As the culture changes, many corporations they must change with it in order to avoid backlash, boycotts, and even vandalism or looting. Those that fail to do so are likely to face consequences. Here’s how corporate America is dealing with the current social and political upheaval in America.
Courts Will Hear Racism And Discrimination Case Against Netflix – July 16, 2020
Netflix is being taken to court by comedian Monique Hicks who says that when Netflix offered her $500,000 for her standup special in 2017 it was not only an insult but illegal. A judge just denied Netflix’s motion to throw the case out of court, and now it’s moving forward.
The lawsuit in question accuses Netflix of opening negotiations with a lowball offer and then threatening to blacklist Monique if she didn’t take it. How exactly they’d enforce a blacklisting is unclear, given that she could simply have taken it to somewhere like Amazon (as other comedians have) and there’s nothing they could have done about it.
In a statement issued today the judge said of his decision to reject the Netflix motion to throw out the case: “Mo’Nique plausibly alleges that, after she spoke out and called her initial offer discriminatory, Netflix retaliated against her by shutting down its standard practice of negotiating in good faith that typically results in increased monetary compensation beyond the ‘opening offer’ and denying her increased compensation as a result.”
Redskins Give In To Pressure, Change Their Name – July 13, 2020
The Washington Redskins have been under pressure to change their name for decades now, but the NFL team has staunchly ignored the outcries against their moniker. But now they’ve reversed course and announced they will indeed change the team name.
In the past the NFL defended the Redskins name by saying it was intended as a positive. After all, nobody names their team after something they don’t think is awesome. And while that’s true, unlike other teams named after Native Americans, Redskins is a direct reference to their skin color and in some circles considered a racial slur. Most people have less of a problem with team names like the Atlanta Braves or the Kansas City Chiefs.
So the Washington Redskins are changing their name and no one is really sure what they’ll change it to. The team hasn’t chosen a new name yet, only announced they won’t be the Redskins anymore. Given that the Redskins are based on Washington D.C. something more patriotic might be in order. The Washington Lincolns has a nice ring to it and their cheerleaders could all be required to wear stove pipe hats.
It’ll take time to complete the name change. For now the team’s website is still Redskins.com and they are referred to on the NFL official docs as the Redskins. Expect all that to go away over the next few months.
Jimmy John’s Facing Boycotts Over Noose Video – July 6, 2020
While for many people the image of a noose makes them think of Clint Eastwood westerns, for a others it immediately reminds them of racist lynchings. So tying a rope in a noose like fashion has become a hot button issue. Things got even more complicated recently when NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace claimed someone left a noose in his garage. Wallace’s claim later turned out to be false, the thing he thought was a noose was merely a rope pull on his garage door which had been there since before he moved in.
And now there’s this…
The Jimmy John’s employees in the video appear to be mocking the whole notion of nooses by making them out of bread. It’s exactly the kind of thing you might expect dumb teenage boys of any ethnicity to do, but as you’d also expect they’ve all been fired.
Firing them isn’t enough for activists though, who are now launching boycotts against the sandwich chain. Here’s just a sampling of some of what’s being said by offended former customers…
Disney Pressured To Rename Captain America: Civil War – June 28, 2020
Early last week activists decided the term “civil war” was racist and have embarked on a campaign to get it scrubbed from the lexicon. One of the biggest targets in their crosshairs is one of Marvel’s biggest and best movies, Captain America: Civil War.
A Twitter campaign has been launched by Cancel Culture activists is aimed at getting Disney/Marvel to change the name of the film. Here’s the basis of their argument…
Of course those of you with an even passing familiarity with the dictionary probably know the term “civil war” isn’t specifically something tied to the American Civil War, rather its a term meant to denote two internal factions are fighting, as opposed to external factions (which would be a normal war). It’s an accurate description of what’s going on in Captain America: Civil War.
That said, don’t be surprised of Marvel changes the name, going forward, just to keep from being protested by people who don’t share the dictionary accurate interpretation.
Hulu Bans An Episode Of The Golden Girls – June 28, 2020
Hulu has removed an episode of The Golden Girls called “Mixed Blessings” in which Blanche and Rose wear mud masks. More details on the banning of this episode here.
