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AT&T Responds to Criticism Over Its $75,000 Contribution to Anti-gay Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott

AbbottDallas-based AT&T Inc has responded to criticism over its Texas Political Action Committee's recent $75,000 contribution to anti-gay Republican Attorney General Greg Abbott's campaign for governor this November, Lone Star Q reports.

Abbott, who is defending the state's gay marriage ban in court, filed a brief last month stating that defending the ban "increases the likelihood that children will be born into stable environments where they are raised by their mother and their father."

“The PAC supports a variety of candidates for a variety of reasons,” AT&T spokesman Marty Richter said in an email to Lone Star Q, in response to an inquiry about the contributions to Abbott. “The PAC does not comment on reasons for contributions, but publicly discloses contributions consistent with state requirements.

“Diversity and inclusion are part of AT&T’s culture and operations, and we’re proud to be recognized as a leader in this area,” Richter added. “DiversityInc recently named AT&T No. 1 on its 2014 Top 10 Employers for LGBT Employees. And every year since 2004 we’ve received a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for our fair treatment of our LGBTQ employees, including protection against discrimination, parity of health care benefits for domestic partners and other criteria.”

Earlier this month, Facebook Inc. came under similar fire for a $10,000 contribution to Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes' reelection campaign - the same man who vowed to "spend whatever it takes" to prevent same-sex couples from marrying in his state.

Last October, AT&T launched a new campaign for LGBT History Month called 'Love is Changing History' and pledged to donate up to $100,000 to the Trevor Project. 

I guess in their eyes that makes everything right?

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Comments

  1. I like the part where they are patting themselves on the back for being a "leader" in the field of diversity. If you were, you wouldn't be giving Abbott money.

    Posted by: Tigernan | Aug 21, 2014 11:12:13 AM


  2. I guess diversity inc and HRC are easily bought to give awards

    Posted by: HIS | Aug 21, 2014 11:15:17 AM


  3. I don't want to hear it. If this candidate was trying to pass laws saying women couldn't vote, or blacks couldn't own property AT&T would NEVER have even THOUGHT about donating.

    It is only because they don't consider gay rights issues as real rights and therefore didn't give the donation a second thought. They expose their own bigotry in this.

    Posted by: Cam | Aug 21, 2014 11:24:08 AM


  4. Being civil to your gay employees doesn't somehow buy you leave to abuse every other gay person in the state. These people are moral dunces.

    Posted by: JJ | Aug 21, 2014 11:32:57 AM


  5. Well, their logo does resemble the Deathstar, after all.

    Posted by: Raybob | Aug 21, 2014 11:34:19 AM


  6. They are pretty good at spinning, but I'll look at Verizon. Of course, that will be after checking out Verizon's political contributions.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Aug 21, 2014 11:36:14 AM


  7. They are pretty good at spinning, but I'll look at Verizon. Of course, that will be after checking out Verizon's political contributions.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Aug 21, 2014 11:36:20 AM


  8. @Cam
    Spot on.
    Bureaucratic double-speak fails as an answer to the question of why are they supporting a candidate whose platform is to pass laws that do irreparable harm to an unprotected minority group?

    Your Corporate policies on diversity are meaningless if an official your funds help elect can undermine them with oppressive legislation. That oppressive legislation is not mere speculation, it's the public statement and adopted platform of Abbott's political party.

    Is that what you call Corporate leadership?

    Posted by: Double-speak doesn't cut it any longer | Aug 21, 2014 11:50:21 AM


  9. AT&T is all for diversity, unless their bottom line is threatened. They want another laissez-faire Republican in the Texas Governor's Mansion, no matter how rabidly anti-gay he/she is.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Aug 21, 2014 11:56:47 AM


  10. For those people who believe corporation stands for equality are foolish, they always stand for their profits This is gay right is just another gateway to gain profit

    Posted by: ppp | Aug 21, 2014 12:26:18 PM


  11. You can't call yourself a leader of acceptance in diversity and anti-homophobia when you contribute to out-right homophobic political candidates whose mission in life is marginalize non-white heterosexual Jesus loving men!

    The very same way you can't call yourself an environmental activist when you refuse to recycle, preserve energy, water and limit use of environmentally harmful products.

    Or you know, the same way you can't call yourself a Christian when you support rapists of children, those who take from the poor, and refuse to help those most in need.

