The far right-wing activist whose work helped ignite millions of Americans into fighting against the specter of something they had never heard before and knew nothing about is now bragging about turning his tactics against corporate America's support for the LGBTQ community – and he's just issued a warning, or, some might say, a threat.
Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the right-wing Manhattan Institute, is the man behind the right's false panic and fury over CRT, Critical Race Theory. He's proudly said he wants to "have the public read something crazy in the newspaper and immediately think 'critical race theory,'" and "put all of the various cultural insanities under that brand category."
To Rufo, those "insanities" include support for LGBTQ people.
"Mr. Rufo has taken aim at opponents of a new Florida law that prohibits teachers in some grades from discussing L.G.B.T.Q. issues and that critics call 'Don’t Say Gay,'" The New York Times reported last month. "He declared 'moral war' against the statute’s most prominent adversary, the Walt Disney Company. And he has used the same playbook that proved effective in his crusade on racial issues: a leak of insider documents."
Rufo consulted on and appeared with Governor Ron DeSantis "at the signing of a bill known as the Stop W.O.K.E. Act, which bars teaching in workplaces and schools that anyone is inherently biased or privileged because of race or sex," The Times added, noting that Rufo "warned Disney that an in-house program it had run that urged discussion of systemic racism was 'now illegal in the state of Florida.'"
The signing was the culmination of Mr. Rufo’s long campaign to short-circuit corporate and school efforts at diversity and inclusion training.
On Monday news broke that State Farm, the insurance giant, had been supporting a program designed to put LGBTQ-supportive books into schools, libraries, and community centers. State Farm has been actively promoting its support of the LGBTQ community, but within hours the company dropped its support of the program, citing consumer complaints after a right-wing media outlet published a report.
Rufo is taking credit for the extensive vitriol being catapulted at State Farm, a century-old company whose "Like a good neighbor" slogan has been part of American culture for 50 years.
And now, just one week before LGBTQ Pride month, he's very publicly threatening any other company that supports LGBTQ people, the LGBTQ community, diversity, or equality they will be next:
"There are three ways to wage war against corporations: reputational, political, and financial," Rufo adds. "With Disney, we drove public approval down to 33 percent, passed legislation to remove its special status, and helped tank the stock by $50 billion. That's how we win."
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