"Who’s up to no good?"
That’s the question that users will receive when attempting to input data into a new database that will allow them to search for companies that support causes such as insurrectionists, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-choice, and anti-voting rights movements. The tool is particularly useful for those who want to see what companies who show their Pride in June do the rest of the year.
As part of the Accountable for Equality Action, a watchdog organization that monitors organizations’ activities to measure corporate allyship and corporate donations, the Real Allies Database maintains information that tracks donations to extremist politicians.
In the past few months, there have been many incidents related to anti-LGBTQ rhetoric, hearings on January 6, a Supreme Court ruling gutting reproductive rights, and several shots fired at contraception, access to PrEP, marriage equality, the federal election, and equality for women. This database, according to AFEA, is a result of this summer of turmoil.
More than $143 million have been donated to state legislators’ campaigns, and they have pushed some of the most extreme and controversial policies in state legislatures for decades, AFEA data shows. Also, according to the AFEA, over 130,000 corporate contributions support 1,000 legislators who support legislation that minimizes the rights of a large section of the population.
According to the Real Allies Database, Anheuser-Busch and its subsidiaries contributed $235,449 to 182 state legislators who were listed as co-sponsors of insurrectionist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-voting rights, and anti-choice legislation, among other things. Over the last few years, AT&T has contributed over $1.5 million to 579 problematic legislators. In addition, Comcast and NBC Universal have donated over $650,000 to 234 state legislators who are considered to have supported questionable policies.
“We are at a make-or-break moment for our country,” said Tiq Milan, a journalist and activist. In his role as spokesperson for Accountable for Equality Action, he said in a press release that one could ascribe the problematic categories to too many politicians funded by corporations that take LGBTQ+ money and employ LGBTQ+ lives.
“Collectively, we have an obligation to stop the assault on our rights, hold corporate America accountable, and ensure corporations are a force for positive change,” Milan said. “We are calling on advocates, employees, and customers to speak out and tell these companies to do better.”
GLAAD's president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, said that people expect more from companies.
"In the wake of unprecedented anti-LGBTQ legislation and attacks in rhetoric and violence, the bar for corporate allyship needed to be and has been raised,” Ellis said. “Consumers, employees, and our community today are mandating that corporates go beyond inclusive internal policies and hiring practices to also engage in external actions like public stances on legislation and examining political donations to anti-LGBTQ politicians. Simply put, authentic corporate allies refrain from donating money to those who are working to roll back LGBTQ rights. The Real Allies site provides a critical resource for community members and allies to instantly see if a corporate is funding anti-LGBTQ politicians."