Following the backlash from Disney employees, Comcast NBCUniversal employees are concerned that their company’s political action committee supports politicians who advance anti-LGBTQIA+ causes.
More than 300 employees have signed a petition calling for Comcast Corp. donations. and NBCUniversal PAC to candidates who supported Florida legislation banning classroom instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation from kindergarten through third grade, according to an employee who signed the petition and declined to be named because that the person was not authorized to speak on the matter. The legislation has been dubbed by opponents as the “Don’t Say Gay Bill”.
“For the diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace and world to which Comcast/NBCUniversal publicly declares allegiance, we ask that these antithetical gifts be recognized, internally and externally, and that the company commit to reassessing the criteria used. to make political donations accordingly,” the petition reads.
NBCUniversal declined to comment on the employees’ request in the petition.
The effort comes the month before Pride, when many companies are touting their support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Some employees believe political donations undermine NBCUniversal and Comcast’s efforts to be more inclusive, supporting candidates who infringe on LGBTQIA+ rights.
Since the murder of George Floyd, employees at a wide variety of companies have spoken out and pushed their employers to pledge to support diverse or marginalized communities. Over the past year, media companies such as Disney and Netflix have come under fire from their employees for their handling of issues related to the LGBTQIA+ community. For example, last fall, Netflix employees walked out after raising concerns about transphobic language used in Dave Chappelle’s comedy special.
Comcast/NBCUniversal employees said in their petition that they believe the company’s political action committee gave $92,000 to supporters of the ‘Don’t Say Gay and Trans’ bill, citing the site. Web Popular Information, run by Judd Legum, who had worked for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
The company’s PAC paid $13,000 from 2012 to 2016 to Ron DeSantis, who in March signed the bill as governor of Florida, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Employees met with NBCUniversal Diversity Director Craig Robinson and other executives in the spring about their concerns and those who supported the effort encouraged other staff members to sign the petition that circulated after the meeting to indicate how many people felt the same way, according to an employee. who signed the petition but declined to be named because the person was not authorized to speak on the subject.
Comcast and NBCUniversal have taken public stances in support of diversity and inclusion. In 2020, Comcast committed $100 million over three years “to address injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability.”
NBCUniversal, which launched ‘Will and Grace’ – the first sitcom with gay main characters – was among a group of companies that signed the Human Rights Campaign Trade Statement Against Anti-LGBTQ Legislation of the state, Robinson said in a March note on International Transgender Day Visibility. The company has 70,000 employees.
“This action builds on our longstanding support for equality, including in 2021 when Comcast NBCUniversal joined the business coalition in favor of the Equality Act, and the amicus briefs we signed in the U.S. Supreme Court advancing anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ workers and advocate for marriage equality in 2019 and 2015, respectively,” Robinson wrote.
But employees who signed the petition said those efforts were undermined by the company’s PAC donations. It seems hypocritical for the company to have a message that says “we support these marginalized communities and they are actively working to harm these communities,” said an employee who signed the petition.
Times researcher Scott Wilson contributed to this report.