(WATCH) Woke, Inc.


Original air date: Oct. 1, 2023

The practice of corporations weighing in on social and political controversies, almost always on the side of the Left, is commonplace — and drawing plenty of controversy. Today, a confession from someone who says he helped start the trend and now wants to say, “I’m sorry.”

The following is a transcript of a report from “Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.” Watch the video by clicking the link at the end of the page.

Gregory Angelo: I think right there in a nutshell you have everything that is wrong with woke corporate America. In order to appease the woke mob, these corporations feel that they need to weigh in on contentious legislation and cultural issues.

Gregory Angelo says, regrettably, he was a Frankenstein who helped create the Woke Corporate Monster. It started in 2013. Angelo was president of the Log Cabin Republicans, which represents gays in the GOP.

The group was lobbying Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, making it illegal to fire someone based on sexual orientation.

Sharyl: Take me back to that time and explain what you were doing?

Angelo: At the time, one of the lobbying strategies that we had was to lean on corporate America. The thinking being that if corporations announce their support for this legislation, weighed in on it, that Republicans that might’ve been waffling on this issue, but have received corporate support from these major corporations who’d be coming out in support of this legislation, that would be the thumb on the scale that would get them to “yes.”

Sharyl: Take me inside a room that you were in, in one of these meetings. What kind of corporations were there, what were they saying to you, and what were you saying to them?

Angelo: You know, I’ll never forget a meeting that I had with the director of government affairs for one of the country’s largest airlines and the chief lobbyist for one of the country’s largest hotel chains. The strategy, of course, was pressuring companies. The whole “right side of history” argument, saying that “if you don’t come out and support this legislation, it will be a PR nightmare for you. People will notice. If you have all these other corporations that are supporting this legislation, but you are not, people are going to start asking questions. And if you truly support the LGBT community, you need to come out in support of this legislation.”

It worked. Angelo says his group’s pressure on corporations, and theirs on Republican in Congress, helped pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act in 2013. Since then, corporations have increasingly weighed in on social and political controversies — almost always on the side of the Left. And now, Angelo is president of a different group, the New Tolerance Campaign, whose mission is to push back against woke corporations.

Sharyl: So when was it that you started to think maybe the activism you had taken part in was not the right thing to do?

Angelo: Yeah I’ll tell you a funny story. I went out for coffee with a colleague of mine and told him that one of the things we’re doing at New Tolerance Campaign is fighting back against woke corporations. And he says, “Cool, but didn’t you kinda start all of that?”

There’s been recent backlash over Bud Light’s collaboration with a social media star who chronicles living his life as a woman. There was Target’s display of gay-themed merchandise — sometimes in the children’s section — and “tuck-friendly” bathing suits that make women’s swimwear easier for men to wear.

Angelo says he wasn’t first or the only one to press corporations into activism, but that he did play a role and now regrets it.

Angelo: I was an insider when it came to leaning on corporations to weigh in on contentious cultural issues, and in some way started this fire that we are presently starting to put out.

He says he’s sorry, and now fighting to reverse course.

Angelo: But there’s no one that has actually come forward and said, “I was in the room. I helped start all of this. And I have that knowledge that got us into it; I can help get us out of it.”

Sharyl: You’ve described what you’re doing now as penance — paying penance.

Angelo: I think that in order to make amends for the time that I was working unintentionally to create this current woke landscape, I think telling my story as an insider, and also rallying everyday Americans behind the New Tolerance Campaign to push back against these corporations, is something that can turn the tide.

Sharyl (on-camera): There are a growing number of anti-woke lawsuits, legal challenges to corporate efforts to promote political and social agendas that sometimes hurt their bottom line.

Watch video here.

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