My Personal Gripe with Corporate Wokeness
When the George Floyd protests broke out last year, Blizzard Entertainment was one of the companies that preached about racial equality and democracy. They didn’t seem to consider that when they banned Blitzchung, a Hearthstone player, for voicing out his support of the Hong Kong protest. Many people were disgusted with this move, and Blizzard’s support dwindled. The audience was in a strong belief that Blizzard was appeasing the Chinese Government[i].
And now that the company is getting sued for its acts of sexual misconduct, it’s not surprising[ii]. The same thing has happened with All India Bakchod (AIB in short). The company’s constant promotion of feminism came to bite back at them when the #MeToo Movement brought some light about the alleged sexual misconduct among the upper echelons of the company[iii].
And then, a question popped into my mind. Why do companies like Blizzard promote progressive ideas in the West while at the same time working with not so democratic authoritative regimes[iv]? Why do companies like AIB promote feminism on social media while getting involved in scandals that involve the very things they stood up against it?
Well, the answer is pretty much simple. They want to make money. Honestly, I don’t have a problem making money. However, the problem arises when they promote such progressive ideas while not practicing what they preach to make some quick bucks.
The problems with Woke Culture
When we talk about the woke culture, often this culture is perceived more negatively. In this culture, we see celebrities and companies promoting socio-political, economic, racial, sexual, and other progressive ideas. Look at Hollywood, for example. They want women empowerment in their movies while at the same time, they’re giving awards to pedophiles and rapists like Roman Polanksi and Harvey Weinstein[v].
Celebrities like George Clooney, a Hollywood Elite who preaches about housing refugees in the Western Countries, has never housed a single refugee despite having multiple million-dollar mansions. Companies like Disney, Apple, Blizzard, Netflix, etc. would promote LGBTQIA+ rights, feminism, racial equality, and so on. While at the same time, throwing those ideas away when it comes to working with aggressive regimes in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and so on. Not to mention that Apple and Disney have sweatshops in China where most of their products are made by children[vi].
Another company that does the same is Disney. Disney preaches a lot about racial equality, representation, inclusivity, and everything that makes them Woke on a surface level. But when we look at Disney’s recent endeavors, especially with the Mulan Controversy especially with their appeasement to the Chinese Government, it just shows not only their wokeness is a facade, but they’re morally bankrupt (Not to mention their treatment of John Boyega)[vii].
Disney’s lack of action against the Mulan Actress for speaking in favor of police brutality during the Hong Kong protest, while firing a director for jokes that were made a decade years ago says a lot. And when the sets of Mulan were also found out to be near the Uyghur concentration camps, it just highlights how pathetic they are as a company. For all their preaches about human rights, they sure are just all talk[viii].
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room now. We must acknowledge that corporations’ respect for the LGBTQIA+ community is only on the surface. They don’t care about the cause or the sacrifices they make as long as the money is involved. That’s why, during Pride Month, major corporations such as Comcast, Verizon, Reebok, Red Bull, and others change their logos to the Pride Color.
There was an article by Forbes that states that companies like Verizon, Comcast, FedEx, AT&T talk big about promoting Pride month while at the same time they’re donating millions of dollars to politicians who are considered as “anti-gay.” At the same time, one critic expressed their dissatisfaction by stating that brands only use the LGBTQIA+ tag for their profit. They want to get clout, money, and love from the community, that’s why they change their logos to the Pride color.
The one platform that breaks all the records is YouTube itself. A YouTuber by the name of NerdCity has made a video of YouTube’s current demonetization system. He criticizes the system for its lack of transparency. Its reviewing has also been scrutinized because it’s been run by the bots rather than humans.
That’s where the problem begins. Youtube has been constantly promoting LGBTQIA+ rights through its videos. At the same time, they’ve been demonetizing YouTubers of the LGBTQIA+ community for using words like “Gay” and “Lesbians.” Nerd City pointed out that, YouTube is available in countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Russia, etc. where the LGBTQIA+ lifestyle is completely illegal (And in some cases, even death sentences are carried out). And to please those countries, YouTube demonetizes the videos, thus preventing the YouTubers to make money.
Nerd City pointed out that, as YouTube expands globally, legislation in places where declaring one’s sexuality is illegal may conflict with YouTube’s support for Pride Vlogs. As previously stated, YouTube wishes to appease countries that have anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. That’s why they’re demonetizing creators in the community because of a few phrases. The worst aspect is that they aren’t providing any clarity to the community’s users. It just goes to show how disconnected YouTube is from its users.
Corporate Wokeness represents everything wrong with modern late-stage capitalism. They’re just all bark and no bite. They will use a cause, as a tool for monetary and popular gains. The people of the LGBTQIA+ community have suffered discrimination long enough. I’ve seen that in first hand at the height of the YouTube vs. TikTok feud when YouTubers were using homophobic and transphobic slurs against TikTokers, all because the latter dared to respond to them. These slurs not only harm the people of the said community, but they also undermine and hamper their progress in society even further[xii].
What these corporations are doing, is not justice to them. They’re milking their causes for their benefit. So what we should do is to promote small businesses and shops that promote and care about the community. I can’t say the same for the countries with anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation. I doubt they’ll change their policies either in the present or in the future. Human nature can’t be changed overnight. I think it’s up to time to bring these changes because the world is dynamic, and even a hardline conservative law softens up in time just like it did in India in 2018.
[i] Anish Bachchan, Current Issues that Plagued the Video Game Industry, Medium (Jan. 6, 2021), anishbala147.medium.com/current-issues-that-plagued-the-video-game-industry-5067de7db0a9.
[ii] Letters: It’s time to unite against sexism in gaming, Los Angeles Times (Aug. 7, 2021), www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2021-08-07/activision-blizzard-sexism-in-gaming.
[iv] Arbitration in the Video Game Industry in Reference to Activision Blizzard Case:, ADR Association Blog (Oct. 5, 2021), soladrupes553129785.wordpress.com/2021/10/05/arbitration-in-the-video-game-industry-in-reference-to-activision-blizzard-case/.
[v] Anish Bachchan, Rihanna, Disha, Agrima: How Unsafe Is The Social Media For Women?, (Mar. 2, 2021), www.youthkiawaaz.com/2021/03/social-media-trials-and-women/.
[vi] Anish Bachchan, Opinion: Why Am I Disillusioned With Internet Edgy And Woke Culture, (Mar. 14, 2021), www.youthkiawaaz.com/2021/03/why-am-i-disillusioned-with-the-current-woke-and-edgy-culture/.
[vii] Rafael Valera, Four Cases of Disney’s Rank Political Hypocrisy, El American elamerican.com/4-cases-disney-hypocrisy/.
[viii] Anish Bachchan, Metal Gear Solid: Learning Lessons Of War From Video Games, (Mar. 30, 2021), www.youthkiawaaz.com/2021/03/metal-gear-solid-the-lessons-of-war/.
[x] Dawn Ennis, Don’t Let That Rainbow Logo Fool You: These 9 Corporations Donated Millions To Anti-Gay Politicians, (June 24, 2019), www.forbes.com/sites/dawnstaceyennis/2019/06/24/dont-let-that-rainbow-logo-fool-you-these-corporations-donated-millions-to-anti-gay-politicians/.
[xii] LGBTQIA+ issues in the Online World: An Analysis, www.latestlaws.com/articles/lgbtqia-issues-in-the-online-world-an-analysis/.