Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) has faced a barrage of criticism following the publication of a video on November 11 in which she discusses attending a lynching. "If he invited me to a public hanging, I’d be on the front row," Hyde-Smith said to a small crowd on November 2.
One person who wasn't offended: Peter Zieve, a businessman in Washington State. Zieve, the president and founder of aerospace company Electroimpact, is a notorious racist.
Zieve donated $2700 -- the maximum individual contribution -- to Hyde-Smith on November 14, three days after her lynching remarks were widely publicized.
In 2017, Zieve was sued by Washington State for discriminating against minority applicants and imposing his racist views on his employees.
The case describes Zieve's outrageous conduct. Zieve allegedly screened applicants by race, hired a nearly all-white staff, and offered employees a $1000 bonus for getting married and another $1000 bonus for having children. The stated purpose of the "procreation bonus" was to prevent the country from being overrun by minorities.
The purpose of the “marriage bonus,” and an additional “children bonus” for those employees with children, was to encourage Electroimpact employees to procreate.
In a Dec. 19, 2015 email to the entire company, Zieve stated: “The future can only be secured by building families. I will not go south on the family benefits. Consider that an annuity. The birth rate is still low for a young group like we have. . . I believe the financial benefits are helping people to make the right decisions. Since the marriages underpin henceforth I will bring a $1000 personal check to any marriage I attend. This is in addition to the $1,000 you get in your paycheck.”
In another email, dated Feb. 6, 2015, Zieve stated: “When [our sons and daughters] choose to not repopulate and allow our wonderful country to be backfilled with rubbish from the desperate and criminal populations of the third world[,] I find that to be disgusting and I find those persons to make these decisions to be repulsive and I don’t like them around me.”
In a Oct. 2, 2015, email to the company, Zieve responded to an employee’s announcement that his wife gave birth to a girl by stating: “I note that 381,000 terrorist savages have gotten into Europe so far this year and if we don’t make more babies the light will out on civilization” and included a link to an article about the meaning of God’s mandate that Adam and Eve be “fruitful and multiply.”
Zieve is vehemently anti-Muslim and "screened out applicants that affirmatively indicated that they were Muslim, or that Zieve perceived to be Muslim based on their name, photograph, national origin and/or application."
The company hosted a "jokes" listserv which regularly demeaned Muslims. Zieve was a participant.
For example, one employee emailed: “How do you save half the Muslims? Kill the other half.”
Zieve encouraged employees’ conduct on the listserv and often engaged in similar conduct.
On Dec. 3, 2015, Zieve emailed the listserv regarding the mass killing in San Bernardino and stated in the subject line, “With the stupidity in the highest office” and in the email body stated: “we might as well lay down across railroad tracks. And they sue the states that refuse to take Syrian refugees.” When an employee noted that one of the San Bernardino attackers was born in the United States, Zieve responded to the listserv: “American born Muslims are almost as dangerous as the Syrian imports.”
Zieve encouraged employees to engage in conduct that degraded Muslims. On May 6, 2015, Zieve emailed an employee a smiley face emoji after the employee sent him an email that stated: “The winning drawing at the ‘Draw Mohammad’ art contest in Garland, Texas” and attached an image of a chalk outline of a dead body.
After an employee complained when Zieve emailed the entire company one of the emails from the "jokes" listserv, Zieve told her to leave if she didn't agree with his beliefs.
Zieve settled the lawsuit for $485,000. The company also agreed to a consent decree to curb its discriminatory conduct. Zieve later apologized for some of his conduct, but his apology was met with skepticism when he announced a run for Mukilteo city council, a town of about 20,000, in July 2017. (He lost by 33 points.)
Zieve also donated over $1 million in support of Donald Trump in the 2016 election.
Hyde-Smith faces a runoff election against Democrat Mike Espo on November 27. A demonstration in protest of her lynching remarks is scheduled to take place in front of her Jackson, Mississippi office on Friday at noon. The protesters are calling on Hyde-Smith to resign or be removed from office.