The leaders of more than 70 tech companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have signed a letter urging North Carolina to repeal House Bill 2. These business leaders, many of whom do business in North Carolina, argue the bill is discriminatory, and doesn't align with, "the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians."
[Update: Laurene Powell Jobs—Steve Jobs's widow—also signed the letter as the president of the Emerson Collective. Thanks to TMO member llg4nlp for catching that in the long list of signatories. - Editor]
That bill specifically prevents North Carolina municipalities from passing ordinances covering wages, employment and public accommodations. What that means in practical terms is that the law stops cities like Charlotte from passing ordinances that allow transgender people to use bathroom facilities based on their gender identity, rather than their biological gender, and it's seen as a major assault against the LGBT community.
Tech companies trend towards the progressive on social issues, especially in Silicon Valley. Salesforce, for instance, has threatened to stop doing business in North Carolina over this law, and major cities around the nation have prohibited travel to the state, along with other restrictions.
The letter below, falls fall short of threatening a mass exodus from the state, but many of them operate major data centers in the state. North Carolina attracts its share of business conferences, as well, and overall the implication of a boycott could be read in the letter, even if it doesn't explicitly threaten one.
One last note: though Google CEO Sundar Pichai is a signatory, Alphabet CEO Larry Page is not. That probably doesn't mean anything, but I thought it worth mentioning when I looked for his name and didn't find it. Uber isn't a signatory company, either.
The letter in full, with some names bolded by me:
March 29, 2016
Dear Governor McCrory,
Office of the Governor 116 West Jones Street Raleigh, NC 27603
We write with concerns about legislation you signed into law this week, House Bill 2, which has overturned protections for LGBT people and sanctioned discrimination across North Carolina. Put simply, HB 2 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies, of our country, or even the overwhelming majority of North Carolinians.
We are disappointed in your decision to sign this discriminatory legislation into law. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development. We believe that HB 2 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.
Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in North Carolina or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you and the leadership of North Carolina’s legislature to repeal this law in the upcoming legislative session.
Karen Appleton, Senior Vice President, Box Brandee Barker, Cofounder, The Pramana Collective
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce
Chip Bergh, President and CEO, Levi Strauss & Co.
Michael Birch, Founder, Blab
Ed Black, President and CEO, Computer & Communications Industry Association Nathan Blecharczyk, Cofounder and CTO, Airbnb
Steven R. Boal, CEO, Quotient Technology Inc.
Lorna Borenstein, CEO, Grokker
Brad Brinegar, Chairman and CEO, McKinney
Lloyd Carney, CEO, Brocade Communications Systems, Inc.
Brian Chesky, CEO, Airbnb
Ron Conway, Founder and Co-Managing Partner, SV Angel
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
Dean Debnam, Chairman and CEO, Workplace Options Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square and Twitter
David Ebersman, Cofounder and CEO, Lyra Health Jared Fliesler, General Partner, Matrix Partners
Joe Gebbia, Cofounder and Chief Product Officer, Airbnb Jason Goldberg, CEO, Pepo
Alan King, President and COO, Workplace Options Kristen Koh Goldstein, CEO, BackOps
Mitchell Gold, co-founder and chair-man, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
John H. Graham IV, President and CEO, American Society of Association Executives
Logan Green, CEO, Lyft
Paul Graham, Founder, Y Combinator
David Hassell, CEO, 15Five
Charles H. Hill III, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Human Resources, Pfizer Inc.
Reid Hoffman, Chairman, LinkedIn
Robert Hohman, Cofounder & CEO, Glassdoor
Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox
Chad Hurley, Cofounder, YouTube
Dave Imre, Partner and CEO, IMRE
Dev Ittycheria, President & CEO, MongoDB
Laurene Powell Jobs, President, Emerson Collective
Cecily Joseph, VP Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer, Symantec Corporation
David Karp, Founder and CEO, Tumblr
Travis Katz, Founder and CEO, Gogobot
Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel
Joshua Kushner, Managing Partner, Thrive Capital Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm
Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson
Shan-lyn Ma, CEO, Zola
Marissa Mayer, President and CEO, Yahoo
Melody McCloskey, CEO, StyleSeat
Douglas Merrill, CEO, Zestfinance
Dyke Messinger, President and CEO, Power Curbers Inc.
Hari Nair, Vice President and General Manager, Orbitz.com & CheapTickets.com
Michael Natenshon, CEO, Marine LayerAlexi G. Nazem, Cofounder and CEO, Nomad Health
Laurie J. Olson, EVP, Strategy, Portfolio and Commercial Operations, Pfizer Inc.
Bob Page, Founder and CEO, Replacements, Ltd.
Michelle Peluso, Strategic Advisor and former CEO, Gilt
Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google
Mark Pincus, Founder and Executive Chairman, Zynga
Hosain Rahman, CEO, Jawbone
Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree
Evan Reece, CEO, Liftopia
Stan Reiss, General Partner, Matrix Partners
John Replogle, CEO, Seventh Generation
Virginia M. Rometty, Chairman, President and CEO, IBM Corporation
Dan Rosensweig, CEO, Chegg
Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and Chairman, Alleycorp
Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital
Julie Samuels, President, Engine
George A. Scangos, PhD, CEO, Biogen
Dan Schulman, President and CEO, PayPal
Adam Shankman, Director and Producer
Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association
David A. Shaywitz, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Officer, DNAnexus
Ben Silbermann, CEO, Pinterest
Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft
Arne Sorenson, President and CEO, Marriott International
David Spector, Cofounder, ThirdLove
Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp
Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip
Todd Thibodeaux, CEO, CompTIA
David Tisch, Managing Partner, BoxGroup
Nirav Tolia, Cofounder and CEO, Nextdoor
Kevin A. Trapani, President and CEO, The Redwood Groups
Ken Wasch, President, Software & Information Industry Association
Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Co-Founders and Co-Chairmen, The Weinstein Company
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook