The embarrassment sweeping PwC’s local division is a manifestation of the global crisis in woke capitalism. The claim of higher ethical standards has been exposed as a sham. No amount of rainbow-washing will remove the stain from PwC’s reputation.
The business case for LGBT+ inclusion was set out in a recent report by PwC. It estimated the global spending power of LGBT+ consumers to be more than $5 trillion. The “Ally Marketplace” of consumers who identify as fellow travellers with the LGBT+ community was eight to 10 times bigger.
PwC Australia has followed its own advice to the letter as a sponsor of last November’s Australian LGBTQ Inclusion conference in Melbourne.
Perhaps this frivolous diversity gibberish did come from the heart and was not cut and pasted from countless other statements assuring us of PwC’s faithfulness to the official religion of our day. Or perhaps it meant nothing more than the removable rainbow tattoos worn by those who feel the need to show they care.
Either way, the cracks are appearing in woke corporatism, highlighted by a consumer backlash that has taken tens of billions of dollars off the value of US shares. Anheuser-Busch’s market value has fallen by $US27bn since April 1, the day Dylan Mulvaney, a man who identifies as a woman, announced his partnership with Bud Lite.
Target in the US has lost $US13bn in market value since May 17 when it released its Pride collection of children’s clothing, which includes “tuck-friendly” female swimwear and other products. Other items in the collection include “gender fluid” mugs, “queer all year” calendars and books for children aged 2-8 titled “Bye Bye, Binary”, “Pride 1,2,3” and “I’m not a girl”.
Disney Corporation’s share price was already sliding when it was hit by a boycott in February last year provoked by its public opposition to a Florida law banning the teaching of sexual orientation and gender identity to children between kindergarten and third grade.
The “subset of American consumers” refusing Bud Lite is not as small as they imagine, and neither are their necks necessarily red. Shareholders of Anheuser-Busch, Target and Disney have every right to be angry that boards did not apply due diligence before partnering with a movement pursuing radical social goals.
Trans activists have done a remarkable job of portraying themselves as the bearer of the civil rights torch handed down through the ages.
Vivek Ramaswamy blew the lid on virtue-seeking capitalism two years ago in his book Woke, Inc: Inside the Social Justice Scam. “Here’s how it works,” he wrote, “pretend like you care about something other than profit and power, precisely to gain more of each.” The mistakes by Anheuser-Busch and Target suggest it is a short-term trick. The public will only put up with hypocrisy for so long, as PwC’s tumbling reputation attests.