Amazon Blocks Conservative Family Research Council from ‘Smile’ Charity Program

David Ryder/Getty Images
David Ryder/Getty Images

E-commerce giant Amazon has blocked Family Research Council (FRC), a Christian conservative nonprofit, from receiving charitable contributions through its AmazonSmile program. Amazon blocked the FRC based on the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center falsely labeling it as a hate group.

According to Amazon, the company will donate 0.5 percent of all eligible purchases made through AmazonSmile towards a charity of the customer’s choice.

However, while Amazon customers may donate to organizations such as Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and some conservative-leaning groups, they may not contribute to Family Research Council or Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) when they shop at the site.

“Amazon has decided to single out a few well-known conservative organizations like FRC and ADF from receiving part of the tens of millions of dollars the program raises each year from customers,” wrote Kay C. James, president of the Heritage Foundation, in a column at the Washington Times.

“That’s because the company uses the radical, left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center … as the standard-bearer to decide which nonprofits’ customers are allowed to direct their contributions to,” she added.

In May, Justin Danhof, general counsel of the National Center for Public Policy Research, wrote for Breitbart News about the disgraced SPLC’s influence over Amazon:

Why is one of America’s most discredited and polarizing nonprofits allowed to control the charitable giving program of one of America’s richest companies? And why is that nonprofit allowed to reap a windfall from that charitable program while restricting access to organizations with which it disagrees politically?

Amazon doesn’t pick and choose eligible nonprofits itself. The fox that guards that henhouse is the staff at the SPLC.

As James observed, SPLC has identified some conservative organizations as “hate groups,” and posts their names with others, including the Ku Klux Klan and the neo-Nazis.

Other conservative organizations listed as “hate groups” by SPLC include the American College of Pediatricians, the American Family Association, Family Watch International, and the Center for Immigration Studies.

“What the SPLC is trying to do is convince gullible leftists that conservative and religious organizations are morally equivalent to the KKK,” Danhof wrote. “It’s reprehensible and it’s fake news. And Amazon’s partnership lends a corporate veneer of credibility that only perpetuates this false narrative. Making this partnership even more duplicitous is the fact that the SPLC generates significant income – again from gullible leftists – through the AmazonSmile program.”

However, in May, Danhof’s proposal to Amazon investors that the company’s use of SPLC to screen charities has led to discrimination against conservative groups was rejected by Amazon shareholders.

According to Fox Business, “Amazon declined to comment on the proposal beyond the written recommendation from its board to vote against it, which was included in voting materials sent to investors before the meeting.”

“Diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our continued success and critical components of our culture,” the board stated. “We have thorough risk management processes to protect against risks to the company, including risks related to the application of our policies.”

On Monday, Media Research Center (MRC) President L. Brent Bozell announced his nonprofit would no longer accept donations through the AmazonSmile program as a result of the Amazon brush-off.

“Any money from Amazon is tainted, hate-filled money that we want nothing to do with,” said Bozell. “The liberal-loving Jeff Bezos and his hacks at Amazon and Washington Post oppose everything we stand for at the MRC. While we thank supporters who have used the program, we ask that they continue their donations directly, instead of through Amazon’s filter of hate.”

In April 2019, Citizens for Corporate Accountability demanded Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos cut ties with SPLC after the far-left organization faced accusations of racism, corruption, and sexual harassment by some of its employees.

The New York Times reported on the SPLC scandal:

On March 14, a group of employees wrote to the [SPLC]’s leaders and warned that “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.”

After the center announced that it had fired Morris Dees, its charismatic co-founder, for misconduct, another group of employees sent a separate letter accusing the center’s leadership of being “complicit in decades of racial discrimination, gender discrimination, and sexual harassment and/or assault.”

Mr. Dees, 82, has denied any wrongdoing.

Richard Cohen, former president of SPLC, resigned in the firestorm, as did other top officials.

Other tech industry giants, such as Google and PayPal admitted last year they looked to SPLC when weighing blacklisting conservative groups.

However, after SPLC’s settlement of $3.375 million and a public apology to Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamic radical-turned-reformer who had been labeled by SPLC as an “anti-Muslim extremist,” Marc Thiessen wrote in a Washington Post column in June 2018, “After years of smearing good people with false charges of bigotry, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has finally been held to account.”

However, Amazon appears unwilling to abandon its ties to SPLC.

Writing at the Christian Post in May, Robert Netzly, CEO of Inspire Investing, observed Amazon’s so-called “commitment to diversity” is actually “only a commitment to embracing a progressive-liberal viewpoint about diversity.”

Netzly continued Amazon shareholders deserve to know the company is not really committed to diversity outside the leftist world view.

“If Amazon’s leadership is committed to a progressive-liberal agenda, then shareholders have a right to know about it, as well as the potential risks that position could cause by alienating customers who hold a different view,” he asserted. “This is basic corporate responsibility. Denying shareholders material information that can affect their investment is not just bad-form, it is unethical.”

Bozell added it is “completely unacceptable” for Amazon “to allow Planned Parenthood to receive donations, but not Christian conservative groups like Family Research Council and Alliance Defending Freedom.”

“We will no longer have anything to do with this deeply biased program,” he said. “Amazon is no longer just a retailer. It’s a left-wing activist organization with an agenda.”


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