Here is a letter I sent today to C. Douglas McMillon, Walmart President and CEO:
We ask that Walmart end its financial support of Al Sharpton and his organization, the National Action Network (NAN).
The cold-blooded murder of two New York City police officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, follows weeks of Sharpton’s vilification of law enforcement personnel.
As you know, Walmart has helped bankroll Sharpton for years. Most recently, the company was a sponsor of Sharpton’s 60th birthday party in New York City, which reportedly was a fundraiser for NAN that raised a million dollars.
We have repeatedly raised the issue of your support for Sharpton, including at the Walmart annual meeting. You cannot lay any claim to corporate social responsibility as long as you write checks to Sharpton.
This is not the first time that violence and loss of life have followed Sharpton’s agitation, such as in the 1991 Crown Heights riots and the 1995 Freddy’s Fashion Mart incident. Sharpton’s involvement in these and other abhorrent episodes, such as the Tawana Brawley hoax, are a matter of record. You cannot claim that you are unaware of Sharpton’s past record of anti-Semitism and incitement.
Other corporations support NAN, and we will be making the same request of them, but Walmart is the biggest and most prominent corporation funding Sharpton. It is essential that Walmart lead the way in disassociating corporate America from Sharpton’s demagoguery.
Police officers are working people whose dedication and professionalism help keep us all safe. They are also Walmart customers and shareholders. You can demonstrate your support for law enforcement by ending your support for Sharpton without delay.END LETTER
National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) is about to publish a book titled Sharpton: A Demagogue’s Rise by Dr. Carl Horowitz of our staff. Carefully documented and footnoted, it will be the authoritative account of Sharpton’s life.
NLPC has directly engaged company’s supporting Sharpton such as Walmart, Colgate-Palmolive, and PepsiCo.
PepsiCo apparently dropped Sharpton from its African-American advisory board after I confronted CEO Indra Nooyi at the annual meeting, although the company continued its financial support.
We forced Colgate-Palmolive to admit that it was funding Sharpton after CEO Ian Cook denied it at the annual meeting. Both CEOs seemed embarrassed and did not defend their support of Sharpton’s groups.
NLPC has also sought to make Sharpton accountable for his violations of campaign finance laws. Sharpton’s 2004 campaign was fined $285,000 as a result of our Complaint to the Federal Election Commission alleging that he ran an “off the books” presidential campaign.
Also, Sharpton was forced to pay back $100,000 in federal matching, and denied another $80,000 in matching funds.
The Sharpton-Walmart relationship appears to have started in 2007, under Walmart CEO Lee Scott. At the time, we criticized Scott for calling Sharpton a “dynamic leader” and “someone you can sit down with, talk with and build a relationship with.”
We pointed out that Scott had hired the activist Andrew Young to promote Walmart. Young embarrassed the company when he said that Jews, Koreans, and Arabs had exploited blacks through their ownership of small businesses in black neighborhoods.
In 2007, we stated in a press release, “Scott’s association with Sharpton risks a similar embarrassment.”