Pride,” targeting the five companies to question how they promote their brand using Pride Month messaging.
They noted that the lawmakers these companies gave donations to hundreds of anti-LGBTQ lawmakers who supported discriminatory, anti-trans legislation.
Aside from Coca-Cola, none of the four corporations had replied to comment on the accusation.
“It’s unacceptable for so-called ‘allied’ corporations to use Pride celebrations as marketing opportunities,” Maeve Coyle, spokesperson for Keep Your Pride, said.
These companies are “claiming to support the LGBTQ community while they take direct action that hurts LGBTQ people across the country,” Coyle added.
“There’s been a sharp uptick in anti-trans legislation across the country this year as anti-LGBTQ legislators have worked day and night to make life harder for trans youth– all for gross political gain,” Coyle noted.