Mastercard received praise today for its sponsorship of the installation of a New York City street sign as part of its mission to show that "acceptance matters" for all kinds of people, regardless of their sexual orientation. However, it seems for the American corporate credit card service that acceptance does not extend beyond our nation's borders. The company is willing to partner with the Qatari government-owned airline but ignores the fact that homosexuality is illegal in the Middle Eastern nation and in some cases is even punishable by death.
Mastercard, in partnership with the New York City Commission on Human Rights, unveiled a Manhattan street sign showing the pantheon of the LGBTQIAP+ community, that changed the nicknamed "Gay Street" into one that shows "acceptance matters."
"This installation is a literal sign that everyone deserves to be accepted no matter what," the government organization tweeted.
"A great initiative by @Mastercard Thank you so much!" one person tweeted in appreciation.
But, Mastercard's street sign initiative is overshadowed by the fact it is in partnership with the government-owned Qatar Airways airline. Certain Mastercard users are able to access discounted tickets and more as part of the "Qatar Airways Privilege Club."
"As a World Elite Mastercard cardholder, receive a complimentary upgrade to Gold tier in Qatar Airways Privilege Club and enjoy top-tier benefits with Qatar Airways," the company's website reads.
Mastercard also does business with nine other banks in Qatar. However, contrary to the "acceptance matters" philosophy promoted by the credit card company today, the Qatari government "criminalizes 'sodomy,' punishing same-sex relations with imprisonment between one to three years. Muslims convicted of zina (sex outside of marriage) can also be sentenced to flogging (if unmarried) or the death penalty (if married). Non-Muslims can be sentenced to imprisonment," according to the Human Rights Watch.
HRW also notes that other companies, such as the New York Times, alter their typical business standards in order to comply with Qatar's laws on LGBT issues. "Throughout 2018, private publishing partners in Qatar, including the partner of the New York Times, censored numerous articles that touched on LGBT topics, in line with the country’s anti-LGBT laws," the website notes.
In a statement given to Townhall, a spokesperson for Mastercard said the idea for the sign was created "after a lot of thought around how we could truly recognize the entirety of the LGBTGIA+ community and champion the power of acceptance."
"We worked with the NYC Commission on Human Rights to create 'Acceptance Street' – showcasing the importance of supporting inclusiveness for all, whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, non-binary, pansexual or two-spirit," Mastercard's representative continued.
"Through the installation of this sign on the iconic corner in the West Village where Christopher Street meets Gay Street, we will celebrate the diversity of identities and expressions within the LGBTQIA+ community and bring to the forefront historically marginalized groups within the LGBTQIA+ movement," the spokesperson said.
Despite saying that "Acceptance Street will now be a literal sign of support from the New York City Commission on Human Rights and Mastercard that all are welcome and accepted," the spokesperson for Mastercard did not answer a follow up question asking how Mastercard justified its business partnerships with Qatar in its efforts to 'champion the power of acceptance and the importance of supporting inclusiveness for all, whether you’re gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, non-binary, pansexual or two-spirit.'"
This story will be updated if Mastercard responds.