Apple, Yelp, Salesforce, and More Protest ‘Religious Freedom’ Bills

The response from the business world has been universally negative.

Mike-PenceIn case you missed it, Indiana Governor Mike Pence passed what’s called a “religious freedom” bill essentially allowing businesses in the state to refrain from serving any particular demographic that conflicts with their religious beliefs.

While the move will almost certainly boost Pence’s standing among key audiences, a few major businesses and celebrities are less than pleased.

Twitter star George Takei started the #BoycottIndiana tag after the law passed yesterday:

The tag quickly began trending, but not everyone used it: Broadway star Audra McDonald, for example, addressed the governor himself.

One of the first businesses to weigh in was the NCAA, whose Final Four will happen in Indianapolis next week. The org’s president said, in a statement:

“We are especially concerned about how this legislation could affect our student-athletes and employees.”

Yelp’s CEO Jeremy Stoppelman then made his opinion known with a post on his company’s blog, writing:

“These laws set a terrible precedent that will likely harm the broader economic health of the states where they have been adopted, the businesses currently operating in those states and, most importantly, the consumers who could be victimized under these laws.”

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff told Re\code:

“We’ve made significant investments in Indiana…but we simply cannot support this kind of legislation.

 We have a large number of employees and customers who would be impacted dramatically by this legislation. … I’m really just advocating on their behalf.”

He then announced that he would move a coming event from Indianapolis to New York. This afternoon, Apple CEO Tim Cook released a statement on Twitter after his home state of Arkansas passed a similar law and governor Asa Hutchinson said he’d sign it:

Finally,White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told Washington’s Metro Weekly:

“I have seen that there are a number of private businesses and nonprofit organizations that have said that the signing of this law prompts them to reconsider doing business in the state of Indiana.

Again, that’s not just the view of the administration, I know that’s the view of the Republican mayor of Indianapolis and a whole host of nonprofit and private sector companies who have legitimate concerns about the impact of this legislation.”

No one outside of politics has spoken out in support of the laws, because that would be terrible PR.