GrubHub CEO Doesn’t Want to Do Business with Trump Supporters and I Support Him
Do employers have the right to tell customers with an opposing political view not to do business with their company?
After the election of Donald Trump a number of CEO’s made it clear that Trump-supporters are not welcome at their companies. This article shares the reactions by several CEO’s at various companies’ that decided it was a good idea to tell Trump supporters that they are not welcome at their company.
Now, I’m all for the first amendment rights of these owners making it clear where they stand. And, I fully support their right to do business with whomever they choose. I’m also supportive of their right to refuse to do business with anyone they want. Business owners should have the right to adhere to their conscience and convictions, and should not be forced to conduct business that would violate those convictions.
So, if doing business with a Trump supporter is morally objectionable, or, would violate a business owner’s convictions, that business owner should have the right to refuse to do business with that person. Just as a baker should not be forced to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding in violation of the baker’s religious freedom and deeply held convictions.
However, I’m also supportive of the right of people to decide where they will spend their hard earned money. In the case of GrubHub, this lesson in free-market economics is only starting to sink in.
Matt Maloney is the CEO and co-founder of GrubHub, a food delivery service. After the election of Trump Maloney made it very clear that anyone, employee or otherwise, that supports Trump is not welcome at GrubHub. He wrote in a memo to his employees:
“I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant, and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can… I want to be clear that this behavior — and these views — have no place at Grubhub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination… If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation, because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.”
As you might imagine, the leaked memo hit social media and the response was not the positive PR a CEO wants for his company. The backlash was so fierce that GrubHub’s stock was down more than 5% in a matter of days. The hashtag #BoycottGrubhub started circulating online and drove the stock down even further.
In an effort to stop the bleeding, Maloney issued another statement saying that his comments were misconstrued and that he didn’t mean what he said previously. Maloney told reporters that he:
“…did not ask for anyone to resign if they voted for Trump. I would never make such a demand. Grubhub welcomes and accepts employees with all political beliefs, no matter who they voted for in this or any election. We do not discriminate on the basis of someone’s principles, or political or other beliefs.”
Wait a minute. Those two statements are entirely contradictory with one another. The first statement says GrubHub rejects “nationalist and anti-immigrant” views and that “these views…have no place at GrubHub,” and that anyone that does not agree with Maloney’s statement and views should “reply to this email with your resignation.”
The very next statement from the CEO says, “I did not ask anyone to resign if they voted for Trump,” and that “GrubHub welcomes and accepts employees with all political beliefs.”
Someone needs a lesson in contradiction. The CEO made clear that anyone holding to some particular beliefs, nationalist and anti-immigrant are not welcome and should resign. Then he “makes clear” that employees with “all political beliefs” are welcome. I’m fairly certain the irony is lost on him.
So why the reversal? Did Maloney have a change of heart? Did he realize that he was a hypocrite and needed to learn and practice real tolerance? I doubt it. More than likely his board of directors made him issue a second statement because they saw money flying out the window as the stock crashed. So Maloney isn’t as principled as he would have anyone believe. He’s just a good capitalist protecting his wallet.
He is entirely unlike many people that have lost their businesses and livelihood’s for adhering to their sincerely held religious convictions. Bakers, florists, photographers and others have been forced to close or to pay fines simply for adhering to their convictions. Not by the public, these have been forced to close and pay fines by direct government involvement. In other words, the government is punishing people for adhering to their convictions.
In the end, I support Maloney’s right to refuse to do business with anyone that supports Trump. I also support the right of people to refuse to do business with any business that doesn’t appreciate their views. It’s called freedom. You’re free, as a business owner to refuse to do business with me because I’m a Christian. And I’m free to refuse to do business with you because you support abortion, promote same-sex “marriage,” or believe that gender is “flexible.” This is a little thing we call tolerance.
I didn’t vote for Trump. But apparently Mr. Maloney would not like many of my sincerely held religious views. He would find them appalling and would refuse to do business with me. That’s fine. As a Christian I am aware of the fact that many people will hate me because of my beliefs. It’s nothing new; people hated my Jesus many years ago (John 15:18). So I don’t mind that Mr. Maloney would not like me or want to do business with me. In fact, I support his right to not like me.
I just wish Mr. Maloney would offer the same tolerance to people he disagrees with that he is asking for.