Kelly Loeffler is running against Black Lives Matter. These corporations are supporting her campaign.
|Jul 16, 2020||68|
This is the online version of the Popular Information newsletter. Sign up to get independent accountability journalism straight to you inbox:
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who was appointed to her position last December, is now running to keep her seat. Her campaign has turned into a crusade against the Black Lives Matter movement. And major corporations who claim to be committed to racial justice — including Google, AT&T, Sony, and Target — are backing her.
Loeffler is the co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, a WNBA team. On July 7, Loeffler wrote to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, objecting to the league's plan to "affirm Black Lives Matter and honor victims of police brutality and racial violence" when play resumes later this month.
The WNBA announced that, throughout the season, player warm-up shirts and game courts will feature the words “Black Lives Matter.” For the tip-off on July 25-26, "team uniforms will display Breonna Taylor’s name as WNBA players raise awareness and seek justice for the women and girls who have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence."
Loeffler said she "adamantly oppose[s] the Black Lives Matter political movement," which she says "is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream."
The lives of each and every African American matter, and there’s no debating the fact that there is no place for racism in our country. However, I adamantly oppose the Black Lives Matter political movement, which has advocated for the defunding of police, called for the removal of Jesus from churches and the disruption of the nuclear family structure, harbored anti-Semitic views, and promoted violence and destruction across the country. I believe it is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.
Black Lives Matter "is a decentralized political movement" — not a single organization with a monolithic platform. Nevertheless, Loeffler's description is full of misinformation. The Black Lives Matter movement does not advocate for "the removal of Jesus from churches." Many members of the movement are clergy. Her claim that the Black Lives Matter movement is anti-Semitic is also unfounded. The Anti-Defamation League has rejected "internet rumors" which attempt to link recent Black Lives Matter protests to anti-Semitism. The core political demand is an end to the unjust killing of Black people.
In the letter, Loeffler also claimed participants in the Black Lives Matter movement were indifferent to the murder of an eight-year-old Black girl in Atlanta on July 4.
Loeffler's letter sparked outrage among WNBA players, who called for her removal from ownership. Her proposal to replace "Black Lives Matter" with the American flag was rejected by the league. But Loeffler has continued to attack and denigrate the Black Lives Matter movement, mentioning her opposition at nearly every campaign stop and in regular appearances on Fox News.
"No one has asked politics to come into sports... People from all walks of life from all political views should be welcomed in sports and to cancel someone because they want to protect innocent life; because they are fighting for the unborn; because they support the Second Amendment; because I support the constitutional rights that have been given to us by God?" Loeffler said in an appearance on Fox News on July 9.
Loeffler claims she believes that politics should be kept out of sports. But she seems intent to use her feud with the WNBA — and her opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement — to attract support from conservative Republicans and fend off a challenge by Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA).
Nevertheless, Loeffler's campaign is backed financially by several large corporations who claim to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
AT&T publicly embraces Black Lives Matter, quietly backs Loeffler
AT&T, a company that has publicly embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, is the WNBA’s “marquee sponsor.” Next weekend, AT&T is presenting the WNBA’s Tip-Off 2020, an event that is "dedicated to the Black Lives Matter movement."
Since the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, AT&T has issued numerous tweets and statements publicly endorsing the Black Lives Matter movement. On June 12, the company tweeted, “Black lives matter and we have a moral and business obligation to engage on the fundamental issues of equality and fairness.”
AT&T chairman and former CEO Randal Stephenson also published a letter to federal, state, and local officials calling for racial equity and justice, and is leading a new roundtable of CEOs committed to the cause. The company even installed a Black Lives Matter mural outside of its Chicago flagship store.
And, yet, according to its recent FEC filings, AT&T’s corporate PAC contributed $2,500 to Loeffler on March 3. Popular Information reached out to AT&T and asked if, in light of its commitment to the Black Lives Matter movement, the company would continue to support Loeffler's campaign. AT&T did not respond.
Boston Scientific denounces Loeffler, will no longer support her campaign
On June 12, Boston Scientific tweeted, “words aren’t enough to fight racism” and announced that it was donating $2.5 million to “combat racism, inequity, and injustice.”
In a letter to employees, senior leadership condemned racial injustice and wrote that they would continue to “cultivate a workplace that makes equality, diversity, and openness priorities—a workplace that sets an example for the greater community.”
