Coca-Cola, Disney and Pfizer named among companies funding anti-LGBTQ+, anti-abortion politicians

A Coca-Cola Pride billboard in New York's Times Square

Coca-Cola, Walt Disney and the makers of Budweiser and Stella Artois are among the US corporations that have helped fund “insurrectionist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-voting rights, and anti-choice legislation”, a new database has revealed.

On Tuesday (27 September), Accountable for Equality Action (AFEA) – an organisation formed to “measure allyship based on corporate contributions” – launched its Real Allies Database.

The database tracks donations by corporations to the US politicians behind legislation blocking LGBTQ+, voting and reproductive rights.

Using data from 2016 onwards, AFEA identified more than 130,000 corporate donations supporting more than 1,000 legislators co-sponsoring bills that aim to remove these rights.

Corporations of note include Coca-Cola, which gave $93,078 to 125 state legislators listed co-sponsors of “insurrectionist, anti-LGBTQ+, anti-Voting rights, and anti-choice legislation”.

These included senators and representatives calling to overturn the results of the 2020 election, and to state legislators in South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky and Texas who pushed for anti-trans bills against inclusive sports, healthcare and education.

Anheuser-Busch Co, the beer producer that makes Budweiser, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden, gave $235,449 to 182 state legislators, while Comcast Corporation and NBC Universal and its subsidiaries contributed $653,101 to 234 state legislators.

Walmart donated $496,497, Walt Disney gave $32,000, energy company Chevron gave $353,900, and pharmaceutical company Pfizer handed over $364,250 in anti-LGBTQ+ donations.

Other companies listed on the database include Target, Rite Aid, Expedia, Facebook, AirBnb, T-Mobile, Paypal, Ebay, McDonald’s, Home Depot and Walgreen’s.

Companies must ‘examine’ political donations

Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, said of the findings: “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.

“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.”

Tiq Milan, journalist, advocate and spokesperson for AFEA added: “We are at a make-or-break moment for our country.

“Anti-LGBTQ, anti-choice, anti-voting rights, pro-insurrection – these labels can be applied to too many politicians who are being funded by major corporations where we spend money and where we work.

“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. We are calling on advocates, employees, and customers to speak out and tell these companies to do better.”