Some leading companies that have demonstrated support for antiracism and the Black Lives Matter movement include Citigroup, Netflix, Sony, Apple, Nike, Levi Strauss, Fila, YouTube, Ben & Jerry’s, and WarnerMedia Brands. Some trends surrounding how companies in the U.S. are working to combat racism (aside from financial donations) include becoming more publicly and directly vocal, reaffirming their brand identity and aligning with anti-racist movements, and using their power to silence racism.
Companies Supporting Antiracism
- Citigroup has aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the NY Times.
- “Mark Mason, the chief financial officer of Citigroup, wrote a public blog post on the company’s website that repeated Mr. Floyd’s pleas to the white officer kneeling on his neck: ‘I can’t breathe.'”
- Citigroup has worked with Black and Hispanic MBA organizations in the U.S. since 2005 to maintain diversity in their hiring.
- Netflix recently posted on Twitter, “To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.”
- In 2016, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings “donated $6,000 to the Baltimore mayoral campaign of DeRay Mckesson, perhaps the most prominent voice to emerge out of the Black Lives Matter movement,” according to Fortune Magazine.
- In 2016, Reed Hastings also launched a multi-million dollar philanthropic fund. The first gift given by the fund was a $1.5 million donation to the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley.
- In recent days, Sony shared Twitter messages supporting Black Lives Matter.
- The company has also announced that they have chosen to delay their June 4th PS5 games event, saying “we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.”
- Further, the company posted on their PlayStation Instagram page, “We denounce systemic racism and violence against the Black community. We will continue to work towards a future marked by empathy and inclusion and stand with our Black creators, players, employees, families, and friends. #BlackLivesMatter.”
- “Apple CEO Tim Cook announced unknown donations would be made by the company to organizations including the Equal Justice Initiative, ‘a non-profit committed to challenging racial injustice.'”
- On Twitter, CEO Tim Cook recently said “justice is how we heal”.
- During previous peak times of racial unrest in the United States, Apple has also stepped up to show their support for the black community. For example, after the Charlottsville protests, Tim Cook sent a note out to the company which said which condemned hate and bigotry in the country and pledged for the company to donate $1 million to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League.
- Apple has also used its powers to block “three white nationalist websites that sold clothing with Nazi logos, ‘White Pride’ T-shirts, and a bumper sticker of a car plowing into protesters from using Apple Pay.”
- Nike stood in support of SF 49ers quarterback, Colin Kapernick in 2018 via a campaign.
- A few days ago Nike posted an antiracism campaign on their Instagram.
- Nike has aligned itself with the Black Lives Matter movement, according to the NY Times.
6: Levi Strauss
- “Levi’s is donating $100,000 to the ACLU and a further $100,000 to the mass incarceration campaign group Live Free USA.”
- The Levi Strauss Foundation has made various efforts in support of black communities, such as the publication of Voices: Pioneers in Justice.
- Fila donated $100,000 to the Black Lives Matter movement.
- On Instagram, Fila made the following statement: “We will not remain silent in the face of injustice. Today and every day we stand in solidarity with the Black community and we will use our voice to support as you have always supported us.”
- The company also used their Instagram account to promote various ways in which followers can take action and used the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.
- YouTube pledged $1 million dollars in support of social justice causes.
- On Twitter, the brand recently posted the following statement: “We stand in solidarity against racism and violence. When members of our community hurt, we all hurt.”
9: Ben & Jerry’s
- Ben & Jerry’s took a public stand in support of the Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson several years ago.
- In 2019, the brand launched a campaign to help bail black mothers out of jail for Mother’s Day.
- Ben & Jerry’s recently used the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag on Twitter.
10: WarnerMedia Brands
- WarnerMedia’s brands (e.g. HBO, TBS) recently “changed their Twitter names to #BlackLivesMatter and quoted the black novelist James Baldwin: ‘Neither love nor terror makes one blind: indifference makes one blind.'”
- WarnerMedia introduced the industry’s first Diversity and Inclusion policy in 2018, and the company states they have always been committed to diversity and inclusion as a moral.
How Companies in the U.S. Are Working to Combat Racism (Non-Financially)
Trend 1: Becoming Publicly and Directly Vocal
- Although American companies tend to shy away from addressing political issues for fear of creating controversy among their consumer base, recent years have seen pressure from the public wanting to hear where company leaders stand on important issues. This has become a trend according to marketing expert, Americus Reed of the Wharton School.
- Reed has proposed that taking a stand is beneficial to companies, not only because doing so has moral value, but also because it’s a chance for them to stand out from their competition using something other than product function.
- Aside from the companies that have spoken out against racism in the 10 examples featured above, companies have also spoken out to condemn racist acts in the past.
- After the 2017 Charlottsville protests, General Electric stated that the company has “no tolerance for hate, bigotry or racism,” further noting: “We strongly condemn the violent extremism in Charlottsville over the weekend.”
Trend 2: Reaffirming Their Brand Identity and Aligning With Movements
- To help fight racism, many companies have been aligning themselves with movements that support antiracist causes. This trend can be seen recently, as shown above, by the number of prominent companies that have aligned themselves with the Black Lives Matter Movement.
- Similarly, companies that have been affiliated with racism due to unintentional proximity in the past have made public statements against racism and against the use of their products in relation to racist. Specific examples of this are shown below, which provide further illustration of this trend
- Tiki Brand denounced any support for white nationalists after the group marched in Charlottsville carrying Tiki torches (images of which went viral around the world). In a statement, Tiki reaffirmed their brand identity in an effort to distance themselves from the march, noting “Tiki Brand is not associated in any way with the events that took place in Charlottsville and are deeply saddened and disappointed. We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way.”
- The Detroit Red Wings did something similar when they responded to white supremacist protesters who carried signs that had a version of the hockey team’s logo. The Red Wings stated: “The Detroit Red Wings vehemently disagree with and are not associated in any way with the event taking place today in Charlottsville, Virginia. The Red Wings believe that Hockey is for everyone and we celebrate the great diversity of our fan base and our nation. We are exploring every possible legal action as it pertains to the misuse of our logo in this disturbing demonstration.”
Trend 3: Using Their Power to Silence Racism
- Many companies have taken to using their power to help fight racism by preventing racist organizations from using their services.