Georgia Republicans Try To Punish Delta For CEO's Statement About Voting Rights Law

from the cancel-culture? dept

Punishing people or companies for their speech is never something any politician should ever be engaged in. It's why we called out Elizabeth Warren recently. And now we'll call out Republican legislators in Georgia, who tried (but failed) to punish Delta in direct response to its CEO's comments. The details honestly don't matter here, because all that matters is "politicians looking to punish speech" but we'll give the basic background.

As you may have heard in the news, a week ago, Georgia passed a big new voting bill that has been quite controversial. In short, like many recent bills, in the name of "election integrity" the law is likely to make it more difficult for some people to vote. Once again, there remains vanishingly little evidence of voter fraud in elections, and bills like this one generally appear to be a fig leaf for trying to disenfranchise voters who are more likely to vote for Democrats.

Initially Delta put out a statement that applauded some of the provisions in the bill (the parts that did expand some early and absentee voting). But praising those aspects of the bill was seen as approving the entire bill, which angered lots of people -- leading to calls to boycott Delta. It didn't then take long for Delta's CEO to come out with a surprisingly harsh condemnation of the law, which seemed like a pretty sharp turnaround from the original statement praising pieces of the law.

In response to that, Republican lawmakers in Georgia set out to take away certain tax breaks for Delta. Now, there may be perfectly good reasons to remove such tax breaks, but doing so directly in response to the CEO's statement, is not how any of this is supposed to work. But, the legislators in question seemed so sure that this was the right culture warrior stance to take that they didn't even try to hide the reasoning behind some made up argument. They just out and out admitted that this was punishment over speech:

“They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them,” said House Speaker David Ralston, adding: “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes.”

While the House passed the resolution, the Georgia Senate did not, so the issue is effectively dead, but still immensely problematic from a 1st Amendment stand point. Some might argue that this is the flipside of the calls for a boycott, but that's entirely different. A boycott (which, it should be admitted, are rarely effective) would be decisions by individual consumers. They can do that. Politicians out-and-out retaliating for speech is a quintessential 1st Amendment problem.

This isn't a Republican or Democrat issue. As noted, we've called out both Republicans and Democrats for this tactic. If you have legitimate reasons to legislate, that's fine. But legislation should never be punishment for speech.

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Filed Under: free speech, georgia, punishment, republicans, voting rights
Companies: delta


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2021 @ 1:48pm

    You know it’s dire when they are burning money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Apr 2021 @ 1:55pm

    Oh look, actual attempted censorship...

    And of course republicans will continue to scream about how punishing someone or applying consequences for legal speech is a terrible crime and tyrannical... when done by someone other than them.

    “They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them,” said House Speaker David Ralston, adding: “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes.”

    There is just so, so much wrong in this simple statement, and it exposes a lot more about them than a think they realized with none of it good.

    If a dog bite you that does not give you the right to punish it by withholding food, so they've shown they're a horrible person that should never be trusted with looking after an animal(I wouldn't trust them with raising kids either with that mindset), then you've got the fact that politicians (theoretically) serve the public and members of the public, even rich CEOs, have a right to criticism the actions and words of politicians, so the fact that they're open about admitting that this was an attempt to punish someone for publicly disagreeing with them is all sorts of concerning and shows an open contempt for the first amendment, which is not something you want a politician to display.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Upstream (profile), 2 Apr 2021 @ 4:17pm

      Re: Oh look, actual attempted censorship...

      the fact that they're open about admitting that this was an attempt to punish someone for publicly disagreeing with them is all sorts of concerning and shows an open contempt for the first amendment, which is not something you want a politician to display.

      It may, however, be one of the most honest things to come out of a politicians mouth in recent memory.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    BoKnows, 2 Apr 2021 @ 2:09pm

    Don't bite the hand?

    The GOP seem to have mistaken themselves for the dog in this metaphor.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 2 Apr 2021 @ 2:16pm

    “They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them,” said House Speaker David Ralston

    You like their campaign donations, perhaps pissing off a large corporation with deep pockets was a really really stupid thing to do.

    You attempted to remove graft you had given them, do you think they will forget that?

    While the bill you passed had some good points, others aren't.
    You are solving a made up problem to protect your seats, not election integrity.
    Whats the current Covid spread rate & daily death toll in your state?
    I ask only because it seems stupid to push for election integrity, when you've not managed to show any of the claimed bad actions (well when you ignore the Republicans who broke the law), while your citizens are still dying.

