On July 6, 1892, a private security group hired by Henry Clay Frick to protect the Homestead, an iron factory owned by Andrew Carnegie, and bust the union strike that was occurring there. The confrontation between the security group and the union workers turned violent, and workers and security forces alike were left dead.
That security group, the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, has long been associated with union-busting, though they have been known to take part in other investigations (including tracking Wild West outlaws like the Wild Bunch).
Their history has made them a consistent villain in the national labor movement and union activists, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized they were still around. It was revealed last year that Amazon had hired them to try and identify union organizers in their workforce. This same, storied organization that has long been the bane of one of the biggest progressive movements in American history, however, would like you to know they are down with the LGBT movement.
First of all, with a hashtag in the bio like “#weneversleep”, the Pinkertons are just embracing the whole villain identity, aren’t they? Secondly, I find it hilarious that the profile says they’re not following anyone when it’s very clear that following people is their primary business offering.
But, I suppose there are worse companies who could choose to celebrate Pride Month.
All the upstanding companies are doing it! pic.twitter.com/UO8TfXBW7z
— Þe Vexillological Hat (@ThePoliticalHat) June 14, 2021
More seriously, does being down with pride month actually mean anything anymore? Every corporation out there switches their profile picture to something with a rainbow and talks a good game about supporting the LGBT cause, even when their brand has nothing to do with LGBT issues and they rarely offer anything other than something symbolic they can make money from.
What on earth does the Pinkerton Agency actually do for the LGBT movement? Have they pledged to help more gay business owners break up unionization efforts in their businesses?
There is always a big corporate move to make sure that everyone knows they are down with whatever super progressive cause is out there. Remember when Delta decried the new Georgia voting law after expressing support for it? That’s far from the only virtue-signaling effort out there. These corporations are led by people who lean to the left for sure, but by and large, a lot of their big social commentary decisions have more to do with simply making sure they keep people wanting to buy their product rather than truly back something.
How many of these companies, big and small, actually do anything about any of these causes they change their profile pictures for? There is a small moral argument you could make in that simply being a big brand that recognizes gay and trans issues helps younger Americans feel more comfortable and accepted in modern culture, but in an era where Americans are typically far more open and accepting of gay and trans people, it doesn’t do much beyond that.
The LGBT movement has, whether you like or agree with their goals or not, been one of the most successful at effecting social and cultural change over the last couple of decades. While comparisons to the goals of the Civil Rights movement of the mid-20th century are often overblown, the influence the LGBT movement has had over culture has been as just as tremendous. But that happened without beverage companies, airlines, financial institutions, and union-busting private investigators.
These public displays of solidarity don’t actually advance the cause. They allow these companies to make themselves look good and assuage the guilt of (largely white progressive) people who haven’t really been supportive in any other meaningful way.
If companies want to actually support whatever causes they are changing their profile pictures over, there are ways to do that. Simply changing a social media profile picture and running a couple of ads is just empty virtue-signaling.