After threats of a boycott and being the target of other proposed protests against Delta Air Lines, its CEO is doing an about-face on the controversial topic of Georgia’s new law restricting voting access that is expected to disproportionately affect Black and brown communities.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian previously praised the new law — SB 202 — as recently as last week. But on Wednesday, he conveniently had a change of heart after the prospects of losing business during a time when the travel industry has already been crippled because of the pandemic.
After describing SB202 as having “improved” existing election laws, Bastain said Wednesday it was “unacceptable.” He suggested his words in a company statement were taken out of context and said he was finally setting the record straight about his opinion on the matter, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“I need to make it crystal clear that the final bill is unacceptable and does not match Delta’s values,” Bastain wrote in an internal memo sent to Delta employees.
That didn’t match the same energy Bastain had when he selectively glossed over SB 202 provisions such as barriers to mobile voting, preventing volunteers from handing out water and other line-warming activities, and additional restrictions placed on absentee voting. Bastian’s previous statement also fed into claims that SB 202 promotes greater election security when there is no evidence that warrants a genuine concern of election integrity and security.
Bastain addressed that in his memo on Wednesday.
“The entire rationale for this bill was based on a lie: that there was widespread voter fraud in Georgia in the 2020 elections. This is simply not true,” Bastain wrote. “Unfortunately, that excuse is being used in states across the nation that are attempting to pass similar legislation to restrict voting rights.”
But Gov. Brian Kemp said Bastain was all-in on the bill leading up to it being signed into law.
“Today’s statement by Delta CEO Ed Bastian stands in stark contrast to our conversations with the company, ignores the content of the new law, and unfortunately continues to spread the same false attacks being repeated by partisan activists,” Kemp said in a statement.
Bastain’s updated thoughts on SB 202 fell in line with civil rights and voting activists who called the law what it was: racist voter suppression.
“There’s no acceptable version of this bill partially because the entire premise is a lie,” Cliff Albright, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, previously told NewsOne.
Calls for an economic boycott spread across social media after the passage of SB 202. Corporate accountability in democracy organizing has become a major topic after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.
Voting rights groups have been pushing back on Delta, Coca-Cola, Home Depot, and other Georgia-based corporations that were exposed for donations to elected officials who supported voter suppression and Trump’s big lie. Demanding corporate support for HR 1 and HR 4 could be the next major push in this ongoing accountability effort.
'This Is A Crisis': Folks Share Georgia Voting Catastrophes Through Videos And Photos
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“This is ridiculous,” says Anita Heard, a 80-year-old who was first in line to vote at 6 this morning and is still waiting to cast her ballot. “Of course,” she says when I ask her if she plans to stay. “I worked for 40 years — where else am I going?” #gapol pic.twitter.com/4Cd8nwagG9— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) June 9, 2020
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Once again my neighbors in #SWATL are experiencing #VoterSuppression. Polls were supposed to open an hour ago and we are not being admitted. Apparently we don’t have the paper needed for these new voting machines. #votingday #atlanta pic.twitter.com/R0gPxqMaSM— Alyssa Thys (@alyssa_thys) June 9, 2020
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Huge downpour just now. And at this Fulton Co. polling location - it seems nobody left the line.— Blayne Alexander (@ReporterBlayne) June 9, 2020
Many have been waiting for 2+hours. When I asked how they’re feeling, one woman told me simply: “determined.” #GAPrimary pic.twitter.com/AOpvvuE97h
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People are waiting more than three hours to cast ballots in Atlanta. Look at this line 😳 pic.twitter.com/3IbVO6WiGO— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 9, 2020
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The is the line to vote at just ONE precinct in Atlanta right now.— Read Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire (@JoshuaPotash) June 9, 2020
We need to push back now against having yet another election stolen.pic.twitter.com/NCfXxC7S43
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Massive lines, voting machine problems at precincts across metro Atlanta on this primary day. Some voters here at Park Tavern precinct in Altanta have been waiting three hours. pic.twitter.com/ngXvUnKbA1— Tom Regan (@tomreganWSB) June 9, 2020
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All 12 machines in almost all white Milton are working perfectly. There we're even two voting machine techs there to make sure. No lines, and almost no voters at— audiomagnate🔊 (@audiomagnate) June 9, 2020
Milton Branch Library
855 Mayfield Road
Milton, GA 30009#VoterSuppression#GeorgiaVoterSuppression pic.twitter.com/k3de1lOVV8
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I’m sorry but I need #GAVoterSuppression to go viral. Once again, my location Cross Keys High School, is down. People have been waiting since 7am. Machines down and no provisional ballots on site. #BLMprotest #BLM #BlackLivesMatter #VoterSuppression pic.twitter.com/DB9fLd3YbQ— De Popuweh Pin🇧🇧 (@TheHonorRebel) June 9, 2020
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Only After Boycott Threat, Delta CEO Reverses Praise Of Georgia’s Voter Suppression Law was originally published on newsone.com