    They keep showing everyone who and what they are & lets be honest they are WAY worse than any boogeyman they've trotted out claiming they will harm you if you don't keep them in power.
    Their death count is way higher than any you can attribute to BLM or ACAB or The child eating Pedo Cabal... perhaps y'all should ask why the foxes keep telling you to worry that the sky is falling when Memaw & PaPaw are in ICU alone, scared, & hanging on by a thread because they did more to stop Delta than the pandemic.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 2 Apr 2021 @ 2:56pm

    Never thought I'd be bothered by government transparency

    And yet here I am: bothered by just how transparent the Republicans in influential positions are about what they are doing.

    They consider themselves royalty, dealing out reward and punishment according to their whim instead of following the letter of the law. Seeing an actual royal, namely Prince Harry of England now working for an SF-based company focused about mental health is sort of a weird contrast in the category of self-entitlement.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2021 @ 4:19pm

    The sooner Lincoln’s ghost shows up and shoots this party’s chance at a future in politics in the back the better lol

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    BernardoVerda (profile), 2 Apr 2021 @ 5:00pm

    “They like our public policy when we’re doing things that benefit them,” said House Speaker David Ralston, adding: “You don’t feed a dog that bites your hand. You got to keep that in mind sometimes.”

    This appears to be a Man Bites Dog story...
    Just who, exactly, does this politician think he's "representing", anyways?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Apr 2021 @ 7:10pm

    And here i thought taxes were a thing that it is every corporation's god-given right not to pay. Freedom! or Jobs! or Investment! isn't the real reason that corporations have tax rates cut or that they get tax breaks? Or you don't actually care about the jobs and stuff?

    Or is it that economic conservatism has always been a scam, and will take a hit whenever the crazypants medaeval conservatism is more important? The ruling class likes their money-making merchant class, but sometimes the bourgeoise don't know their place.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ed (profile), 3 Apr 2021 @ 7:54am

    Calling Ethel Merman

    "There's NO hypocrite like a GOP hypocrite..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    AC Unknown (profile), 3 Apr 2021 @ 11:45am

    Spammer alert!

    The user above me is a spambot

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    restless94110 (profile), 3 Apr 2021 @ 1:09pm

    Corporate Overreach

    Everyone on the political spectrum should be outraged that some corporate executive uses his power to try to manipulate the people who were elected to represent the people of Georgia.

    It's arrogant, but what's worse, it's ignorant.

    There is nothing in the law that is racist or that suppresses anyone.

    And If I hear one more person claim that black people are too stupid to get an ID? Stop spouting that racist nonsense.

    Delta doesn't deserve any perks from the state of Georgia. And if the executive has a personal political belief? Let him speak at a rally, let him vote for a different representative. If he goes any further? He's out of bounds and his stockholders and board of directors should fire him.

    You at Tech Dirt don't want corporations telling people what is and is not ok or correct. Be careful. They coming for you next if you allow and even welcome this kind of thing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 4 Apr 2021 @ 7:30am

      Re: Corporate Overreach

      You must hate all the corporate money that floods into the GOP coffers, huh? You mlsure must want to see an end to the dark money and demented notion of money equaling speech and corporate personhood that came from citizens united. I bet you utterly despise what the Koch brothers have done to American politics, the poisonous influence that they have had for decades... You must, otherwise you'd be a colossal hypocrite who only cares because they're critical of laws designed by republicans ensure minority rule because the people they're supposed to represent voted against them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Apr 2021 @ 9:13am

      This one comment is proof that conservatives don’t mind corporate leaders speaking their mind…so long as said leaders “know their place”. Nothing is worse to a conservative than a person who speaks “out of turn”.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    shocker, 3 Apr 2021 @ 1:26pm

    "A boycott (which, it should be admitted, are rarely effective) would be decisions by individual consumers."

    Boycott's are effective and do work and this is clear evidence of it.

    In fact, it was the threat of a boycott, made by those against the Ga. voter suppression bill, that forced Delta to change their position on it.

    "But praising those aspects of the bill was seen as approving the entire bill, which angered lots of people -- leading to calls to boycott Delta."

    They came to the realization that they would lose more business from those against the bill than they would from the Republicans.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 3 Apr 2021 @ 1:33pm

    It's arrogant, but what's worse, it's ignorant.

    There is nothing in the law that is racist or that suppresses anyone.