Rhode Island Changes Its Name – June 24, 2020
Rhode Island is noteworthy primarily for being the smallest state in the United States of America. But another item of note is that it wasn’t named Rhode Island. The state’s official name, the one used on all their official documents, was actually “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations”. I’m using past tense here, because this morning they changed it.
The state has changed its name because it believes the “and Providence Plantations” is a grim reminder of their past involvement in the slave trade. Going forward the state’s name will officially be “Rhode Island”, which is probably what it should have been all along.
Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo said in her announcement, “This morning I signed an executive order removing the phrase Providence Plantations from gubernatorial orders and citations, all executive branch agency websites, all official correspondence, and state employee pay stubs and paychecks… We can’t ignore the image conjured by the word ‘plantation,’… We can’t ignore how painful that is for Black Rhode Islanders to see that and have to see that as part of their state’s name.”
Wizards Of The Coast Removes Racism From Dungeons & Dragons – June 23, 2020
The tabletop gaming company Wizards of the Coast has announced they are modifying their games and in some cases banning elements of them, in order to better comply with shifting cultural norms around the topic of race.
Here’s what they’re changing about the venerable classic role playing game Dungeons & Dragons according to their official announcement…
- Orcs and drow are now as morally and culturally sophisticated as other people. Future books will reflect that they can make human decisions and not necessarily play villainous stereotypes.
- With every D&D book reprinted, WotC will change the racially insensitive text. The company listed “Tomb of Annihilation” and “Curse of Strahd” as examples.
- A new product (not yet announced) will offer a way for players to customize their character’s origin, including the option to change the ability score increases that come from different races. This option emphasizes that each person in the game is an individual with their capabilities.
- “Curse of Strahd,” featured the Vistani culture and heroine Ezmerelda. However, the depictions were too similar to the real Romani people, thus being entirely offensive. The company is working with a Romani consultant to reduce the stereotypes in these Ravenloft setting books.
- The company will incorporate sensitivity readers into their creative process before publication. Some fans found insensitive materials in two of the recent D&D books.
- The company announced to strive for diversity in its staff and freelance writers in the future. By adding a new culture, it will change the way of D&D storytelling forever.
Taco Bell Cancelled For Refusing To Let Employees Promote BLM – June 18, 2020
While Taco Bell has in the past been popular with activists, that ended today when a video surfaced. The one-minute clip allegedly shows a Taco Bell employee being fired for refusing to take off a face mask that says “Black Lives Matter” on it while he’s at work. Here’s the video…
In response to the video #RIPTacoBell became the top trending topic on Twitter with users vowing never to visit any Taco Bell ever again and in some cases making threats like this against the store that allegedly fired the employee…
In response Taco Bell has issued this statement: “We believe Black Lives Matter. We were disappointed to learn about the incident that took place in Youngstown, OH. We take this very seriously; we have been working closely with our franchisee that operates this location to address the issue. Our Chief People Officer and Yum!’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer spoke with Denzel last week to apologize and discuss the situation. Our goal is to ensure our policies are inclusive and keep our team members and customers safe. While our policies at restaurants do not prohibit Team Members from wearing Black Lives Matter masks, we are working to clarify our mask policy so this doesn’t happen again.”
It’s worth noting that when Wendy’s received similar backlash from activists a few days ago, shortly thereafter some of their locations were indeed burned and looted.
CBS Tries To Cash In Using Star Trek
Captain Picard Day is on June 16, 2020 so you’d think if you were going to stage a Star Trek event it would be on that day, but instead CBS has decided to push one on June 17th. On this day they’re donating $1 to Black Lives Matter organizations for every person who tweets #StarTrekUnitedGives.
They’ve also curated a series of Star Trek episodes which they believe are culturally relevant, as recommended viewing during this time.. Here’s the list…
Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 3 Episode 10, “Plato’s Stepchildren”
Platonians use psychokinetic power to toy with the crew.
Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 1 Episode 25, “The Devil In The Dark”
An unknown monster threatens a critical mining operation.
