Exxon Mobil Won’t Fly Gay Rainbow or Black Lives Matter Flags

(National Review) Exxon Mobil seems to be backpedaling on some of its culture-war allegiances with a decision that is at least symbolically significant. Bloomberg reports:

Exxon Mobil Corp. plans to prohibit the LGBTQ-rights flag from being flown on the corporate flagpole outside its offices during Pride month in June, prompting a furious backlash from Houston-based employees.

Exxon updated company guidance on what flags can be displayed outside its offices, banning “external position flags” such as PRIDE and Black Lives Matter, according to the policy seen by Bloomberg News. Instead, the rule permits a flag representing an LGBTQ employees’ group that does not prominently feature Exxon’s corporate logo. 

The justification for the move, an Exxon LGBT employee group told Bloomberg, “was centered on the need for the corporation to maintain ‘neutrality.’”

That’s a remarkable line, given corporate America’s trend toward increasingly aggressive left-wing culture-war activism in recent years.

“The dispute comes as employees, investors and customers increasingly push America’s biggest corporations to take stances on social issues such as LGBTQ rights, racial equality and abortion,” the report says, citing Disney’s decision “to publicly oppose” Florida’s Parental Rights in Education bill.

But Disney’s activism — which was followed by leaked audio of a Disney executive saying she “was just, wherever I could, adding queerness” to content marketed to children — prompted “lawmakers to move to strip the entertainment giant of special self-governance privileges,” the article notes. And that was after Disney had already backed down, announcing that it would be “pausing all political donations in the state of Florida” following an unusually fierce conservative backlash. 

Big business’s relatively recent entry into the culture wars was at least partially a question of basic incentives: Progressive activists, armed with the enormous institutional power of the media, Big Tech, the culture industry, the universities, and one of the nation’s two major political parties, were increasingly demanding that corporations use their considerable economic power to go after their enemies.

Conservatives, on the other hand — traditionally more deferential to the business community — were reluctant to respond in kind.

But we’re beginning to see a shift in that dynamic. The Republican base is now demanding that their leaders show some backbone in the culture wars, and is making it politically unacceptable for party elites to cave to corporate interests

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