Big Business: Defining Hypocrisy Down

It was reported last week that the CEO of Yahoo may be in line for a $59 million payday if the struggling company is bought out and she is dismissed.  Some might see in this yet another example of corporate greed and irresponsibility, which is perhaps why big corporations are going to ever greater lengths to demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility.  Witness their latest crusade: ensuring that grown men are able to use the same bathroom as young girls.

North Carolina passed a law that requires people to use the bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms at public schools and government facilities that correspond to their biological sex.  Meaning: males must use the men’s room, not the ladies’ room.  Yes, they need a law for this now.  And yes, the law is controversial.

The ink from the governor’s pen was hardly dry when the good corporate citizens at PayPal stepped into the breach, announcing that they would be cancelling PayPal’s plan to open a new global operations center in Charlotte.  According to PayPal, “This decision reflects PayPal’s deepest values and our strong belief that every person has the right to be treated equally, and with dignity and respect.”

Future editions of the English dictionary should feature PayPal’s corporate image next to the definition of the word “hypocrisy.”  PayPal’s values do not allow it to expand in North Carolina, however it has a major presence in Singapore and Malaysia, where homosexual acts are punishable by jail time and even flogging.

PayPal has also touted its efforts to expand into the United Arab Emirates.  According the website for the US State Department, “Consensual same-sex sexual relations are criminalized in the UAE.  Penalties may include fines and imprisonment.  Under interpretations of sharia, the punishment could include the death penalty.”  Such trifles apparently do not trouble the consciences of PayPal execs, however.

These days, when big business isn’t obsessing over who gets to use what potty, it is busy attacking laws that protect religious freedom.  When Kansas, Arizona, Indiana, Georgia, and others states have considered religious freedom legislation in recent years, it has been major corporations that provided the political firepower to shoot them down.  Apple led the “Boycott Indiana” charge even as it opened stores in Saudi Arabia, where gays are publicly executed.

Over 100 companies have signed a letter opposing North Carolina’s new law.  Big business has become the political action arm of the national LGBT high command.  But whereas the LGBT activists are true believers, the corporations at their beck and call believe only in the cheap publicity their poll-tested gestures can buy.  That the LGBT groups have assembled a coalition of the phony and self-serving speaks volumes about the extent to which their arguments are (not) being made in good faith.