Conservative leaders are hailing ExxonMobil’s decision to ban flags representing political causes from company flagpoles while claiming that Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) deserves credit for helping to shift the relationship between the GOP and big business.
On Friday, The New York Times reported that Exxon employees will only be allowed to fly government flags and those representing the company’s internal employee resource groups on company property — if approved by company executives. If individuals want to express political affiliation in other ways — such as displaying an LGBT rainbow banner — they must do so elsewhere on the company grounds.
“Companies like ExxonMobil should be applauded for standing up to the woke mob, both within their own ranks and without,” Kevin Roberts, president of the Heritage Foundation, told the Daily Wire.
“Imagine if U.S. corporations focused more on providing low-cost, high-quality goods and jobs for Americans instead of devoting so much time to woke nonsense.”
While many conservatives are praising the move, Bloomberg reported that Tracey Gunnlaugsson, Exxon’s vice president of human resources, said the new policy was in no way meant to diminish the company’s support for “diversity.”
“The updated flag protocol is intended to clarify the use of the ExxonMobil branded company flag and not intended to diminish our commitment to diversity and support for employee resource groups,” Gunnlaugsson told Bloomberg. “We’re committed to keeping an open, honest, and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, and we’re saddened that any employee would think otherwise.”
Exxon’s ban came as DeSantis was working to revoke Walt Disney World’s special tax privileges in response to their opposition to the Sunshine State’s Parental Rights in Education law, leading some to speculate that other corporations will slowly weed out wokeism if Republicans combat it via legislation.
“Corporations respond to power,” American Principles Project policy director Jon Schweppe told The Daily Wire in reaction to Exxon’s decision.
As Schweppe explained, historically, corporations have recognized “that Democrats are willing to use state power against them, so they try to placate them with woke platitudes and virtue signals.”
On the other hand, “Republicans are a dependable, cheap date — they can always be counted on to defend the interests of corporations — and so corporations feel free to oppose Republicans on various issues without fear of reprisal,” he added.
The solution to stopping such activity is for Republicans to affect how corporations view the Republican Party, Schweppe explained.
“If we want to stop the woke capital phenomenon, we have to change this dynamic,” Schweppe added.
According to Schweppe, DeSantis understands that necessity.
“Once we are willing to say, ‘Hey, if you screw us, we’re going to screw you back’ — once Republicans are seen as a legitimate threat to the power of these companies — then we’ll start to see a lot more neutrality,” Schweppe predicted.
Roberts also noted similar observations in a statement to The Daily Wire.
“These corporations need to understand a couple of things,” Roberts said. “First, they do not get to set the policy agenda in this country, nor do they get to subvert the will of the people through their leaders. This shameful behavior show that this impulse to corporate totalitarianism must be defeated.”
“Second, the era of special treatment of big business needs to end,” Roberts added. “Fundamentally, that’s what Florida’s move is all about. And it’s the right one. “
“And make no mistake, what Governor DeSantis has done in Florida to end Disney’s special tax breaks will reverberate throughout corporate America for some time to come,” Roberts added.
Roberts told The Daily Wire that American consumers are tired of corporations turning a blind eye to human rights abuses around the world while taking action against cultural conservatives in America.
“Americans are tired of woke corporations not just getting involved in politics, but making everything political,” Roberts observed. “They see the rampant double standards of companies like Disney, who threatened to pull operations out of Georgia over a recent pro-life measure, while doubling down on filming in Xinjiang and expanding operations in China.”
In March, Disney released a statement saying they were going to dedicate resources to stopping the Parental Rights in Education law, the state’s new law that limits instruction on gender ideology in public schools while increasing curriculum transparency for parents. (Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)
DeSantis slammed the company publicly for intruding on the legislative process.
“For Disney to come out and put a statement and say that the bill should have never passed and they are going to actively work to repeal it — I think, one, was fundamentally dishonest. But two, I think that crossed the line,” DeSantis said at the time.
“This state is governed by the interests of the people of the state of Florida. It is not based on the demands of California corporate executives. They do not run this state. They do not control this state,” he added.
Now, the Florida governor has followed through on those comments by revoking the special treatment of Disney. For Roberts, DeSantis’ actions represent a path forward for conservative colleagues around the country.
“I encourage other governors and state legislatures to follow Florida’s courageous lead, and remind corporations that we set the agenda, not them,” Roberts remarked.
Russ Vought, former Trump White House Office of Management and Budget director, was similarly optimistic in response to Exxon’s updated flag policy, but cautioned that there is plenty of work for the right to do to rid wokeness from big business.
“It’s welcome news and a sign that we’re having an impact on corporations that have been unceasingly woke,” Vought told The Daily Wire. “But this is just the beginning of what is needed to ensure that corporate America is no longer the distribution channel and enforcement mechanism for far-left ideologies.”
(Disclosure: The Daily Wire has announced plans for kids entertainment content.)