“We just don’t think we should uphold their indifference,” said African Methodist Bishop Bishop Reginald Jackson of the Georgia-based Home Depot’s silence on the state’s new electoral law.
A group of religious leaders are calling for a boycott of the Georgia-based Home Depot, saying the US home improvement giant hasn’t done enough to oppose the state’s new electoral laws.
African Methodist Bishop Bishop Reginald Jackson said the company had “remained silent and indifferent” to its efforts to oppose the new Republican state law and similar efforts elsewhere.
“We just don’t think we should let their indifference stand,” Jackson said.
Jackson, the leader of all churches of his denomination in Georgia, had a meeting with other Georgia-based leaders last week to urge them to oppose the electoral law but said he had none despite repeated efforts to reach out to the company Contact Home Depot.
Home Depot didn’t immediately respond to an email on Tuesday. The company is the largest in Georgia by sales, profits, and number of employees.
Republican Governor Brian Kemp described the boycott on Twitter as “absolutely ridiculous”.
Opponents of the new law say it will restrict voting. It requires people to provide proof of identity to request a postal vote, reduce the number of days to request a postal vote, reduce early voting before runoff elections, provide fewer drop boxes than allowed by the emergency rules during the coronavirus pandemic, and allows the state to take over local polling stations and prevent people from distributing food and water to voters within 45 meters of a polling station.
Proponents say the bill was called for by Republican voters, who were alerted by former President Donald Trump’s allegations of fraud, making postal voting safer, providing a permanent legal base for dropboxing, and increasing the number of mandatory early weekend election days.
Jackson had previously trained his criticism of Coca-Cola Co, but the Atlanta soft drink titan later cracked down on the law and helped arrange Jackson’s meetings with company executives.
“We believe companies have corporate responsibility to their customers who are black, white, and tan for voting,” said Jackson. “There’s no point in continuing to give money and buy products from people who don’t support you.”
He said religious leaders may call for boycotts against other companies in the future.
Boycotts in the past have aimed to pressure business leaders to push elected officials to change, but it is not clear that Republicans will react this time around. Georgian lawmakers voted unsuccessfully to withdraw a jet fuel tax break from Delta Air Lines after that company vigorously rejected the bill.
Some Georgian lawmakers have called for Coca-Cola, which offers free drinks in the state capital, to remove refrigerators from its offices. Kemp and others have repeatedly attacked Major League Baseball for removing their all-star game from Atlanta Braves Stadium, blaming the Democrats for economic losses. Some members of Congress are proposing that the league’s antitrust exemption be lifted.
Jackson acknowledged retaliation, but said that when companies stand together, “there’s no way Republicans can go after them.”