Left-wing activists have forced MasterCard to hold a shareholder vote on the creation of a “human rights committee” that would monitor payments to the “far right,” with a view to cut off disfavored individuals and political groups from receiving money from supporters.
BuzzFeed reports that the proposed Mastercard human rights committee would “stop designated white supremacist groups and anti-Islam activists, such as Tommy Robinson, from getting access to money sent from donors using the company’s card payment services.”
The Board of Mastercard has opposed the proposal, urging stockholders to vote against it.
The proposal was submitted for a vote at Mastercard’s upcoming meeting of stockholders on June 25, 2019. The proposal was submitted by left-wing advocacy organization ThisIsUs, whose board members are linked to Color of Change, a group that has been pressuring banks, payment processors, and credit card companies to cut off service to right-wingers, Islam critics, and critics of progressivism.
In its supporting statement, ThisIsUs wrote:
Companies can face risks related to human rights even when they only perform support functions. Internet infrastructure companies like web host GoDaddy, social media platform Facebook and payments firm PayPal have come under pressure for doing business with or providing a forum for neo-Nazis and other hate groups. Mastercard has received negative publicity for processing of payments to white supremacist groups. “Organizers Catch Credit Card Companies Profiting From White Supremacy: Online payment companies are complicit in authorizing transactions related to hate groups,” AlterNet, August 22, 2017; and “Color Of Change Is Attacking Hate Groups At The Source: Their Funding,” Fast Company, August 21, 2017. According to the website bloodmoney.org (accessed on December 18, 2018), Mastercard continues to process payments for organizations such as American Border Patrol, League of the South, Proud Boys and Stormfront.
In response, the board of Mastercard recommended that stockholders vote against the proposal, stating that the company operates on the principle that consumers should be able to make “all lawful purchases.”