(Reuters) – The corporate response to a wave of protests over the treatment of African Americans has included pledges to increase diversity, donations to civil rights groups and, in some cases, changes in policies or practices long sought by critics. Here is a sampling:
Starbucks Corp said on June 12 it would allow employees to wear Black Lives Matter t-shirts and pins, rolling back restrictions on how baristas could show support for the social movement against racism.
Apple Inc said on June 11 the iPhone maker will increase spending with black-owned suppliers as part of a $100 million racial equity and justice initiative, while Google’s YouTube video service said it will spend $100 million to fund black content creators.
Walmart Inc said on June 10 it would no longer keep “multicultural hair and beauty products” in locked display cases at any of its stores. Critics had said doing so suggested consumers of those products are more likely to shoplift.
NASCAR on June 10 banned the Confederate flag at all its car racing tracks and events, saying the symbol of white segregationists “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans”.
Amazon.com Inc on June 10 imposed a one-year moratorium on police use of its facial recognition product, Rekognition, which critics say is more likely to misidentify people with darker skin and more likely to be used in minority communities.
Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter Inc and Square Inc, announced on June 9 that June 19, or June teenth, would become a paid company-wide holiday every year for employees of both companies. The date commemorates the June 19, 1865 reading in Texas of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Declaration, which brought an end to slavery in the United States.
U.S. payments group Mastercard Inc in a message to its employees on June 12 said that June 19 will be a holiday for its employees and the day would be designated as Mastercard Day of Solidarity.
L’Oreal SA on June 9 rehired Munroe Bergdorf, a British black transgender model it sacked in 2017 after she described all white people as racist. The French cosmetics company offered Bergdorf a seat on a newly formed UK diversity and inclusion advisory board, a role she accepted.
HBO said on June 9 it would pull from its HBO Max streaming service the Oscar-winning 1939 film “Gone with the Wind,” long decried for its racist depictions of blacks in the antebellum South.
The Paramount Network, owned by ViacomCBS Inc, said on June 9 it would discontinue the reality show “Cops” after 33 years on air. Critics say the show has glorified police violence.
International Business Machines Corp said on June 8 it would no longer sell or research facial recognition tools that critics contend are biased against people of color.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said on June 5 the league was “wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier,” an apparent reference to its opposition to players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police treatment of African Americans, a protest initiated by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016. “We, the National Football League, believe black lives matter.”
Bank of America Corp on June 2 said it would spend $1 billion over four years to address racial and economic inequality.
(Reporting by Greg Mitchell, Uday Sampath and Anurag Maan; Editing by Dan Grebler, Shounak Dasgupta and David Gregorio)