State Farm Needs a PR Insurance Policy
Turns out, customers aren’t the only ones upset with State Farm’s transgender book drive. Employees, who’ve been on the receiving end of hundreds of local complaints, are making their own phone calls to corporate — furious that the company would drag its good name into the mud, and them with it. “We’re an insurance company who’s known to be conservative,” one Midwest agent told RedState. “That is why this is so shocking. I can assure you (I’m on a private Facebook page for agents at only 4,000 members) that 99 percent of us are beyond [outraged].”
Her exasperation has been echoed by State Farm teams all across the country, who’ve flooded their regional headquarters with “phone calls, emails, everything — letting them know how bad this is for us in the field.” Others wondered if the blowback could cost them their jobs. “We agents are independent, and [work on] 100 percent commission. In addition to supporting my own family, I have three employees — including two single mothers — and I worry about this harming our business and possibly having to lay someone off.”
Most agents all have the same question: Why? How could something so controversial and off-mission get approved? And why, many piled on, wouldn’t the company have run it by their field teams first? One third-generation employee told RedState that for the first time, he wasn’t proud to be an agent. The idea that State Farm was actively trying to groom children with an extremist transgender group was nothing like the company his family grew up serving.
At the highest level of the company, PR teams are scrambling to stop the bleeding. Early Tuesday, State Farm Executive Vice President Rand Harbert tried first to put out the internal fires. In a voice message, he acknowledged the deluge of employee complaints and said, “I want you to hear directly from me that we made a mistake with our involvement in this program, and we’re sorry. As soon as we fully understood the issue Monday morning, the first decision made was to cease our involvement with this organization. Let me be clear, our position is that conversations with children about gender identity need to happen at home.”
Harbert went on to detail the company’s philanthropic budget, claiming that it’s “simply not possible” to be involved in every one of those donations. “In this case, it was $40,000. However, we recognize that even small decisions can have a big impact, and we’re taking steps so nothing like this happens again.” Publicly, State Farm’s diversity officer has been less contrite, promising to find new ways the company can partner with transgender organizations.
In skyscrapers and board rooms across the country, other CEOs have watched the firestorm with alarm. As the uproar grew, so did their concern about being publicly connected to similar projects. Less than a day after the State Farm bombshell dropped, several more big-name brands quietly made their own decision to break ties with GenderCool before they were swept up into the outrage. By Wednesday afternoon, Just the News reports, “nine of the remaining 22 entities on the partner page Tuesday night were gone: Capital One, NBC Universal, General Mills, Adobe, Indeed, Bank of America, Sprout Social, Oracle and the U.S. Department of Agriculture — the last of which disappeared within hours of Just the News asking for an explanation of its partnership.”
Of course, the Department of Agriculture’s involvement only stoked the consumer rage. Although the Biden administration has been open about its fixation on the transgender cause, most Americans didn’t know about the cozy relationship between government agencies and groups that actively recruit children into transgenderism. An eye-popping five government entities — USDA, FDA, NSA, State Department, and Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago — are listed as partners with an allied group, Out and Equal. “Four didn’t respond to queries, and one declined to talk on the record.” No wonder. It would be impossible to explain what taxpayer dollars were doing funding this groomer perversion.
But for the president, this is all par for the fanatical course. Last year, while his Justice Department was calling parents domestic terrorists for trying to protect their children from this garbage, the White House was celebrating GenderCool at its ridiculous summit on “Transgender Equality.” Now, months later, they’re using that endorsement — and the president’s stamp of approval — to market themselves to big-name brands. Brands, suddenly, that can’t distance themselves from their agenda fast enough.
Meanwhile, if any CEOs were still considering whether or not to dip their toes into this woke pool, a new Harvard-Harris poll should scare them off (if the fallout from State Farm and Disney haven’t already). Large majorities of the American people are appalled by the transgender indoctrination of kids (60 percent), calling it “excessive” and “confus[ing] to kids.” Not to mention — as one of America’s biggest insurers is finding out — extremely bad for business.
Suzanne Bowdey serves as editorial director and senior writer at The Washington Stand.