While many companies use rainbow colors on their merchandise to give us lip service, monetize pride, and still support anti-LGBTQ initiatives or politicians, Microsoft is owning up to this mistake.
The tech company came under fire earlier this year for supporting anti-LGBTQ politicians. But after prodding from LGBTQ rights group Zero for Zeros, which tries to get companies to lower support for lawmakers who got a zero rating on “Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for the past two sessions of Congress,” Microsoft is changing its ways.
Microsoft’s CVP, US Government Affairs, Fred Humphries Jr. released a memo to internal employees saying that the company will not only stop funding anti-gay politicians but creating a new council to oversee future relations with lawmakers.
“First, we are creating new advisory councils based on Employee Resource Groups and geographies to increase dialogue and transparency. These groups will play a role similar to the PAC’s Advisory Council, which provides feedback to the Operating Committee on their approach to contributions. We will announce the formation of the groups later this summer.”
But know that the defunding of support given to anti-gay lawmakers won’t happen overnight.
“Second, while we take some time to align operations, I’ve implemented a brief hiatus for political contributions that began July 1 and will be in effect until the fall,” explained Humphries. “Employees should anticipate one additional disclosure that will show the following contributions through the end of June. This giving reflects contributions to a bipartisan group of lawmakers on their work with us on a range of company priorities, including immigration and equality [!!], and policies to promote privacy, climate [!], trade and the Cloud.”
Lastly, Humphries explained that there will be more transparencies and open communication about Microsoft’s donations and contributions to politics.
“Third, moving forward, you can look forward to more communication from CELA, and from me personally, about the MSPAC’s political giving. As a reminder, employees can engage on Yammer and advertised in-person meetings around campus to learn more about the MSPAC. Additionally, the MSPAC website provides regular updates on events and related activities.”
To Zero for Zeros, this was an acceptable move by the company. Lane Hudson, the campaign manager said as much in a statement to the Washington Blade.
“Microsoft was the first company that engaged with Zero for Zeros in good faith. We discussed their concerns, they heard ours and their employees weighed in. We are thrilled that they have responded to our campaign.”
He then added, “Their plan looks strong and may ultimately be a model for how other companies can ensure that politicians that undermine the values of a company and its employees do not receive the support of their corporate PACs.”