Corporate Virtue Signaling: Facebook, Netflix, Peloton, Others Donate Millions in Wake of George Floyd Death

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

Wealthy American corporations are using their money to signal they support the protests taking place across the country in the wake of a black man’s death at the hands of police in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

Facebook, Netflix, Peloton and others are weighing in on social media and announcing they are putting money where their corporate mouths are, CNN reported:

Facebook is donating $10 million to groups fighting racial inequality as mass protests sweep across the United States after an unarmed black man died at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“We stand with the black community,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post late Sunday, adding the Silicon Valley tech firm to a growing list of companies that have responded to the protests with condemnations of racism, calls for solutions to the escalating discord in the country and promises to address diversity and inclusion at their businesses.

Twitter, Nike, Netflix, Disney and other firms have also weighed in.

Zuckerberg posted on his Facebook page about how he and his wife donate $40 million a year to criminal justice causes but his company needs to do more.

“To help in this fight, I know Facebook needs to do more to support equality and safety for the black community through our platforms,” Zuckerberg said, adding he was “grateful” video of Floyd’s encounter with police was posted on Facebook “because we all needed to see that.”

“But it’s clear Facebook also has more work to do to keep people safe and ensure our systems don’t amplify bias,” Zuckerberg lamented.

CNN reported on other corporate protest donors, including fitness company Peloton, which said on Sunday it would donate $500,000 to the NAACP’s legal defense fund. 

“Black lives matter,” Peloton CEO John Foley wrote in a message to users. “This week, what’s become clear to me is we must ensure this is an anti-racist organization.”

Last week Nike joined the corporate social justice choir.

“On Friday, Nike reversed its iconic ‘Just Do It’ slogan in an online video, saying: ‘For once, Don’t Do It,’” CNN reported.

“Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America,” the message said. “Don’t turn your back on racism. Don’t accept innocent lives being taken from us. Don’t make any more excuses. Don’t think this doesn’t affect you. Don’t sit back and be silent.”

Netflix and Disney “echoed that sentiment,” according to CNN.

“To be silent is to be complicit,” Netflix tweeted Sunday. “Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”

Disney’s chairman and CEO and other officials were also on the list.

“While these devastating incidents are not new, there’s something unique about what’s happening in this moment,” Bob Iger, Bob Chapek and Latondra Newton wrote in a memo. ”The pandemic coupled with these recent injustices have pushed the issues of racial disparity into the open.”

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel told employees in a memo that he’s “heartbroken and enraged by the treatment of black people and people of color in America.”

In the letter provided to CNN Business, Spiegel criticized the United States for so-called racial and wealth inequality and called for a progressive income tax system and higher taxes on the wealthy.

“Entrepreneurship depends on people being able to take risks to start a business, which is nearly impossible to do without some sort of safety net like the one I had,” Spiegel said in the CNN report.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was included in the CNN listicle.

“He said he’s heard from employees that feel ‘afraid’ in their own communities because of recent events and is making a ‘number of groups’ that help fight racial injustice,” CNN reported, adding he said Apple “always drawn strength from our diversity, welcomed people from every walk of life to our stores around the world, and strived to build an Apple that is inclusive of everyone.”

Two more corporations are on the CNN list, including Intel CEO Bob Swan, who wrote to employees, “Black lives matter. Period.” 

Intel said it is pledging $1 million to “community organizations focused on social injustice.”

“While racism can look very different around the world, one thing that does not look different is that racism of any kind will not be tolerated here at Intel or in our communities,” Swan said.

Levi said Monday on its Instagram account it was donating $100,000 to the controversial American Civil Liberties Union. 

“Verizon also announced it was donating a total of $10 million to variety of social justice organizations, including the National Urban League and the NAACP,” CNN reported.

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