There is a very good reason we don’t mix politics with business. Namely, people in the workplace should not face any form of discrimination for their own personal politics and preferences.
For example, a personal opinion about Obamacare shouldn’t have any bearing on someone’s employment.
A few weeks ago, it was revealed that Reed Hastings (Netflix CEO and Facebook board member), characterized fellow Facebook board members Peter Thiel as having horrible judgment because of his Trump endorsement.
“I see our board being about great judgment, particularly in unlikely disaster where we have to pick new leaders,” Hastings wrote in an email dated August 14 obtained by the Times. “I’m so mystified by your endorsement of Trump for our President, that for me it moves from ‘different judgment’ to ‘bad judgment.’ Some diversity in views is healthy, but catastrophically bad judgment (in my view) is not what anyone wants in a fellow board member.”
I have heard some folks describe Hastings line as inappropriate — or even illegal.
I have been reflecting on this and I am honestly struggling with that line of thinking. I think Hastings isn’t merely concerned about diverse political opinions but something much more important.
Consider this weekend’s events in in Charlottesville. White nationalist and neo-Nazis marching with torches and screaming horrific racists chants that ultimately led to the killing of an innocent life by a member of this group.
The President did not condemn the neo-Nazi’s over the weekend. He was silent on calling out this hateful organization. And yet today he has the audacity to call out & attack the Merck CEO for his decision to leave the President’s federal panel because of the Presidents own failure to call out terrorism and hate by name.
So now back to the Hastings/Thiel issue. When someone so devoutly supports someone like Trump, what does that say about a person’s judgment? Is this an inappropriate mixing of politics with business or is this something much more profound about ethics, morals, civil rights and how & where you stand?
And even Thiel seems to be living with some regret.