BlackRock Hit With Federal Civil Rights Complaint Over Alleged Racist Hiring
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2021/10/18: BlackRock offices in New York City. Founded in 1988, BlackRock, Inc. is an US multinational investment management corporation. The corporation is the world's largest asset manager, with $8.67 trillion in assets under management as of January 2021.
Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

BlackRock was hit with a federal civil rights complaint on Tuesday in response to the asset management behemoth’s diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments, also known as DEI.

America First Legal, a conservative advocacy organization launched by former Trump administration senior adviser Stephen Miller, filed the complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which is charged with enforcing civil rights laws against workplace discrimination. Attorneys cited programs seeking to increase the number of racial minorities and females in senior leadership at BlackRock.

BlackRock notes in one recent annual report that the company has committed to “cultivating diversity, equity, and inclusion” in the leadership team and overall workforce through “hiring, retention, promotion, and development practices” aligned with DEI principles rooted in “business priorities and long-term objectives.” The company has a “BlackRock Founders Scholarship” that may come with a $17,500 award for some students; the program, however, is meant only for applicants who are “Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, Native American, LGBTQ+ or disabled.”

The firm’s website meanwhile commits BlackRock to grow the number of “women senior leaders,” as well as “double the number” of “Black senior leaders” and “Latinx senior leaders” while increasing the overall representation of both groups in the general workforce.

America First Legal contends that the programs violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a statute that penalizes employers that “limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment” in any way that could adversely affect them because of their “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

“The practice of hiring based on skin color or sex is not only illegal but is un-American,” America First Legal Vice President and General Counsel Gene Hamilton said in a statement. “Corporate giants like BlackRock continually erode the American way of life in more ways than one. We are proud to stand against these unlawful practices and to fight to bring some measure of accountability.”

BlackRock has faced criticism over the firm’s support of the environmental, social, and corporate governance movement, also known as ESG. Skeptics of the movement contend that the philosophy intermixes political and social causes favored by executives, such as diversifying company leadership with respect to race or sex, in a manner that compromises or distracts from profitability.

The complaint against BlackRock from America First Legal comes one day after the group submitted a similar filing against Anheuser-Busch, the company which controls Bud Light. The brand has witnessed considerable backlash after executives partnered with self-identified transgender social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney, who chronicled his supposed “gender transition” on TikTok and subsequently landed countless brand deals with leading companies.


“Iconic American brands, like Anheuser-Busch, have become shells of their founders’ visions due to weak-kneed corporate leadership who routinely cave to idealogues whose thirst for an ever-changing notion of ‘social justice’ is relentless,” Hamilton said in another statement.

Similar civil rights complaints have been filed against universities in recent years over programs that discriminate with respect to race and sex. Mark Perry, an economics professor emeritus at the University of Michigan-Flint, has filed hundreds of federal Title IX and Title VI complaints in response to the academic programs, many of which have been successful.

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