In early 2017, Pepsi released a three-minute “short film” titled “Live For Now Moments Anthem,” in which a Kendall Jenner in jeans rips a wig, sashays through a crowd of protesters gathered for an unidentifiable cause. , grabs his can of soda and hands it to a policeman. In the announcement, she made peace thanks to the joy of Pepsi. In real life, the ad was removed within 24 hours to trivialize police brutality.
Pepsi’s blunder, among the most egregious additions to the crisis advertising canon, made something already quite transparent evident: that companies understood their public’s desire for social change and planned to take advantage of it. Three years later, brands are still trying to join The Conversation, but more seriously, with a serious tenor. In the past two months, as the global COVID-19 pandemic has devastated lives and jobs, businesses have transformed human trauma into a disgustingly inspiring montage at a rapid pace. And last week, when the country erupted in protests (and police assaults) against the public murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin, the companies intervened again. Some offered essential donations; others expressed vague statements of support against identical black and white backgrounds.
That corporate social justice statements are often at odds with their track records, it is barely enough to report them (see their federal income taxes). But the moral gymnastics that some people practice can be astounding, as illustrated by Judd Legum in his newsletter, Popular information, Tuesday. CitiGroup, for example, who tweeted a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter, donated $ 242,000 to members of Congress with an “F” rating from the NAACP in the 2020 election cycle alone. Google, which also published statements about the protests, donated $ 351,000 to “F” rated politicians this year. Is it worse that companies like Hobby Lobby, Walmart and Volkswagen have said nothing? It’s definitely on the brand.
Amazon tweeted on May 31: “The unfair and brutal treatment of black people in our country must stop. Together we stand with the black community – our employees, customers and partners – in the fight against systemic racism and injustice. ”
However, the company has not explained how it plans to start the fighting. They could start by making a donation, since Jeff Bezos is poised to become the world’s first billionaire by 2026. Another recommendation, according to the ACLU, “is to stop selling surveillance technology from facial recognition that supercharges police abuse ”. They were referring to the Amazon Ring, a video doorbell that has been criticized by civil rights organizations for incorporating facial recognition software and partnering with the police. The fact that Amazon workers faced grueling conditions even before the global pandemic made delivery people one of the most at-risk workforces in the country, and even at that point, being denied the risk premium, sick leave and basic sanitation seems to be another good entry point.
Michael Bloomberg, who oversaw New York’s unconstitutional “stop and frisk” policy, which arrested more than 5 million people between 2002 and 2019, and massively targeted black communities, has released a memo to its employees. May 31 stating: “The video of a Minneapolis police officer killing an unarmed black man, George Floyd, while begging for his life was deeply disturbing and deeply flawed. It was horrible – sickening – to watch, and it happened after other recent murders of innocent American blacks who were also appalling. “
Two years after stop-and-fisk research peaked at 685,000 people in 2011, Bloomberg defended the program in a Washington Post op-ed titled “Stop and Frisk Keeps New York Safe”, in which he claimed “90 percent of all those who commit murder and other violent crimes – are black and Hispanic.”
Bloomberg, which is worth about $ 60 billion and has donated at least $ 10 billion to charitable causes and political campaigns, made no contributions following the protests.
Tuesday morning, after a full week of police brutality, a Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen social media manager signed in to trigger one of the most disheartened tweets from the corporate internet in at least 24 hours. “Popeyes is nothing without the life of blacks,” wrote the company, adding nothing to the conversation, making no donations to bail funds and invoking a racist stereotype generally relegated to dumb guys with stickers for parents. Thin Blue Line bumpers. The company deleted the tweet in minutes.
“We are nothing without black lives,” Popeye tweeted in his revised statement. “There is no room for injustice. We are committed to strengthening every facet of our culture and policies to foster an environment where equality for blacks is a priority. We will use our platform to support this movement. #BlackLivesMatter. ”
Last week, Target became a major concern of the hand-wringing class of experts, in part because, during the first nights of protest, as the police attack turned into chaos, some businesses were looted, including a Minneapolis target. In response, Target has closed or reduced its hours of operation in nearly 200 stores nationwide.
On May 29, Target CEO Brian Cornell released a statement on the protests. Unlike much of the media coverage on the store, Cornell did not mention looting or the propaganda of fear, acknowledging that “The murder of George Floyd triggered pent-up pain for years just like the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna taylor. “He told readers that the company is working with their displaced workers, including those at the Minneapolis store, to ensure full wages and benefits in the weeks to come.
However, as Mónica Marie Zorilla reported in Adweek, the company’s location in Minneapolis was not chosen by accident. Target’s relationship with local police dates back to at least 2004, when the company donated $ 300,000 to MPD to install surveillance cameras within a 40-block radius of downtown Minneapolis. In 2011, they added a forensic laboratory to their Minnesota campus to collect high-resolution images from their surveillance cameras, which are available free to local police.
The facility was not unique to Minneapolis. Target’s own website describes its various partnerships with law enforcement agencies near their stores, including what used to be called the “Law Enforcement Grant Program,” but has since been renamed “Public Safety Focused Grants”.
