ATLANTA (AP) – A group of religious leaders calls for a boycott of Georgia-based Home Depot, saying the home improvement giant hasn’t done enough to oppose the state’s new. African Methodist Episcopal Bishop Reginald Jackson said the company has remained “silent and indifferent” to his efforts to rally opposition to the new state law pushed by Republicans and similar efforts elsewhere.
“We just don’t think we ought to let their indifference stand,” Jackson said.
Jackson, the leader of all his denomination’s churches in Georgia, met last week with other Georgia-based executives to urge them to oppose the voting law. However, he said he’d had no contact with Home Depot, despite repeated efforts to reach the company.
Home Depot did not immediately respond to an email Tuesday. The largest company is based in Georgia by revenue, profit, and several employees.
Republican Gov. Brian Kemp called the boycott “absolutely ridiculous” on Twitter.
Opponents of the newit will restrict voting. It requires people to present proof of identification to request an absentee ballot, cuts the number of days for requesting an absentee ballot, shortens early voting before runoff elections, provides fewer drop boxes than allowed under emergency rules during the pandemic, enables the election offices and bars people from handing out food and water to voters within 150 feet (45 meters) of a polling place.
Supporters say the bill was demanded by Republican voters alarmed byTrump’s claims about fraud and makes absentee balloting more secure, provides a permanent legal basis for drop boxes, and expands the number of mandatory weekends early voting days.
Jackson earlier trained his criticism on Coca-Cola Co., but the Atlanta soft drink titan later spoke out forcefully against the law and helped arrange Jackson’s.
“We believe that corporations have a corporate responsibility to their customers, who are Black, white and brown, on the issue of voting,” Jackson said. “It doesn’t make any sense to keep giving dollars and buying products from people who do not support you.”
He said faith leaders may call for boycotts of other companies in the future.
Boycotts in the past have been aimed at pressuring business leaders to push elected officials to change, but it’s not clear Republicans will respond this. Georgia lawmakers took an unsuccessful vote to strip a jet fuel tax break from after that company forcefully opposed the bill.
Some Georgia lawmakers demanded that Coca-Cola remove refrigerators from their offices, which provide free drinks at the state capitol. Gov. Brian Kemp and others have repeatedly attackedfor removing its All-Star Game from the Atlanta Braves stadium, blaming Democrats for economic losses. Some members of Congress propose revoking the league’s antitrust exemption. Jackson acknowledged retaliation but said that if companies stand together, “there is no way Republicans will go after them.”
Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.