However, on March 31, Boston Scientific contributed $2,500 to Loeffler. In response to a request for comment, Boston Scientific denounced Loeffler and said it would not support her campaign in the future:
We are surprised and disappointed by Sen. Loeffler’s recent comments, which are inconsistent with the values we believed she held when we made a donation to her campaign in the first quarter of this year. We denounce the senator’s comments on the Black Lives Matter movement, we have not made any recent donations to her campaign and will not provide financial support in the future.
Black lives matter, and Boston Scientific affirms the importance of our black employees, customers and patients around the world.
Google says it supports "racial equality in solidarity with the Black community," sent cash to Loeffler
On May 31, Google and YouTube displayed black ribbons on their homepages with the caption: “We stand in support of racial equality, and all those who search for it.” Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted that the company supports “racial equality in solidarity with the Black community and in memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery & others who don’t have a voice.”
Google’s corporate PAC, however, donated $5,000 to Loeffler on December 30, 2019. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Sony believes "Black Lives Matter," won't comment on its donation to Loeffler
Sony tweeted, on May 31, that “being silent about the violence and racism Black people experience is being complicit. We stand in solidarity today and every day with the Black community. #BlackLivesMatter.”
Its subsidiary, Sony Pictures, was also similarly outspoken, tweeting that it “stands in solidarity with the Black community” and “Black lives matter.”
Yet, Sony's corporate PAC donated $2,500 to Loeffler on February 18. The company declined to comment.
Comcast says "Black Lives Matter," and contributed $5000 to Loeffler's campaign
Comcast says that it’s “committed to being a champion for equality” and combating racial injustice. “Racism, injustice and violence have no place in our society and cannot be tolerated,” said CEO Brian Roberts. “Yet we continue to be unable to make enough progress in this country – so at this moment it is critical to step back, face the hard subjects and try to reflect.”
NBCUniversal has also expressed solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. The company tweeted on June 1, “We stand with our Black employees, colleagues, partners, and creators in outrage of racism. Black Lives Matter.”
Comcast’s $5,000 contribution to Loeffler this year suggests otherwise. The contribution was dated February 3. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
FedEx said it is "working to make our society more equitable and just," donated to Loeffler on Juneteenth
“There is absolutely no place for racism or unequal treatment anywhere, and we must unequivocally speak out and reject it when see it,” FedEx CEO Frederick W. Smith and President Raj Subramaniam said in a joint statement on June 1. For the month of June, the company used its platforms to highlight Black voices and organizations such as the National Civil Rights Museum and The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.
Smithsonian NMAAHC @NMAAHC#TalkingAboutRace is our new online portal to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and the way that they shape American culture. Learn more: https://t.co/I9jns1zcr3
But in May and June, FedEx donated $10,000 to Loeffler’s campaign, according to her latest FEC filing. FedEx’s first contribution of $5,000 was dated May 22, and the second was dated Juneteenth. The donations were disclosed late Wednesday, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Target says it is committed to creating "lasting change," donated to Loeffler on June 30
Target CEO Brian Cornell says the company “stands with Black families, communities, and team members” and will use its “size, scale, and resources” to address racial injustice.
On June 5, the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis featured lights “in honor of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbury, Breonna Taylor and all whose lives were cut short, and to signal the hard work ahead to help heal our communities and create lasting change.”
Last month, the company also recognized Juneteenth as an official company holiday. Cornell described the decision as an “important action Target can take as a company to help the country live up to the ideal of moving forward in a new way.”
Yesterday, Loeffler reported that she received a $1,000 donation from Target dated June 30. The donations were disclosed late Wednesday, and the company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Kroger says it has a "responsibility to better support our Black associates," continues to support Loeffler's campaign
On June 12, Kroger, the largest supermarket chain in the U.S., voiced support for the Black Lives Matter movement and tweeted, “As a company, it’s our responsibility to better support our Black associates, customers and allies. We know there is more work to do and will keep you updated on our progress, this is only the beginning. Black Lives Matter.”
CEO Rodney McMullen, in a video posted on Kroger’s twitter earlier in June, said that he stands with Black customers, associates, and allies.
But according to documents filed with the FEC, Kroger donated $1,000 to Loeffler through its corporate PAC on March 24. Kroger did not respond to a request for comment.
Best Buy says it "will do better" to address racial injustice, ignores questions about its support for Loeffler
On June 3, Best Buy CEO Corie Barry, in a letter, said that the company “will do better” to address racial injustice. Barry wrote that it “starts with seeing the situation for what it is, acknowledging these experiences for what they are and, quite simply, apologizing for not doing enough.”
But Best Buy’s corporate PAC contributed $1,000 to Koeffler on March 10. The company did not respond to a request for comment.
Thanks for reading!