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The Staggering Hypocrisy of Woke Corporations

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

It's June 1, which means it's pride month — one marked predominantly by woke corporations pretending to be supportive of inclusivity by changing their brand image to rainbow pride logos and bragging about how diverse and equitable they are by trotting out any supposedly marginalized employees as proof of their virtue. 

Elon Musk even poked fun at the phenomenon.

But it's little more than woke virtue signaling that is immediately contradicted by many of these rainbow-splattered companies' own operations in countries that criminalize homosexuality.

American Airlines, like clockwork, changed its logo and branding to the pride flag Wednesday. But they have a partnership with state-owned Qatar Airways — a nation where same-sex relationships are criminalized. American is also partnered with Malaysia Airlines, Moroccan government-owned Royal Air Maroc, Sri Lankan Airlines, and Etihad Airways — all of which are flag carriers of, or have part of whole ownership by, governments that criminalize homosexuality. While American airlines changed its logo to a rainbow, unsurprisingly, none of its partner airlines did. 

That hypocrisy — silence bought through fear of angering countries that outlaw homosexuality — is common among woke corporations. BMW, Mercedes, Uber, and Coca-Cola are all among the companies that selectively signal their virtue...because they need to make money in countries where being gay is illegal and, therefore, can't actually take a stand for equal rights. 

The Walt Disney Company — which bungled its way into two losses when it came to lobbying the Florida state legislature earlier this year that resulted in the company losing its special district status for Disney World — chose woke gender politics as its hill to die on. And while the company fired its public affairs executive and continues to speak out against what it considers discriminatory policies, the company is still a massive hypocrite profiting off of and enriching countries where being gay will land a person in prison for up to more than ten years. In addition to its entertainment portfolio and theme parks, Disney has a cruise line. Depending on how much travelers are willing to spend and how many days they're willing to travel, Disney's cruises can include ports of call in Dominica, Antigua, Jamaica, Barbados, Saint Lucia, and Saint Kitts — all places where homosexuality is criminalized. Like, for real — not the marginalization Disney and its woke media lapdogs made Florida's parental rights legislation out to be. The company's streaming platform, Disney+, is expanding its offerings to include other countries in the Middle East, such as Qatar, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia — again, all where homosexuality is literally against the law and punishable by imprisonment and death.

The BASF Corporation — headquartered in Germany with operations in scores of countries — signed on to a Human Rights Campaign letter opposing what they call "anti-LGBTQ state legislation" in the United States. "Diversity and inclusion are fundamental to BASF's values," said Patricia Rossman, the company's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer said. "As a major employer, our success depends on a safe and welcoming work environment where people of all backgrounds feel supported to do their best work." How nice. Why, then, does BASF have operations at multiple sites in Iran, UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia? The only country BASF does business in, according to its "Middle East" page, in which homosexuality is not criminalized, is Israel. BASF lists operations in the following African countries in which same-sex relationships are criminalized as well: Kenya, Algeria, Nigeria, Morocco, Egypt, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Tunisia, Zambia, and Libya. BASF also lists locations in Uzbekistan, Jamaica, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Despite having all these locations — and profiting from — these countries where homosexuality is criminalized, BASF's diversity czar still had the gall to claim, "We can't attract and develop great talent in one state or community and not have those individuals feel supported in another location due to varying laws and protections." 

Even more hypocritically — and proving how utterly useless the Human Rights Campaign (and its Foundation) are when it comes to equal rights for LGBT individuals — IBM's 2021 annual report brags about how it received a 100 percent rating from HRC as a "Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality." Yet even just a cursory search of its website turns up offices and operations in more of the same countries where being homosexual is illegal: Qatar, UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Morocco...the list goes on and on. It doesn't add up for a company that is both profiting off of and employing people in countries where being gay is criminalized should be able to claim the mantle of being the "best place to work for LGBTQ+ equality." 

Lush Cosmetics — which has locations in UAE, Malaysia, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait — has said it is proud of "providing an inclusive workplace environment for our LGBTQ employees and their families," but a look at its websites in the regions mentioned above provide a very different experience than their woke U.S. virtue signaling. Currently, the U.S. site for the company has a "Pride 2022" section bragging about the company's "radical acceptance," something that doesn't appear on their Saudi Arabia-specific site...where there is a different kind of "radical" in play: criminalized homosexuality punishable by death. But that's not enough to keep Lush from making money from the Sharia law-following regimes. 

Nearly every corporation seen embracing pride in June plays by these double standards. Their virtue signaling is nothing more than surface-deep pandering aimed at capitalizing on favorable puff pieces from similarly woke mainstream media companies and assuming the image of tolerance and inclusivity when it can help them profit or join the Democrat chorus criticizing conservatives for their supposedly discriminatory views. But those same companies look the other way when their foreign enterprises rely on their going along with local laws that actually harm the communities they claim to champion. 


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