Jerry Greenfield, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Holdings, Inc., shows Ben & Jerry’s new flavour “Imagine Whirled Peace” during a promotional event in New York May 27, 2008
Earlier this week, Jason Fried, the cofounder of productivity software company Basecamp, published a controversial blog post issuing several changes in corporate culture at the popular tech company.
The first item on the list, “No more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account,” has sparked the most conversation online.
“Today’s social and political waters are especially choppy. Sensitivities are at 11, and every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy, or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant,” Fried wrote.
Fried also referred to politics as “not healthy” and “a major distraction” that “saps our energy, and redirects our dialog towards dark places,” concluding that political conversations “can’t happen where the work happens anymore.”
The New York Times noted that Basecamp isn’t the first tech firm to adopt an apolitical stance.
“Basecamp’s move echoes a ban on talking politics at Coinbase, which was enacted in September by its chief executive, Brian Armstrong, prompting dozens of employees to leave the company,” wrote the Times’s Sarah Kessler.
Coinbase and Basecamp likely won’t be the last businesses to attempt a post-political realignment.
The last year has seen increasing corporate involvement in the political space, with many corporations expressing support for Black Lives Matter protesters in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by Officer Derek Chauvin, and storied brands such as Coca-Cola and Delta taking a stand against Georgia Republicans’ attempts to stifle voting rights.
Even as many corporations feel a newfound duty to enter the civic space, it stands to reason that a few edgy companies will try to run counter the trend.