Study: 25 Rainbow-Touting Companies Allegedly Donated $10 Million To Anti-LGBTQAI+ Lawmakers
On today's installment of corporations slapping a rainbow flag across their logo for the month of June and dubbing themselves an #Ally to the LGBTQAI+ community, 25 companies pushing high-profile pride month initiatives have failed to put their money where their overpriced #LoveIsLove merch is, allegedly donating more than $10 million over the past two years to several politicians notably pushing anti LGBTQAI+ agendas.
According to a new study published Monday in the Popular Information newsletter, despite spamming their socials with rainbow imagery and inspiring messages, 25 name-brand companies including CVS, AT&T, Comcast, and Walmart have all conspicuously donated generous sums to politicians actively backing anti LGBTQAI+ legislature, a revelation surprising approximately no one who obtains even the slightest drop of knowledge on rainbow capitalism.
First up on the long list of performative offenders? None other than the home of offensively long receipts and apparently, an offensive hatred for trans people, CVS. Although boasting on Twitter that they were “proud to join more than 100 companies that have signed HRC’s Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation," the company has a bleak history of bankrolling politicians endorsing anti-trans legislature. In December 2019, the drugstore chain offered $2,000 each to Texas state senators Dawn Buckingham and Bryan Hughes who co-sponsored a bill aiming to make parents permitting their kids to receive gender-affirming care as child abuse. Less than a year later, in August 2020, the company dropped $1,000 on North Carolina's Ralph Hise, a vocal supporter of the controversial 2016 “bathroom bill” and the primary sponsor of a measure barring people under the age of 21 from accessing gender-affirming care, a law one notable LGBTQAI+ publication dubbed “the most repressive anti-transgender healthcare bill in the nation."
Yet CVS is far from alone. Comcast, too, has also proven itself "Read to work" … against the LGBTQAI+ community. Since 2019, the telecom company has reportedly spent more than $1.1 million supporting ant-LGBTQAI+ politicians, among which was a $300,000 donation to Florida lawmakers sponsoring anti-trans legislature. It is unclear, however, how much the company spent on their virtual "Pride World," which is set to “feature events, Pride floats, Pride flags, and even a Pronoun Guide for employees," The Guardian noted.
Aside from competing with Comcast for market share, it seems AT&T, too, is perhaps looking to beat its telecom rival in terms of bankrolling anti-trans bills, gifting supporters of such legislature $12,950 in Arkansas, $4,000 in Tennessee, $5,000 in North Carolina, $22,500 in Texas, and $27,500 in Florida.
Now reader, if you were expecting watchdog organizations and advocacy groups to call out these corporations on their blatant hypocrisy, it seems you're out of luck. Despite these donations, The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBTQAI+ advocacy group in the United States, has consistently ranked several of the corporations listed in the article as having a 100% rating in their 2020 Corporate Equality Index. In a move seemingly designed to give a gold star to companies doing the bare minimum in perpetuating rainbow capitalism, the ranking only takes into account policies within the workplace and “public commitment to the LGBTQ community," conveniently overlooking political donations.
Although several of the above companies stayed mum when asked about these claims, a few companies listed spoke out, defending themselves. General Motors, who allegedly donated $16,000 to lawmakers backing anti-trans bills per the study told Popular Information that their donations “do not represent an endorsement of the candidate or support for all the issues the candidate supports [and] we will continue to clearly communicate with policymakers GM’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion."
So folks, remember, just because a company waves a rainbow flag and hosts Drag Race viewing parties does not necessarily an ally make.