Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Heritage Foundation Halts Donations from Big Tech

 Here is more Lydia Moynihan of the New York Post:

The Heritage Foundation has stopped accepting donations from tech giants amid an escalating battle with Silicon Valley over censorship, The Post has learned.

The influential conservative think tank — which famously turned pro-Trump after initial skepticism of his presidential candidacy, brokering appointments of cabinet members including Mick Mulvaney, Jeff Sessions and Betsy DeVos — said it will join a group of more than 40 right-leaning research outfits refusing to accept money from Big Tech firms including Google, Twitter, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, according to a memo obtained by The Post.

Last month, dozens of conservative think tanks including the Family Research Council, Media Research Center, Center for Renewing America, and Citizens United pledged to turn down donations from big tech. Other big right-leaning research nonprofits like American Enterprise Institute, Mercatus, Cato Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Hoover Institution and the Rand Corporation haven’t announced positions on tech donations. 


The New York Post notes that in early 2019, Google dissolved an advisory board on artificial intelligence (AI) that Heritage's James had served on after it received a petition signed by 2,500 employees demanding her removal, calling her "vocally anti-trans, anti-LGBTQ, and anti-immigrant."  The move was blasted by James in a Washington Post op-ed.

The NY Post also notes that a few months later, Google's YouTube removed a video posted by Heritage, saying comments made about transgender issues were "hate speech."

Here are some other anecdotes from NY Post:

In 2019, Twitter temporarily banned a Heritage employee who tweeted he believed transgender women who are born male should not be allowed to participate in women’s sports competitions, classifying the tweet as hate speech. Heritage mediated the situation and the employee regained access to his account without deleting the tweet.

Earlier this year, Amazon removed a book on transgenderism from its site, “When Harry Became Sally,” written by former Heritage employee Ryan T. Anderson. In February, US Sens. Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Mike Lee, and Mike Braun wrote Amazon a letter demanding an explanation for removing the book from its platform.


As Think Tank Watch previously reported, the Heritage Foundation recently turned down six-figure donations from Google and Facebook, although it has already accepted seven-figure donations from those firms.