“Executives of large companies are more apt to hire a transgender person than some sanctimonious busy-body.”

Justin Danhof
Justin Danhof | via YouTube

On Tuesday, Justin Danhof of the National Center for Public Policy Research confronted IBM’s CEO, Virginia (“Ginni”) Rometty at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders. Danhof complained about IBM’s support of the Human Rights Campaign.

It’s not really a fair fight. Danhof is the poor schmuck who attends corporate shareholder meetings, frequently gets booed and accomplishes nothing. Why bother?

In the way of background, National Center for Public Policy Research (seven employees) was pro-tobacco and is now climate-denying. It is not surprising because of the similarities between the Tobacco Institute and climate denial. It’s the same bullshit: Falsely claim that the science is unsettled and that a controversy exists. The organization had close and embarrassing ties to Jack Abramoff.

2017 was not a good year for NCPPR. Revenues were off by about one-third (about 80% derived from direct mail).

Diversity is a core value of IBM. The company has scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 15 years in a row. IBM takes the position that diversity allows the company to recruit the best and brightest people. Then it fosters greater productivity by permitting people to be who they are. The company sponsors an LGBTQ alliance in every country where that is permissible.

IBM is an 80 billion dollar company with over 350,000 employees. Mr. Danhof is not going to persuade IBM to change its corporate culture.

American Family Association, an anti-LGBT hate group, has its own version of events: HRC ally cross-examined over 1st Amendment. Please.

Justin Danhof … attended the shareholder meeting in Charleston, South Carolina, where he pressed [CEO Ginni] Rometty about the tech giant supporting and funding the Human Rights Campaign, a D.C.-based LGBT lobbying group.

IBM is one of many major corporations that openly partner with HRC, which maintains a “Corporate Equality Index” that rates major businesses on corporate policies that support homosexuals, lesbians, and transgenders.

There is a great deal of confusion at work here. AFA’s propagandist, Chris Woodward and Mr. Danhof seem to think that achieving a perfect score on the CEI means that there is some sort of partnership between the company and HRC. That represents a partnership of employers and employees.

In May, 2018 HRC announced a partnership with IBM to promoted workplace equality in Latin America. This was a two-week, five-country series of business workshops.

Furthermore, Danhof and Woodward are in the dark regarding IBM’s financial sponsorship. IBM is listed as a Bronze Sponsor. Above them are Silver, Gold and Platinum sponsors. The IBM International Foundation’s tax return does not show any contributions to HRC. The foundation distributed about $12 million of employee-directed gifts which are not itemized.

Just a reminder that AFA is a hate group:

There are few major corporate board rooms that are not allied with HRC but its demand for “tolerance” and “equality” predictably runs counter to biblical views about human sexuality, which it views as a legal form of discrimination.

Danhof pointed out to Rometty that IBM is supporting an organization whose mission conflicts with the First Amendment right to religious freedom.

Those ancient chronicles of questionable provenance might claim that gay sex is a sin. The First Amendment guarantee is limited to Free Exercise which means that one can worship hummus if that floats their boat. I am not Christian but I would bet that tolerance is much closer to the teachings of Jesus than a passage in Leviticus which probably pertains to the behavior or Greek and Roman patricians towards young slave boys.

“And [Rometty] couldn’t come up with a coherent answer,” Danhof says, “as to how funding the Human Rights Campaign possibly benefits the customers, the investors, the clients, of IBM.”

In other words, Rometty probably embarrassed Danhof with an answer that he did not like. The woman is a seasoned and accomplished executive. I am pretty sure that she can handle a dim bulb like Justin Danhof.

According to Danhof’s account of his questioning, Rometty responded that IBM supports freedom of speech and religious liberty, though Danhof’s pointed questionioning [sic] accused HRC of opposing First Amendment protections yet still benefitting [sic] from IBM and many other corporations.

Aside from desperately needing a spell checker, questions are not supposed to be accusations. Rhetorical question are a logical fallacy per se. Danhof is not going to successfully lecture Ms. Rometty who runs a company the size of IBM.

Danhof has memorized the disingenuous talking points:

HRC is currently lobbying for the “Equality Act” in Congress, which would strip away legal protections for Christian business owners, override state-passed religious freedom laws, and create a federal law allowing biological men to legally enter women’s restrooms and locker rooms, on private property and over the objections of business owners, without consequence.

Danhof claims that his safety was at risk:

“They lined up to talk to me about the issue because we are in South Carolina,” he says. “There are a lot of God-fearing individuals here and a lot of investors who are ardent believers in Jesus Christ.”

The fellow believers even prayed for his safety, Danhof says, which he says is a first after his numerous scrapples [sic] with corporate CEOs at investor meetings.

Scrapple is fried pig guts and tendons. Presumably Mr. Woodward meant scraps.

Danhof will never get it:

LGBT diversity is good for business. It is embraced by Republican CEOs across the globe because it improves recruitment and performance. Hell, even the Koch brothers were champions of marriage equality.

These holier-than-thou conservatives are marginalizing themselves. They cannot prosper throughout most of corporate America because they are too concerned over things which are irrelevant to a company’s bottom line. Executives are more apt to hire a transgender person who will focus on job performance than some sanctimonious busy-body.

In the world of self-marginalization and self-destruction, Justin Danhof is a standout. His hobby makes him a masochist. He must derive some pleasure from derision and failure. There is the alternate possibility that he is delusional. Perhaps after the IBM meeting he said to himself: “I showed her.” What he put on display for all to see was Justin Danhof’s acute personality disorder.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.