Star Trek: The Original Series, Season 3 Episode 15, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”
Two survivors of a devastated planet remain committed to destroying one another.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 2 Episode 9, “The Measure Of A Man”
When Data (Brent Spiner) refuses to be disassembled for research purposes, Picard (Patrick Stewart) is enlisted to defend his rights in court.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 3 Episode 7, “The Enemy”
After Geordi (LeVar Burton) is stranded on a storm-ravaged planet, the crew’s attempts to rescue him are hindered by an aggressive Romulan warship.
Star Trek: The Next Generation, Season 4 Episode 21, “The Drumhead”
A search for a spy aboard the Enterprise turns into a witch-hunt in which Picard is implicated as a traitor.
Star Trek: Voyager, Season 4 Episode 4, “Nemesis”
When Chakotay (Robert Beltran) is stranded on a planet that is in the middle of a major war, he violates the Prime Directive by helping the soldiers that discover him.
Star Trek: Voyager, Season 3 Episode 6, “Remember”
After Voyager encounters a telepathic species, B’Elanna (Roxann Dawson) starts having powerful dreams that depict the life of a woman and her lover in a time of great political and social upheaval.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 6 Episode 13, “Far Beyond The Stars”
Sisko (Avery Brooks) has visions of himself and his crew as writers for a science fiction paper in 1950’s Earth.
Star Trek: Discovery, Season 2 Episode 6, “The Sounds of Thunder”
When a new signal appears over Saru’s (Doug Jones) home planet, Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green), Saru, and the crew embark on a perilous mission that puts Saru in danger and raises questions about the Red Angel’s intentions. Hugh (Wilson Cruz) struggles to come to terms with his new reality.
Star Trek: Picard, Season 1 Episode 1, “Remembrance”
At the end of the 24th Century, and 14 years after his retirement from Starfleet, Jean-Luc Picard is living a quiet life on his vineyard, Chateau Picard. When he is sought out by a mysterious young woman, Dahj (Isa Briones), in need of his help, he soon realizes she may have personal connections to his own past.
Star Trek: Picard, Season 1 Episode 2, “Maps And Legends”
Picard begins investigating the mystery of Dahj as well as what her very existence means to the Federation. Without Starfleet’s support, Picard is left to lean on others for help, including Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill) and an estranged former colleague, Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd). Meanwhile, hidden enemies are also interested in where Picard’s search for the truth about Dahj will lead.
Star Trek: Picard, Season 1 Episode 3, “The End Is The Beginning”
Completely unaware of her special nature, Soji continues her work and captures the attention of the Borg cube research project’s executive director. After rehashing past events with a reluctant Raffi, Picard seeks others willing to join his search for Bruce Maddox, including pilot and former Starfleet officer Cristóbal Rios (Santiago Cabrera).
The fact that this list finishes with the first three episodes of Star Trek: Picard should tell you what’s really going on here. This is really all just a scheme to get people interested in Star Trek: Picard and signing up for CBS All Access subscriptions.
It’s also worth noting that a lot of these Star Trek episodes are really terrible. There are a few great ones on there, like “Devil in the Dark” and “Far Beyond the Stars”, but any Voyager episode focused on Chakotay should always be an automatic skip. Of all the Star Trek series, Deep Space Nine is probably the one most relevant to what’s going on today and somehow they’ve only included one episode from it.
I wonder if Black Lives Matter will notice that CBS is using them to pump up viewership for their poorly received Picard series?
Domino’s Pizza Fails To Predict The Future, Gets Boycotted
Back in 2012 a young woman tweeted this to Domino’s Pizza: “FUN FACT: @dominos is wayyyy better than any NYC pizza.” Whoever it was that manned Domino’s Twitter account eight years ago politely responded back, “That’s one heck of a compliment! Thanks for the love! #WEAPPRECIATEIT!”
The person who sent the Tweet was Kayleigh McEnany, a name you now know as President Trump’s Whitehouse Press Secretary. But back in 2012 when she sent the Tweet, she was just some random college kid who liked to tweet about politics a lot.
Now Domino’s is facing backlash and boycotts because they thanked Kayleigh for her tweet 8 years ago.
Sound insane? Maybe it is, but it’s not just because of Kayleigh’s current day associations that people are mad at Domino’s for being polite to her. Apparently even back in 2012 she was a staunch conservative and used to tweet things about the birther movement. I guess activists believe that Domino’s should have checked her Twitter history for anything that might offend people in a far off future before saying “thanks”.
