By Donald Padgett, June 7, 2021, The Advocate
A new six-figure public relations campaign is calling out five major corporations for profiting off Pride while also same funding anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and lawmakers.
The Keep Your Pride campaign, a project of Corporate Accountability Action, says AT&T, Anheuser-Busch, The Coca-Cola Company, General Motors, and NBCUniversal have contributed to lawmakers who support discriminatory, anti-trans legislation. Keep Your Pride issued a report showing the five corporations made donations totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to hundreds of anti-LGBTQ+ lawmakers while at the same time selling themselves as allies of Pride and the community.
“It’s unacceptable for so-called ‘allied’ corporations to use Pride celebrations as marketing opportunities, claiming to support the LGBTQ community while they take direct action that hurts LGBTQ people across the country,” Maeve Coyle, spokesperson for Keep Your Pride, said in a statement. “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.”
The campaign seeks to bring awareness to the issue via advertisements on a variety of media as well as through public demonstrations. The group noted the five corporations made the contributions between the years 2015 and 2021, and the funds went into the coffers of politicians who actively support, including acting as sponsors or co-sponsors, of some of the worst anti-trans legislation in the country. Using data provided by the National Institute on Money in Politics (followthemoney.org), the project carefully analyzed each federal and state lawmaker’s donor contributions to compile the report. They found the five corporations made 481 donations to 231 anti-equality lawmakers totaling $324,251 over the period in question. AT&T topped the list with 327 donations totaling $204,350 to 133 anti-LGBTQ+ legislators. GM was a distant second place with 63 donations totaling $51,000 to 35 anti-LGBTQ+ legislators.
“It’s never been more important for these companies to put their money where their mouth is — either they can put an end to their support of these dangerous elected officials, or they can keep their Pride this year,” said Coyle.
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