The Amazon Board of Directors encouraged investors to reject a proposal from the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) that sought to end the alleged viewpoint discrimination by Amazon’s charitable organization, AmazonSmile, at a shareholder meeting Wednesday.
The proposal advocated against the charity’s reliance on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to determine which organizations are listed on their website.
The AmazonSmile program allows customers to pick from over one million charities, and when they shop on smile.amazon.com, Amazon will donate 0.5% of their total purchase cost to that charity.
The SPLC “acts as the gatekeeper” for who gets on the list of charities that the AmazonSmile program allows customers to choose from, Justin Danhof, general counsel and director of the Free Enterprise Project, told the Daily Caller. (RELATED: Big Tech’s Effort To Suppress Hate Speech Is Backfiring On Liberals Who Kickstarted The Crusade)
The FEP presented a proposal to Amazon’s board of directors at a Wednesday shareholder meeting calling for the company to stop relying on the SPLC to determine which charities are listed on the website. In a press release, they said that Amazon’s reliance on the SPLC amounts to viewpoint discrimination against Cristian and conservative organizations.
Amazon Smile, PayPal and credit card processors said no to the “alt-right” and other racist and white nationalists using their networks.
So, the “alt-right” turned to bitcoin. https://t.co/Y7Z972r3Fq
— Southern Poverty Law Center (@splcenter) December 28, 2017
“This is a highly discredited organization, the SPLC, to start with,” Danhof said. “They’re obviously a bigoted organization, and you’re letting them run your charitable giving program.”
The FEP takes issue with the SPLC having groups like the Ku Klux Klan on the same list as the Family Research Council, a Christian nonprofit that advocates for traditional marriage and are against abortion. “What they do is a false equivalency,” Danhof said.
In a statement given during the shareholders meeting, Danhof pointed out that “the FBI removed the SPLC as a source” in 2014, and that Twitter also removed the SPLC from its “Trust and Safety Council.”
He also referenced a New Yorker article written by a former SPLC staff member about the alleged “widespread pattern of racial and gender discrimination” and “multiple reports of sexual harassment” in the organization.
Danhof also noted that the SPLC is one of the charitable organizations that customers can donate to, and they “profit handsomely” from the AmazonSmile program as “one of the top recipients of donations.”
“Somebody needs to call the IRS and say, you know, if this isn’t illegal, what is it? It may not violate the letter of any laws that exist, but it’s got to violate the spirit of non-profit tax law.”
Amazon’s board of directors rejected the proposal, recommending that shareholders vote against it. In their response, Amazon said that “diversity and inclusion are cornerstones of our continued success and critical components of our culture.”
“The policies and procedures we have in place for our employees, sellers, and customers are intended to foster diversity and inclusion and promote respect for all people. We maintain these policies to facilitate a welcoming environment for our global customers and selling partners while offering the widest selection of items on earth,” they added. “In addition to measures designed to combat discrimination, we have thorough risk management processes to protect against risks to the Company, including risks related to the application of our policies.”
Danhof said that he, along with two other Amazon shareholders, asked “numerous times” for further comment from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos beyond what was printed in the proposal response, but that he did not give any additional response.