Honestly, I’m not sure that’s a reasonable standard to hold anyone to, much less the media person at a national corporation responding to hundreds of tweets a day and without a working time machine to travel into the future and see what people might some day be offended by. That hasn’t stopped the boycott plans, however, and Domino’s Pizza is now the top trending topic on Twitter with people are lashing like this…
If this trend continues, expect to see corporations abandon Twitter altogether as the risk becomes greater than the potential reward of communicating with their costumers.
Facebook Draws A Line In The Sand
Facebook, often at the center of online controversy generated by people on Twitter who don’t use it, is now in the spotlight again for firing an employee. This particular employee, named Brandon Dail, claims he was fired for complaining when a fellow employee refused to add a statement supporting Black Lives Matter to development docs for a piece of software.
Reportedly Dail publicly scolded the fellow employee and in his statement on Twitter he confirmed as much by saying, “Intentionally not making a statement is already political.”
Brandon Dail was also part of a group of a dozen or so Facebook engineers who walked off the job in protest on June 1st, in part to complain about Facebook’s failure to censor President Trump’s posts. He further publicly attacked Facebook after the company refused to accede to his demands by tweeting, “Trump’s attack on Martin Gugino is despicable and a clear violation [of] Facebook’s anti-harassment rules. It’s again extremely disappointing that we (and Twitter) haven’t removed it,”
Facebook has so far refused to comment on their move to protect the employee Dail attempted to publicly shame, at the expense of Brandon Dail’s job.
Starbucks Gives Employees Black Lives Matter Uniforms
The latest corporation to struggle with whether to conform to the demands of current culture is Starbucks, where they initially refused to allow their employees to wear clothing supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Setting a dress code for employees is nothing new. They also don’t let their employees wear advertisements for other political parties. If a Barista wanted to wear a MAGA hat he or she would have been asked to take it off. If an employee wanted to wear a Bernie Sanders t-shirt or a Bros for Biden pin, they would have had them take that off too.
However, what Starbucks was slow to realize is that giving full support to Black Lives Matter is beyond politics, it is now a cultural requirement to function in a polite society. So when word went out that Starbucks wasn’t letting their employees wear BLM slogans and gear, the backlash was vicious.
It may be that part of Starbuck motivation behind the ban was their recent emphasis on moving their stores out of cities and focusing more on small town environments where, in some cases, there isn’t yet a consensus of support for BLM among the population. The company previously announced they are closing 400 stores, almost all of them in large cities. Many other companies are doing the same, WalMart and Target for instance, are pulling out of major cities after having their stores looted and vandalized without any response to protect their investment from big city law enforcement.
However, after a mere 24 hours of social media attacks Starbucks caved and not only reversed course on allowing their employees to wear Black Lives Matter advertisements, they started making their own. They’ve created a Starbucks version of a BLM t-shirt that they’re distributing to employees should those employees wish to support BLM.
Here’s what the new shirt looks like…
It’s safe to assume that this t-shirt will now become the new Starbucks uniform for all Starbucks employees, since it is no longer socially acceptable not to give your full support to BLM. The social pressure to wear the new Black Lives Matter shirt will now be huge for all employees of Starbucks, and hopefully they’ll all have the wisdom needed to loudly proclaim they’ve joined the movement… or else.
#WendysIsOverParty – Jun 2, 2020
#WendysIsOverParty is the top trending topic on Twitter, on a day where the nation has been wracked by violence and destruction in nearly every major city overnight. Why is it trending? Because James Bodenstedt, a billionaire who owns hundreds of Wendy’s franchises, recently donated more than $400,000 to Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Bodenstedt also owns hundreds of Taco Bell and Pizza Hut franchises, but for some reason the Twitter hive mind has decided to focus on Wendy’s. It’s worth pointing out that Bodenstedt isn’t even CEO of Wendy’s corporate. He’s just a guy who owns a bunch of individual franchises. That won’t stop people from attacking Wendy’s in general, though.
Given that Twitter has been the staging ground for many of the most violent protests in the United States, if you own a Wendy’s franchise it’s probably a good idea to get your employees out and board up your windows early tonight.
Here’s some of the lunatic things people are currently saying as part of the social media campaign to cancel Wendy’s…