The following article is sponsored by Consumers’ Research.
Last year as America’s oldest consumer protection organization, Consumers’ Research launched the Consumers First Initiative. The purpose of the initiative was to send a message to large corporations: “pay attention to your customers, not woke politicians,” and “if they want to play politics, they should be prepared to be treated like politicians.” That means they will face the kind of scrutiny, attack ads, and opposition research politicians face in heated political campaigns.
Consumers’ Research launched the initiative with a series of campaigns highlighting companies like Nike, who took progressive political positions to cover for a range of bad behaviors including profiting off forced labor in China; American Airlines, who attacked a popular voter ID law while requiring ID for their flights, where they reduced legroom and laid off employees during the pandemic despite cashing in on major government bailouts; and Coca Cola, who has consistently leaned on progressive politics to distract from dismal sales and decades of “poisoning America’s youth.”
Last month they went after Levis and American Express for taking progressive positions and promoting divisive political agendas.
Then last week Will Hild, Executive Director of Consumers’ Research, announced he had received a tip from an employee of State Farm insurance that the insurance carrier was involved in a woke indoctrination program that placed books on “being transgender” and “being nonbinary” in community centers and public libraries with the goal of influencing children as young as five-years-old, attempting to expose children to woke ideology without their parents’ permission, consent, or even involvement. The consumers protection group launched a major ad campaign to draw attention to this troubling behavior, including a website, “LikeACreepyNeighbor.com.”
Upon launch of the campaign Hild said, “We want to call them out for that activity and to notify parents and customers of State Farm’s activity, so they can hopefully get them to cut it out. But at the very least, make sure that their kids were not approached by State Farm on these issues.” He added, “State Farm must be held accountable for targeting kindergarteners with their woke indoctrination.”
The announcement was met with swift backlash for the company with thousands of commenters sharing that they had called their agent and switched insurance carriers. Red State reported that agents across the country reacted furiously, calling their leadership and demanding answers, forcing State Farm Executive Vice President Rand Herbert to send a voice message to all agents the same day our campaign launched, saying, “we made a mistake with our involvement in this program, and we’re sorry.”
State Farm confirmed the program’s existence to the Washington Post, but noted they had ended it, adding, “conversations about gender and identity should happen at home with parents. We don’t support required curriculum in schools on this topic. We support organizations providing resources for parents to have these conversations. We no longer support the program allowing for distribution of books in schools.”
But that isn’t enough. The transgender-in-training program ran for several months with these books being delivered to kindergarten classrooms courtesy of State Farm. State Farm should assign an external third party to audit all programs targeting children and get to the bottom of this and any other breaches of trust by State Farm. The company should determine every school, public library, and community center where the books were donated. And they should publish the results and notify parents in the areas where books were made available to children.
As large corporations have engaged more aggressively in divisive partisan politics in recent years, polling has shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans simply want the companies they support with their business to focus on serving customers, not politicians. Any corporation that ignores that smart guidance should be prepared to be called out for it and reminded very publicly to “serve their customers, not woke politicians.”