Credit Marc Benioff for making the first move. As soon as Indiana passed the RFRA (Religious Freedom and Restoration Act), which for all practical purposes, serves as a license to discriminate, particularly against LGBT people, the Salesforce CEO took to Twitter.
Today we are canceling all programs that require our customers/employees to travel to Indiana to face discrimination. http://t.co/SvTwyCHxvE— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 26, 2015
Calling other tech CEOs and tech industry leaders to please take a stand. http://t.co/Ghd7TcxfZf— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) March 26, 2015
PayPal founder and Affirm CEO Max Levchin also encouraged other Silicon Valley executives to examine their connections to the state.
What is happening in Indiana is pretty unbelievable. However it’s dressed up, it’s a signal that discrimination is welcome in this state.— Max Levchin (@mlevchin) March 26, 2015
Apple CEO Tim Cook shared his outrage in an op-ed in the Washington Post.
“America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges.”
Alan Saldich, CMO of Hadoop provider Cloudera announced that his company wouldn’t be going to Indiana’s big data day.
We intend to take a stand against this discrimination by not attending IndyBigData later this month.— Jeremy Burton (@jburton) March 29, 2015
It seems that there is a strong current of outrage no matter where you turn in the tech world.
Yelp CEO Jeremy Toppleman exclaimed his disgust in a company blog post, noting, “it is unconscionable to imagine that Yelp would create, maintain, or expand a significant business presence in any state that encouraged discrimination by businesses against our employees, or consumers at large. I encourage states that are considering passing laws like the one rejected by Arizona or adopted by Indiana to reconsider and abandon these discriminatory actions”
Bill Oesterle, CEO of Indiannopolis-based Angie’s List, told Recode that it would put its plans for expansion of its campus ”on hold” until the state came to its senses.
Even celebrity/tech investor Ashton Kutcher chimed in:
The messages all boil down to one thing: Indiana, if this is how you treat our brothers and sisters, we won’t do business with you.