On May 1, workers at Target, alongside Amazon, Walmart, Instacart and others, held a strike to draw attention to the failure of retailers to implement labor protections during the pandemic . Target said it had “introduced dozens of new measures” to keep workers healthy. But a representative from the Target Workers Union told CNBC that employees were forced to choose between their wages and their health.
On June 1, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman shared a statement he wrote on Reddit social media that said in part: “As Snoos, we don’t tolerate hatred, racism and violence, and although we have work to do to combat these our platform, our values are clear. Since the site has hosted a lot of racist and hateful content, the post was immediately criticized by former Reddit CEO Ellen K. Pao, who wrote: “I have to call you: you should have closed the_donald instead of amplifying his hatred, racism and violence. Much of what is happening now is at your feet. You don’t have to tell BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hatred all day long. ”
On May 30, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke, writing, “The NFL family is greatly saddened by the tragic events across our country,” offering condolences to the family of George Floyd, as well families of Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville. last week and Ahmaud Arbery, who was murdered by two white men while jogging last month.
The irony of an organization that turned into hysteria over the peaceful manifestation of Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem, refused to sign it for another season and finally settled its contractual grievance accusing them of collusion, presenting as an ally movements of social justice, it is hardly enough to say it. But if you want, here is Ava Duvernay who says it. That didn’t stop the San Francisco 49ers, the former Kaepernick team, from also weighing. If the NFL decides to be a lie about this, it could follow Kaepernick’s example and pay the lawyers’ fees for the protesters.
If that was not enough, the Washington Redskins tweeted a black square Tuesday morning, echoing the widely despised social media campaign “Blackout Tuesday”, which, according to black organizers, drowned out useful information about the protests. The representative of the United States, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), replied: “Do you really want to defend racial justice? Change your name. ”
The day after hundreds of Facebook workers staged a virtual “strike” to protest the company’s decision to do nothing bravely against the president’s messages calling the protesters “THINK” and tolerating violence against them (“when looting begins, filming begins”), CEO Mark Zuckerberg went to Facebook to comment on the other protests, noting: “We all have a responsibility to create change.”
In the same message, Zuckerberg pledged to donate $ 10 million to “groups working on racial justice”. He did not specify which groups or when they could anticipate the money.
Goldman “took advantage of the 2007 collapse by selling subprime mortgage-backed securities and then found a way to take advantage of mortgage relief by forcing thousands of homes” Sachs also had something to say.
“I continue to hope that you and your families are doing well in these extraordinary times, ”wrote David M. Solomon, CEO of Goldman, in a voice message to shareholders titled“ My Message on Inclusion, ”which he then posted on LinkedIn. “I remain very grateful for what you all do to collectively help Goldman Sachs navigate this global pandemic.”
If you are wondering what this has to do with anything, it gets to the point some graphics down. “I am horrified by the continuing attacks on the black community,” wrote Solomon. “I want to remind each of you that as a community – there is no room at Goldman Sachs for racism or discrimination against a group in any form.”
On that note: when a black Jewish woman filed a discrimination complaint against her in 2017, she wrote, “Simply put, Goldman Sachs does almost nothing to hire, promote, or develop black talent, instead focusing its efforts on retaining and promoting white employees for leadership positions. “
In addition, they did not give any money.
#BlackoutTuesday, the now ubiquitous video calling platform, Zoom, tweeted support for the movement, writing: “We know this message will not solve the problems, but we want to clarify our position. We are with you. #blackouttuesday. “
On the same day, according to Bloomberg, the company’s CEO, Eric Yuan, has announced that it will not encrypt the company’s controversial free calls, so they can work with law enforcement. “Free users,” said Yuan, “for sure we don’t want to give that away, because we also want to work with the FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a wrong use.”
A Twitter user posted the tweets side by side. “Fuck the fuck off,” she said.
THE DOOR TO THE SIDE
Nextdoor, the app described as “the world’s largest social network for the neighborhood”, which has drawn countless complaints of racial profiling, tweeted: “Black lives matter.” You are not alone. Everyone should feel safe in their neighborhood. Reach out. Listen. Take action.”
The viral video app posted a message on its platform and others from its CEO Kevin Mayer, stating, “Diversity is our strength. As a company, as an organization, as a platform. As I begin my work at TikTok, it has never been more important to support employees, users, creators, black artists and our community at large. I make this commitment today, my first day. Words can only go so far. I invite our community to hold us accountable for the actions we take in the weeks, months and years to come. ”
The message came with longer apologies from Vanessa Pappas, US general manager of TikTok, and Kudzi Chikumbu, director of Creator Community, about the fear that the app would censor black users when they talk about racism.
Before the current protests even started, the creators of Black TikTok organized an online movement for the platform’s “Black Out”, changing their profile photos to Black Power fists to draw attention to policy application racists. It was not the first time that the application had been accused of discrimination. In March, Interception reported that TikTok moderators were ordered to delete messages from “ugly” people and the poor.
Nike, which admitted to having used child labor, has been criticized on several occasions for operating underground workshops that pay below the minimum wage, was caught by shell companies to avoid taxes, and recently supported l erosion of democracy by the Chinese government in Hong Kong, graced national protests against police violence with … an advertisement.
The music streaming service paid lip service but no money to the cause. No wonder, because they don’t pay artists much either.
It belongs to the Murdochs.