    Posted by: PHILIE | Aug 21, 2014 12:33:38 PM


  12. blah, blah, blah

    Shorter version:

    We want the AG to ignore cases where we might be skirting the law and that trumps "diversity".

    Posted by: BobN | Aug 21, 2014 1:22:34 PM


  13. I sent an email to F/B asking them why to which they've never responded.

    Posted by: lk | Aug 21, 2014 1:59:25 PM


  14. Corporations, like ATT, don't make contributions to help candidates but to help themselves achieve their corporate goals. Now it also appears that one of their corporate goals is diversity. Unlike this particular candidate who is against diversity. Contradiction? Yes, but it is not a simple world we live in.

    Posted by: james street james | Aug 21, 2014 2:28:54 PM


  15. Read the story, went to AT&T and cancelled service!

    Printed story and handed it to the guy that waited on me, said he should mail it in to HQ so the company knows there are consequences.

    By the way, corporate "free speech" in the form of political donations is nothing more than legalized bribery for the wealthy classes anyway, and other companies do this also, but if I can't find a cell phone provider that supports our cause I will just not have a cell phone. I got by from 1958 till 2005 without one and frankly it is nothing but a pain in the ass anyway! I will be damned if I am going to support fascists who want me dead or at least back in the closet.

    Posted by: Markus | Aug 21, 2014 3:02:21 PM


  16. By the way, while I was on the chat program at the AT&T website trying to close the account the AT&T guy got confused. He did not understand why I was trying to close the account. When I looked closer at the text I had typed I noticed that their computer automatically deleted every instance of the word gay (like it is a dirty word their employees should not have to be subjected to) rendering what I was trying to say gibberish.

    Posted by: Markus | Aug 21, 2014 3:41:11 PM


  17. "Corporations, like ATT, don't make contributions to help candidates but to help themselves achieve their corporate goals."

    James: When they act to subvert our political system to their greedy favor without concern to individual rights then it is up to their customers to protect their own rights by not doing business with them, if enough gay people drop their AT&T business over this the company will no longer financially support fascist wingnuts. But, even if they do still support such fascists at least we can have the peace of mind that comes from knowing we are not part of it and none of our dollars go to support it.

    But I disagree with your assertion that there is no political motivation on the part of the company other than selfish manipulation of the political process (like that alone is not bad enough). AT&T had three choices, to contribute to this pig, to contribute to his opponent, or to remain neutral because either of the first two choices is going to piss off a lot of customers. A PERSON made the decision to do this in spite of possible consequences. Not a corporation, not a computer but a real human being. Saying it is a complex world with a shrug is just not acceptable. It was activism and not goodwill that got us where we are today.

    Posted by: Markus | Aug 21, 2014 3:50:33 PM


  18. We're amazing because we say we are....arrogant buffoonery...

    Posted by: rochon | Aug 21, 2014 7:55:11 PM


  19. For what it is worth, CREDO offers cellphone service without contributions to sociopathic or psychopathic organizations.

    Frankly, the quality isn't as good as I had with Verizon Wireless. But on the other hand, there are so many ways in which Verizon acts in negative ways, even if they do have a bona fide diversity policy, that I'd rather give my telecom money somewhere else.

    Posted by: EdA | Aug 21, 2014 11:21:25 PM


  20. I bet the CEO of AT&T is pissed his "speech" is drawing this much attention.

    Posted by: Garst | Aug 21, 2014 11:58:57 PM


  21. Why are these stories being reported on?

    AT&T does not view gay people as people - simply consumers.

    F*** AT&*T - their products are crap anyway.

    Posted by: MaryM | Aug 22, 2014 4:37:23 AM


  22. I am an employee of AT&T. I am disappointed (but not surprised) by the PAC contribution; AT&T has its headquarters in TX and I've no doubt has cozy relationships with all the Republican bigwigs there; leadership would be fools not to.

    I will send a letter to corporate expressing my dismay about the PAC donation, but
    I will also say this in defense of the company; there have been many instances over the years where AT&T leadership did not cave to right-wing pressure to step back from LGBT-supportive actions they have taken, and they were ahead of almost all tech companies in policies and workplace diversity training inclusion of LGB and most notably T. The CEO, Randall Thompson, was instrumental in working behind the scenes at the Boy Scouts to get the policy changed. Was it all the changes we might have wanted? No. But it was real change and sets the stage for more change.

    I don't think its fair to write off the company for this mis-step. The overall track record of support is too good.

    Posted by: Jim H | Aug 22, 2014 8:18:22 AM


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