Jul 7, 2022 - Economy & Business

Match halts some political donations after accusations of 'reprowashing'

Illustration of two dollar bills forming an equal sign with a no symbol crossing through them.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Match Group, the company behind the dating apps Tinder and Hinge, confirmed to Axios on Thursday that it would suspend donations to state attorneys general, after facing charges of hypocrisy for giving money to anti-abortion politicians while at the same time publicly supporting reproductive rights.

Why it matters: Activists are taking the post-Dobbs fight to the business sector, going after corporations for making statements supporting abortion but also giving money to anti-abortion politicians.

Flashback: After the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, activist groups were successful in getting companies to pull donations — for a time — from lawmakers who voted to overturn the presidential election. They're hoping to pull off a similar feat in the abortion arena.

  • Yelp, one of the companies that has been outspoken on abortion rights, previously said it would stop donating to RAGA — the Republican Attorneys General Association — in light of the Capitol riot.

Details: Match CEO Bernard Kim said he only learned of his company's $100,000 donation to RAGA after reading media reports, according to the New York Times which first reported the news.

  • RAGA is now a pivotal player in the post-Dobbs push to pass abortion bans at the state level. It was Mississippi AG Lynn Fitch, a RAGA member, who argued in favor of her state's restrictive abortion law in the Dobbs case, overturning the federal right to abortion.
  • Match said it would also discontinue donations to Democratic attorneys general.

What they're saying: The women's rights group UltraViolet is calling the practice of donating to causes that directly oppose company statements on reproductive rights "reprowashing" — and along with other progressives is pushing to stop corporations from doing it.

  • "Companies have to both provide the best benefits for their workers and also make sure that they're not funding politicians who are making it necessary for workers to have to travel to get basic health care in the first place," Sonja Spoo, the Director of Reproductive Rights Campaigns at women's activist group UltraViolet, tells Axios.

Zoom out: Companies are walking a razor's edge in the current political climate — trying to please employees, customers and lawmakers, all often strongly at odds with each other.

  • Companies were freaked out after Disney’s dust-up with Florida governor Ron DeSantis over the state's so-called Don't Say Gay Bill earlier this year.
  • Despite Disney's political donations and lobbying in the state, its public opposition to the bill led to Florida's legislature revoking the company's special tax status.

What to watch: Will more companies come forward? So far Match is out there alone.

  • "Match is demonstrating what corporate integrity looks like," said Shelley Alpern, director of corporate engagement at Rhia Ventures. "We expect others will be emboldened by its example."
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