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David Perdue attacked Kamala Harris with a racist trope. These corporations are still backing his Senate campaign.
U.S. Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
On Friday at a Trump campaign rally, Senator David Perdue (R-GA) purposely butchered the name of Senator Kamala Harris, the first woman of color on a major presidential ticket. Harris' mother immigrated from India and her father from Jamaica. "Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever," Perdue said, as the crowd cheered.
Perdue's comments have been broadly condemned as racist. Stacey Abrams, a former member of the Georgia House of Representatives and now one of the nation's leading civil rights activists, said Perdue was employing "racist tropes" against Harris. Sabrina Singh, Harris' press secretary, called Perdue's conduct "incredibly racist." Cori Bush, a Congressional candidate from Missouri, said Perdue's attack was "the tip of the iceberg of running for office as a Black woman."
Perdue has an F rating from the NAACP.
Despite the backlash, Perdue has not apologized. Perdue's campaign claimed he accidentally mispronounced Harris' name. "Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris' name, and he didn't mean anything by it," John Burke, Perdue's communications director, said. This was not a credible response to anyone who has seen the video. Perdue did not say "Kamala-mala-mala" by accident. He was playing to the crowd.
On Saturday, Perdue tried a different approach. "Look, I meant absolutely no disrespect to the senator from California," Perdue said. While abandoning his claim that the mispronunciation was accidental, Perdue stopped well-short of an apology.
This is part of a pattern for Perdue. In July, Perdue ran a digital ad attacking his opponent, Jon Ossoff, who is Jewish. The ad "appeared to enlarge Ossoff's nose," which is a common anti-semitic trope. The ad claimed that "Democrats are trying to buy Georgia," and featured Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is also Jewish. The ad was condemned by the Anti-Defamation League, which urged Perdue to "leave antisemitic stereotypes and language out of our state’s efforts to elect our leaders and build a better Georgia." The Perdue campaign "said the enlarging of Ossoff's nose was done inadvertently by a vendor." It did not apologize.
The backlash from Friday's attack on Harris became so severe that Perdue Chicken issued a statement on Twitter assuring customers that it has no connection to Senator Perdue.
But some of America's most prominent corporations — including Google, Coca-Cola, Amazon, and Facebook — are bankrolling Perdue's reelection campaign. These companies claim to be champions for inclusion and diversity, while backing a Senate campaign that unapologetically deploys racist tropes.
Google: $40,000 to Perdue
Google's corporate PAC has donated $15,000 to Perdue's campaign this cycle and $25,000 to Perdue's leadership PAC, One Georgia.
In June, Google CEO Sundar Pichai detailed the company's "commitments to racial equity."
Over the past several weeks, violent and racist attacks against the Black community have forced the world to reckon with the structural and systemic racism that Black people have experienced over generations. My own search for answers started within our own walls. Listening to the personal accounts of members of our Black Leadership Advisory Group and our Black+ Googlers has only reinforced for me the reality our Black communities face: one where systemic racism permeates every aspect of life…
Google did not respond to an inquiry from Popular Information, asking if Perdue's recent conduct was consistent with its values and whether Google would continue to support his campaign.
Coca-Cola: $45,000 to Perdue
Coca-Cola's corporate PAC has donated $15,000 to Perdue's campaign this cycle and $30,000 to One Georgia.
On June 1, Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey released a statement about where the company stood on "social justice."
We stand as one with our employees, business partners and communities in rejecting racism and discrimination. We share their anger, fear, sadness and disappointment over the lack of progress in protecting Black Americans and people of color from acts of racism and injustice.
Coca-Cola did not respond to an inquiry from Popular Information, asking if Perdue's recent conduct was consistent with its values and whether Coca-Cola would continue to support his campaign.
Walmart: $26,000 to Perdue
Walmart's corporate PAC has donated $14,000 to Perdue's campaign this cycle and $12,000 to One Georgia.
On June 5, CEO Doug McMillon made remarks on Walmart's commitment to "racial equality."
Our nation has failed to fully acknowledge and resolve the root issues. Slavery, lynching, the concept of separate but equal and the other realities from our past have morphed into a set of systems today that are all too often, unjust… Let me say clearly to our Black and African American associates and communities, we hear you. We see you. I want you to know you are valued.
Walmart did not respond to an inquiry from Popular Information, asking if Perdue's recent conduct was consistent with its values and whether Walmart would continue to support his campaign.
Deloitte: $19,500 to Perdue
Deloitte's corporate PAC has donated $10,000 to Perdue's campaign this cycle and $9,500 to One Georgia.
In June, Deloitte CEO Joe Ucuzoglu wrote a letter to Deloitte employees about the company's opposition to "systemic bias, racism, and unequal treatment."
As an organization deeply committed to diversity and inclusion, Deloitte stands against the legacy of systemic bias, racism, and unequal treatment that continues to plague our communities...You have our unwavering commitment that our intense focus will not fade as the news cycle shifts—Deloitte is in it for the long term, and we will do the hard work to change the unacceptable status quo.
Deloitte did not respond to an inquiry from Popular Information, asking if Perdue's recent conduct was consistent with its values and whether Deloitte would continue to support his campaign.
Target: $13,500 to Perdue
Target's corporate PAC has donated $11,000 to Perdue's campaign this cycle and $2,500 to One Georgia.
In a June press release, the company touted its "commitment to stand against racism."
In a recent note, CEO Brian Cornell shared the Target team’s commitment to stand against racism. We pledged to face anxiety, fear and sorrow with purpose, and formed an enterprise task force to determine how to help create solutions for the injustice Black families and people of color face every day.
Target did not respond to an inquiry from Popular Information, asking if Perdue's recent conduct was consistent with its values and whether Target would continue to support his campaign.
Facebook: $7,500 to Perdue
Facebook's corporate PAC has donated $7,500 to Perdue's campaign this cycle.
In June, Facebook released a statement about its commitment to "advance racial justice."
Recent events have continued to expose the racism and injustice that exist in our society, particularly for the Black community. These are important issues that must be addressed collectively, and businesses must also bring about change as integral parts of communities around the world. At Facebook, we are committed to doing more. We stand against racism and in support of the Black community and all those fighting for equality and justice every single day.
Facebook sent the following statement to Popular Information: "Sen. Perdue’s recent comments do not reflect the values or mission of Facebook. Our contribution was made before this statement."
Amazon: $5,000 to Perdue
Amazon's corporate PAC has donated $5,000 to Perdue's campaign this cycle.
In June, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent a note to all employees, encouraging them to reflect on "systemic racism."
Over the past few weeks, the Steam and I have spent a lot of time listening to customers and employees and thinking about how recent events in our country have laid bare the systemic racism and injustices that oppress Black individuals and communities…
Please take some time to reflect, learn, and support each other. Slavery ended a long time ago, but racism didn’t.
Amazon did not respond to an inquiry from Popular Information, asking if Perdue's recent conduct was consistent with its values and whether Amazon would continue to support his campaign.