(LifeSiteNews) — Former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks recently described how large asset management firms like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street pressure companies to “go woke.”
Given the recent backlash against the radically “woke” ad campaigns by Bud Light (owned by Anheuser-Busch) and Target that have cost these companies millions of dollars, many are wondering why corporations are still opting to push the pro-LGBT agenda and other increasingly unpopular left-wing causes.
In a June 2 interview with Fox News host Jesse Watters, Frericks said that to understand why so many corporations are going woke “you just have to follow the money.”
“You take a look at BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard, they manage 20 trillion dollars worth of capital,” Frericks said. “But it’s not their own money, its the money of everyday citizens, firefighters, police officers, doctors, who generally have their money in 401Ks or, in a lot of cases, large pension funds.”
“[These pension funds include funds for] the State of California, which manages the largest pension fund in the U.S., and the State of New York, and the European pension funds as well. And a lot of the politicians in these states… they recently have mandated those large pension funds that they divest from things like fossil fuels and oil and gas.”
“They also tell BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard if they are going to manage their money, they have to commit to things like ESG (environmental, social and governance), diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), and adopt firm-wide commitments that they therefore then force onto all the major companies in corporate America.”
Watters summed up Frericks’ explanation like this: “So the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, says to a [company like] BlackRock, we are not going send you our 100 billion dollars state pension if you are going to invest in Exxon Mobil. We are only going to send it to you guys if you guys are going to invest it in woke companies and then that’s what these places do. They invest it in these woke companies, they make them ‘woker’ and then everybody gets paid.”
The Fox News host asked Frericks what led him to leave Anheuser-Busch.
Frericks said that he left the company “not necessarily because of Anheuser-Busch but a lot of other companies.”
When the state of Georgia introduced voter ID laws in 2021, Frericks recalled that BlackRock, Coca-Cola, Delta, and even Major League Baseball (MLB) strongly opposed the law and meddled in left-wing politics instead of focusing on their actual businesses.
“This was bad for capital markets because instead of these companies just delivering soft drinks or doing Major League Baseball they’re getting involved in these political issues,” Frericks stated.
“That’s bad for these companies because they are alienating a lot of their customers as we’re seeing right now with firms like Anheuser-Busch but frankly, it’s bad for democracy as well. Citizens should be able to decide these things through free and fair elections, not necessarily with a small group of asset managers and CEOs that are telling individuals how to live their lives.”
Watters replied by saying, “I remember when the left used to hate Wall Street, and now they love Wall Street, because Wall Street’s woke just like they are.”
BlackRock CEO Larry Fink famously said, when talking about “diversity” hires, that “Behaviors are going to have to change and this is one thing that we are asking companies. You have to force behaviors and at BlackRock, we are forcing behaviors.”
BlackRock and other asset managers have demonstrated that they are actively engaged in pushing the woke agenda, most notably through ESG scores, instead of solely focusing on providing the best return-on-investment for their customers.
Democrat-led states like California and New York pressure BlackRock and other pension fund managers to adopt and push the woke agenda by threatening to withdraw their pension funds. Counter-pressure from Republican-led states like Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Arkansas has been growing, as these states withdraw money from BlackRock because they are pushing a leftist political agenda.