    As always, restless's accusations only describe himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 4 Apr 2021 @ 1:49am

      Re:

      Considering that restless used the word "Lügenpresse", which was explicitly the Nazi's equivalent of "Fake News" (literally "Lying Press"), that says everything we need to know about him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Tom Nicholson, 4 Apr 2021 @ 5:29am

    "vanishingly little evidence of election fraud," OK. stopped reading right there
    we obviously differ on that point

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Apr 2021 @ 9:08am

      Then by all means, show us the evidence that proves — beyond a reasonable doubt — any level of election fraud took place in the 2020 presidential election. For bonus points, show us the evidence that proves an election-changing level of election fraud took place.

      Old 45 couldn’t do it. Rudy “I killed my career between a cock and a charred place” Giuliani couldn’t do it. Sidney “apparently the Kraken is allergic to being released” Powell couldn’t do it. No one aligned with Trump or the GOP could not produce, have not produced, and will never produce either the evidence in question or any credible indication that such evidence exists. What makes you think that some rando jackoff commenting on a tech blog can do what lawmakers, lawyers, and a former president of the United States couldn’t accomplish in over five dozen court cases?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 5:39am

        Re:

        "show us the evidence that proves — beyond a reasonable doubt..."

        I'd settle for even implausible evidence. ANY form of habeas corpus, really. Several eye witnesses willing to go under oath. Actual ballot miscounts.

        But that's not what they are delivering. They're delivering the incoherent gibberish Rudy god damn Giuliani delivered in the parking lot of "Four seasons total landscaping", between the crematorium and the dildo store. Or his wild-eyed hysterics while his hair was melting in front of the camera.

        THIS is what 73 million american clowns are going for right now; "An obviously crazy man said there was fraud in front of a camera, twenty times, without anything but his word to go on, so it MUST be true. All Hail Dear Leader!"

        And later on when Giuliani and all the other Trump lawyers went in front of a judge and were given the chance to present their reasons for claiming fraud they all ended up with nothing but their dicks in their hands. The most solid indication they had that fraud had even taken place was a gods damned post-it note some unknown person had scribbled that they saw the dems stealing the election.

        This is the cult of Trump for you - or rather, the cult of the modern GOP. 73 million lunatics standing out as glaring evidence that sapience is a quality large crowds of humans can train themselves to abolish.

        There is no way the US can deprogram all these maniacs. Letting them have a state of their own and closing the borders until the problem is gone seems about the best to hope for.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 4 Apr 2021 @ 9:34am

      Re:

      Yeah, shame on Techdirt for sticking with reality, from which you "differ."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 5:24am

      Re:

      "we obviously differ on that point"

      Yeah we do but only because you are either highly invested in the Trump cult or accept religious belief as evidence.

      In the real world the only indication that there was anything resembling voter or election fraud was by a few dozen people in influential position who were screaming it to the skies while judges, independent observers, and even the observers of the republican party were unable to find a shred of evidence that such fraud had been attempted.

      The closest we get to election fraud would be the shenanigans 45 and his GOP friends pulled to try to make voting harder.

      I'm not surprised you stopped reading. Every time reality contradicts your wishful thinking you turn away. If only you people could then stay gone forever rather than turn back and try one last parthian shot of faith-based nonsense...every step on the way, while dithering at the door. Get lost already, the modern world doesn't want you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2021 @ 6:54am

      Re:

      we obviously differ on that point

      Yup, any day now Trump will be sworn in as president, Sucker.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Apr 2021 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      I assume he's still holding out hope because the MyPillow guy is still saying he's got the goods.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 9:54am

    Watch it escalate

    First, Georgia passes a bad bill.
    Then organizations like Major League Baseball and Delta protest the bill.
    Then the governor says MLB is part of the liberal "cancel culture".
    Then the legislature passes bills against Delta.

    So what's the obvious next step? Delta and Coca-Cola leave Atlanta.
    Then what happens to all the money that the politicians would get from these companies? What happens to all the jobs? Okay, maybe all the employees move to another state, but that means the jobs aren't in Georgia any more.

    Yet this issue with Delta could have been prevented if the governor just admitted that there were some bad parts of the bill instead of doubling-down on the whole "cancel culture" and saying MLB was falling for "liberal lies".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Upstream (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 10:48am

      Re: Watch it escalate

      I think we are more likely to watch it fizzle into the dustbin of "old news that doesn't matter anymore (and never really did)" as we move on to the the next headline-making "(not really a) crisis" in the next few days.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Apr 2021 @ 3:12pm

      this issue with Delta could have been prevented if the governor just admitted that there were some bad parts of the bill

      That would require admitting the true purpose of the law. He won’t — can’t! — do that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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