Forget Mozilla’s anti-gay CEO. We have confirmed that Pandora’s Tim Westergren contributed funds to radical anti-gay politician Jason Chaffetz for his 2014 race. This is the guy that among other things tried to legislate away Washington DC’s same sex marriages.
Wow. I guess Pandora not only has no R E S P E C T for Aretha Franklin, they must not think much of their gay subscribers and employees either!
You’d think that in the wake of the Mozilla scandal companies like Pandora would know better.
But first a little backstory cause this is not just simple homophobia or ignorance . It’s a very nasty story of anti-gay demagoguery, political corruption, corporate skullduggery and pay-to-play politics.
Last year Pandora pushed the Orewellian-named Internet Radio Fairness Act. The way that Pandora presented the bill was that it would level the playing field for internet broadcasters against those “bad” terrestrial broadcasters. The problem with this characterization is that the bill did no such thing. It was a sharks belly stew of gifts for the broadcast industry. Internet and Terrestrial. Why else would Clear Channel support a bill that would help internet radio “compete with it’s 840 terrestrial stations? The real reason the internet radio AND terrestrial broadcast industry supported this bill is that it would have used the awesome power of the federal government to mandate lower performer royalties by 80 percent!
Wow. I wish I could go to congress and have them mandate that my suppliers charge me 80% less for everything they sell me. But I digress.
Those of us outside Washington have come to expect this sort of pay-to-play nonsense from Washington, and so it’s not really a surprise that these politically connected firms could get this into a bill and then get it seriously considered by congress.
What was surprising is that Pandora was pushing a bill sponsored by a well known anti-gay demagogue, Utah politician Jason Chaffetz.
Now we didn’t’ make a big deal about it before because it could have just as easily been the National Association of Broadcasters, Clear Channel any of the other ethics impaired corporations that had a relationship with this politician. Surely the “progressive” leaders of an internet radio station based in Oakland a city that Rev. Jesse Jackson recently called the “rainbow city” would never support an anti-gay politician!
Below is a screenshot from opensecrets.org clearly indicating that Tim Westergren founder and spokesperson for Pandora personally gave money to this anti-gay demagogue. Apparently a thank you for sponsoring the bill Westergren pushed so strongly. That is Westergren personally supports this anti-gay demagogue.
Now remember this is for this upcoming 2014 election.This is not a long time ago. This is long after Chaffetz’s various anti-gay outbursts were known. This is after Chaffetz famously sought to overturn the will of the voters in Washington DC, essentially nullify their votes and institute a federally mandated ban on gay marriage in Washington DC. That’s right Chaffetz wanted to impose his religious (?) views on 650 thousand citizens of a city 2000 miles from his home district in Utah. Imagine if you were a same sex couple in DC, and you had your marriage nullified because a Utah politician wanted to grandstand for voters back home?
Tim Westergren had to know what this guy stood for and yet he personally donated money to him.
This revelation could not come at a worse time for Pandora. For Pandora has recently and very publicly embraced Rev Jesse Jacksons PUSH campaign to increase diversity in Silicon Valley. Diversity includes sexual orientation as well fellas. Silicon Valley’s embarrassingly misogynistic and homophobic brogrammers have started to become a liability for these companies. Notably Pandora embraced the effort so quickly and readily that Hamlet comes to mind. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.
CEO Brian McAndrews of Pandora said in his letter to Rev. Jackson, “Thank you for reaching out. We were excited to hear from you because we have been discussing our own path towards transparency and amplifying our efforts around building a more diverse workforce….. We hear your urge for data transparency . . .There is no doubt that knowledge leads to awareness, and to actions.”
Well Mr McAndrews, here is my contribution to your quest for “transparency.” Your companies founder apparently supports radical anti-gay politicians. What does that say about your attitude towards diversity?