For Immediate Release: Thursday, January 14, 2021
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Racial Justice Groups Name “Fascist Four” Corporations that Enabled Capitol Attack: Amazon, Google, Blackstone and Fidelity
Activists demand Wall Street-Backers of 1/6 Capitol Attack Cut Ties, Divest
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Nationwide — Today, the Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) and other grassroots organizations held a press call unveiling their actions to hold wealthy corporations accountable for the deadly attack on the Capitol last Wednesday. Corporations including Amazon, Blackstone, Fidelity, and Google have supported and enabled dangerous white supremacist actors and rhetoric on their platforms, and organizers are demanding these corporations admit responsibility for their role in enabling the attempted coup, giving the fascist politicians and organizations a platform, and act to repair the violence they helped cause.
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“We are here today because our democracy has been under attack by armed white supremacists, thanks to wealthy corporations that support, bankroll, and enable racist politicians and are furthering the rise of fascism,” said Saqib Bhatti, Co-Executive Director at ACRE. “Blackstone and Fidelity need to stop helping fund fascits and white supremacists, and Amazon and Google need to stop giving a megaphone to every neo-Nazi with a conspiracy theory.”
“White supremacists’ growing numbers are no secret,” said Sasha Hammad, Organizer at Athena. “Many alt-right groups rely on Amazon Web Services to host their sites, allowing the spread of hateful propaganda online. They also allow customers to donate a portion of proceeds to hate groups through their AmazonSmile program.
“Amazon knew Parler was rife with hate speech and conspiracy theories well before the Capitol Riot. Removing Parler after death and destruction shows Amazon only intervenes after an act of violence has already occurred. We demand Amazon adopt and enforce policies preventing selling racist merchandise, music or propaganda; and stop allowing donations to hate groups.
It’s a simple choice. Either Amazon can allow these groups to grow, or choose to disassociate from the groups to save our democracy.”
“Google owns YouTube, a key propagation tool for fascist movement building worldwide,” said Maurice BP-Weeks, Co-Executive Director at ACRE.
“YouTube lets known bigots monetize their videos by placing ads on them. Right now, supporters of last week’s insurrection are using YouTube’s platform to fundraise off live video footage taken during the Capitol riots. Although YouTube has disallowed Trump from posting videos, they have not taken down his channel. We call on Youtube to not allow racists to monetize hate, and remove the platforms of politicians who incited the violence.”
“The events of January 6th are a call to action for every sector of society to stand up to hate and division,” said Anna Fink, Executive Director of the Amalgamated Foundation. “A growing number of corporations are re-considering their support for elected politicians who actively encouraged and supported the insurrection and its goal of over-turning the certified results of the national election. We applaud these decisions to deny future funding for these officials, but de-funding rogue politicians is not sufficient to restore democracy to our country.
“We invite corporations and philanthropies to join us in standing up to hate and redirecting their resources to rebuilding our democracy. There are local organizations in every state working tirelessly everyday to protect, reform, and preserve our democracy.”
“Fidelity Investments’ charitable arm is the largest charity in the country, and through their massive amounts of donor-advised fund providers, they fuel right-wing movements that lead white supremacy and helped create the environment that ushered the attack on the U.S. Capitol,” said Fatema Ahmad, Executive Director of Muslim Justice League, a member of the Unmasking Fidelity Coalition. “I have faced this right-wing violence at a personal level, and I know individuals committing acts of racist violence, like those at Christchurch and Charlottesville, are all doing so because of systems fueled by institutions like Fidelity,” “Fidelity knows our demands. We’ve met with them in the past, and yet they’ve decided to continue business as usual and to not filter out these white supremacist groups.”We demand Fidelity stop funding fascism, and call on them to ensure no more dollars flow to hate groups.”
“Steven Shawarzman, CEO of the Blackstone Group, played a critical role supporting Trump enablers,” said Ricardo Valadez, Americans for Financial Reform. “Blackstone affiliates donated more than 60 million dollars to Republicans since Trump started running for President in 2015, including to the members of Congress who voted against certifying Biden’s electoral votes.
“Following the election, Shawarzman participated in a call to promote Trump’s conspiracy theories, and supported the Georgia SuperPAC after it became clear that Trump would dispute the count. We demand Blackstone halt all donations to Republicans until everyone who encouraged the insurrection is held to account and removed from office.”
Yesterday, 41 grassroots groups sent letters to the CEOs of these corporations with various demands. Groups sent another letter this morning to 30 of the largest public pension fund managers and 18 foundation presidents in the U.S., demanding they refuse to do any future business with Blackstone or Fidelity unless they agree to the demands listed, as well as letters to 20 major colleges and universities asking them to cut ties with Amazon, Blackstone, Fidelity, and Google until the corporations agree to the demands listed.
In 2019, Action Center on Race and the Economy released a report on the role Wall Street and big tech continue to play in fueling anti-Muslim violence.
In 2018, Action Center on Race and the Economy released a report on how Amazon’s platforms are used to fuel racism.
The Action Center on Race and the Economy (ACRE) is a campaign hub for organizations working at the intersection of racial justice and corporate accountability.