Dear Tim Cook…and All of the Other Passionate CEOs
I don’t blog very often. A quick glance at the history of this site and you can easily verify that fact. Why? Because I’m lazy. With so many avenues to post one’s opinion, I’m tired before I get started. So, to me motivated enough to jot down a few thoughts, I say kudos to you.
What prompted this little foray into the blogoshpere is the recent announcement of several corporate CEOs that are taking a stand against the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Or as you all like to refer to it, “A Free Pass to Discriminate Against the Gay Community.” (That may not be an exact quote…remember…I’m too lazy to check sources.) I applaud your passion for standing up for what you believe in. Now. This is a story all about how your message got flipped. Kind of turned upside down. And I’d like take a minute, just sit right there, and I’ll tell you all about how I … wait… wrong post. That really is a catchy song. Anyway, this is just me asking you to take a look at your actions and make sure you have thought this through. Mmm-kay? Great…
So, several of your fellow CEOs and politicians have made a proclamation that you would not do business with the state of Indiana because of it’s recent passing of a state RFRA. From what I gather, your intrepretation of the law is that it would, in essence, make discrimination against the gay community legal in Indiana. (Just a side note here: it is my understanding that Indiana does not currently, nor prior to the passing of the RFRA, have anti-discrimination laws protecting the gay community. So…the Hoosiers were already, technically, able to discriminate at will…should they desire. They did not need this RFRA to “give them permission” to hate on folks. But I digress…) No one wants discrimination. Even the so called “White Devil Christians.” At least none that I know want discrimination. So, to preempt any type of discrimination, and to show support for the LGBT community, you are not doing business with the state. Let’s break this down…and please correct me if I’m wrong:
“A business” (bakery, photographer, etc) would “deny service” (well…that’s pretty self-explanatory) to “individuals that had different beliefs” (like the support of gay marriage or just homosexuality in general) than the business owner.
Does that sum up your concern? I did my best to try to simplify it as best I could. Once again…I’m lazy so feel free to correct me.
But if you accept my summation of your concern, let’s look at how your actions are now being perceived:
“Your company” (a business: retailer, tech giant, service provider, sports organization, state government) will now “deny service” (once again, pretty self-explanatory) to “individuals that have different beliefs” (like the support of traditional marriage) than you, the business leader.
Did I miss anything? I can understand how this might have sounded like a good idea. Like a “we’re all gonna boycott Indiana! YEAH!” *high five* But, in a boycott, you apply pressure to a company by not buying it’s products. Hitting them where it hurts: the bottom line. In this instance, there’s nothing to buy. Instead, you are denying your services to the whole state of Indiana…because some of the people there have different beliefs than you.
So, your effort to take a stand is actually putting to action what you are so vehemently trying to protest. (Cue Alanis Morissette’s Ironic) You’re telling others not to do something, and you’re turning around and doing it. There’s a word for that. One that for centuries has been reserved for the church. But…I’m sure the church won’t mind sharing. Congratulations! You now have something in common. If you and the church were on eHarmony, you might get matched.
As I look on, I feel like Will Ferrel in Zoolander:
If this is what you were going for, then disregard my comments and keep doing what you’re doing. Message received. But if you’re now scratching your head and thinking, “Hmm…didn’t really see that on coming,” you may want to consider a different approach. And I’m not trying to get you to suddenly start supporting the bill. This is not me endorsing the Indiana RFRA. I’m just pointing out a possible flaw in your approach. I still love your products*. I’ll still buy from you. I’m in no way suggesting anyone else not buy your products.
If I’m suggesting anything, I’m suggesting that instead of pulling an all out “NO SOUP FOR YOU!” tactic, you, I, we, all of us, just sit down and talk. Nothing is accomplished by screaming and yelling at the other side. I think it would go a long way for you, as leaders, to lead in this area. Maybe a better response is, “Hey…Governor Pence. Man…I dunno what you’re thinking here. This bill is worded, I feel, in a way that could be detrimental to some of the people of this fine state. Is there anyway to amend it so that there are a few protections in there? Got a minute to chat?” This kind of approach will probably further the discussion a bit better than denying all services to an entire state. I really hope this can get worked out and we can all go back to business as usual.
Well, that’s probably enough from me. Like I said…I’m lazy. To sum up: Let’s open a dialogue. Not shut down all services.
Oh, and Tim, while I’ve got you here… How do I regain all of the space on my iOS device that’s listed as “Other.” Man…that’s annoying.
FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not a resident of Indiana. I have no dog in this fight. But I am a customer of some of the brands that this applies to.
* – Except Connecticut…I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything from there. So I can’t honestly say that I “love your products.” But there’s still hope!