“Murdock Trust, you know, they do some really awful things that we agree are awful.”
-Karinda Harris, New Seasons Market Seattle Community Manager (October 26, 2017)
“What we’ve learned from Murdock is that it does not fund projects that contribute to discrimination of any kind.”
-New Seasons Market internal communication to staff (March 8, 2018).
The extremists at Alliance Defending Freedom won another Supreme Court case this morning, this time defending the rights of fake women’s clinics. They’re fundraising right now to take a case back to the Washington State supreme court so businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ customers. A few weeks ago, they were cheering about their Supreme Court win on behalf of a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.
The Murdock Charitable Trust, a part-owner of New Seasons Market, has given the ADF nearly $1 million in grants.
The ADF is so extreme that the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled them a hate group. And it’s not the only distasteful group that Murdock has funded—they’ve given money to anti-LGBTQ Focus on the Family, an ex-gay ministry that practiced conversion therapy in Oregon, crisis pregnancy centers across the Northwest, and the anti-workers-rights Freedom Foundation. Last week, a group of LGBTQ leaders in Seattle asked Seattle Pride to reject New Seasons as a sponsor because of their financial ties to the Murdock Trust.
Instead of cutting ties, New Seasons leaders have alternately defended Murdock’s work or tried to downplay Murdock’s investments in their stores. In public, they say Murdock is only one of their investors, so it shouldn’t be a big deal. In private, management actually told workers that Murdock “does not fund projects that contribute to discrimination of any kind.”
They said that despite the fact that a New Seasons spokesperson had already admitted to Seattle community leaders that Murdock does “some really awful things that we agree are awful.” When will it be awful enough to make real changes?
The extreme groups funded by the Murdock Trust are fighting against Seattle’s values of equity, inclusion, and workers’ rights. If New Seasons wants to advertise itself to Seattle as a “progressive grocer” and “the friendliest store in town,” it’s time for them to walk their talk.
It’s time to cut ties with Murdock.