Black Lives Matter: the companies want the “right side of history”

Black Lives Matter: les entreprises se veulent du «bon côté de l’histoire»

The companies are not often willing to engage in an examination of conscience on the diversity – or lack thereof – within their staff, but the momentum of anger caused by the death of George Floyd in the United States were forced to show their solidarity with the Afro-Americans, or even to make donations or promises.

A non-exhaustive review of company responses to the pressure of the street and networks against systemic racism.

Symbolic gestures

“For once, +Don’t Do It” … don’t Do as if there was not a problem (of racism) in America, ” tweeted Nike on 29 may, diverting his famous slogan (” Just Do It “).

This is one of the first brands to have drawn a response ad hoc to the murder of George Floyd, asphyxiated by a white policeman, while several large american cities were facing riots.

At the same time, Mark Mason, chief financial officer of Citibank, an African-American, wrote 10 times “I can’t breathe” (” I can’t breathe “) in a blog post on the website of the bank.

Other symbolic gestures followed: Playstation (Sony), Android (Google) and Electronic Arts have postponed events and marketing, explaining that this was ” not the time “.

Jack Dorsey decided to do the 19 June, the feast which commemorates the emancipation of the last slaves in the United States, a holiday in the country for his two companies, Twitter and Square.

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of the platform Reddit, and husband of Serena Williams, has resigned from the board of directors on June 5, and asked the company to hire a candidate black to replace it.

Actions, reactions

The software giant IBM has announced at the beginning of June, suspend the sale of face recognition software. This technology is accused of a lack of reliability in the identification of minority, particularly black or asian.

Amazon and Microsoft, under pressure from associations, calling on them to position themselves ” on the right side of history “, have followed suit.

The social networks found them to both platforms in the fight against racism and the target of many activists, who accuse them of facilitating the spread of hatred.

Twitter has hidden for the first time, a message from Donald Trump who was, at the end of may, that the riots would be ” greeted by bullets “.

The streaming platform Twitch has temporarily suspended the account of the u.s. president for behavior hate, and Reddit, usually very permissive, has banned a forum of fans of Trump for violating its rules on incitement to hatred.

Grindr, an application of homosexual encounters, has it removed the filter of ethnicity.

But the biggest piece is of course Facebook, which is regularly accused of laxity. The social network for the planet, which has invested heavily in the moderation of content, and has banned groups, supremacist and tightened up its regulations.

Insufficient, to meet associations and nearly 1,000 advertisers that participate in a boycott advertising against the network.


Apple has launched an initiative to “equity and racial justice” with a $ 100 million, Facebook will spend $ 200 million to support SMES in african-american and Google must pay $ 275 million to various causes in the fight against racial discrimination, of which $ 100 million for YouTube to help artists black.

The Japanese SoftBank Group will create a fund of $ 100 million for start-up companies founded by black entrepreneurs.

Walmart (distribution) also puts 100 million on the table, in 5 years, to create a ” centre for racial equality “.

Many entrepreneurs and companies have made donations to civil society organizations associated with the movement Black Lives Matter.

Nike has pledged $ 40 million over 4 years, Amazon and the supermarkets Target have each pledged 10 million, Coca-Cola 2.5 million, and Satya Nadella, the boss of Microsoft, 1.5 million.

Come then, Electronic Arts, H&M, Gap, Levi s, Pack, Ubisoft, and many other brands.


Adidas has promised that 30% of new hires in the United States are black or hispanic.

Google wants to promote African-Americans in the management of the company and has set as a goal to improve by 30% the representation of groups in the minority by 2025.

Microsoft, Apple and others have made similar pledges.

Target will offer 10,000 hours of advice free of charge for small businesses owned by ” black people and of color.”

Airbnb, who is said to have banned 1.3 million people from 2016 for ” refusing to treat others without prejudice “, is committed to “seek out, evaluate, and overcome” discrimination in the booking process.

Share Button