Follow the Money: Angie’s List
Most of us remember the Yellow Pages, but our kids look at us like we’re speaking a foreign language when we mention the tome of phone numbers that was our top reference for pressing service needs each day. Today, with services like Angie’s List, we have information at our fingertips anywhere. With their “Reviews you can trust” slogan, they have taken much of that uncertainty out of doing business.
Recent reports have indicated that Angie’s List isn’t as trustworthy as advertised. A class action lawsuit filed on March 11th, alleges the crowd-sourced review site actually favors businesses that advertise with the company. This is not the first time that Angie’s List has come under scrutiny for its practices. A 2013 Consumer Reports study produced similar findings.
However, conservatives should be even more concerned by the misrepresentations spread by Angie’s List and many other corporations with the enactment of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The law, which codifies the exercise of religion as a qualifier for relief in a legal proceeding, was modeled after the 1993 RFRA that was sponsored by Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy and signed by then President Bill Clinton. Yet, Angie’s List has threatened to halt an Indianapolis expansion project as rhetorical hysteria builds in the mainstream media.
Conservatives don’t typically fault corporations that make business decisions based on the bottom line. However, business leaders like Angie’s List CEO Bill Oesterle cross the line when they publicly lend support to a liberal agenda that is set on destroying First Amendment freedoms. Oesterle said the the passage of Indiana’s RFRA directly led to the cancellation decision, an assertion that bolstered claims made by the Indianapolis Star as “evidence that opposition to the controversial law… is not only driven by liberals or outside agitators.”
In defense of Angie’s List, prior to this weekend’s announcement, they have been relatively neutral on issues. The announcement is a troubling reminder of how quickly a company can turn from good to bad with even the smallest amount of political pressure from left-wing activists.
With one announcement, Oesterle’s comments put him firmly in the camp of liberal agitators like Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has gone as far as calling religious freedom laws ‘dangerous’ in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, not recognizing the remarkable irony and blatant hypocrisy that Apple currently does business with countries that execute people for being gay without op-eds condemning that behavior.
Cook and Apple’s liberal agenda have been well documented, especially on issues like marriage. Furthermore, Cook’s hypocrisy is amplified with statements like, “Apple is open… to everyone, regardless of where they come from, what they look like, how they worship or who they love.” That wasn’t the case when Apple removed the Manhattan Declaration app from the AppStore for espousing faith-based positions on life and marriage.
The truth is, the leadership from Angie’s List, Yelp, Apple, Cummins, Dow, Subaru, Eli Lilly, Anthem, Salesforce, the NBA, the NCAA and countless other entities who have made statements opposing Indiana’s RFRA have all lent support to a liberal movement that seeks to undermine religious liberty in the effort to push a political agenda. The issue goes beyond civil rights and beyond marriage. If conservatives don’t stand against these corporate actors and their liberal allies, the most important freedoms we celebrate will be a thing of the past.
Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, the conservative shopper’s app. To find out more, download the free app or visit 2ndVote.com.