The most profitable corporation the world has ever known, Exxon, posted the second-highest annual corporate profit in history in 2012 (surpassed only by its own 2008 record): $45 billion. This month, in a piece written by journalist Antonia Juhasz The Advocate is examining why Exxon has refused to join other corporations in supporting its LGBT employees and families.
The same year Exxon posted its record profits (and again this year) The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gave Exxon Mobil the lowest score on its Corporate Equality Index ever received by any corporation, a negative 25 out of 100; it was also the first company to ever recieve a negative score. Exxon has also erased nondiscriminatory and partner benefit policies in companies it has purchased, such as Mobil Oil Corporation and XTO Energy. It is the only company known to have ever permanently done so. “It was a slap in the face,” says Tom Allen of the reversal of Mobil’s LGBT policies. “We worked so hard to get them, and this took us back 30 years," he says "Every single year at that [expletive] stockholders’ meeting, they slap us in the face again.”
Congressman Alan Lowenthal of California, a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the sponsor of an amendment barring Exxon from winning future government oil and gas leases until it changes its LGBT policies, says “You don’t have to be progressive just to join the rest of the human race and not discriminate. I don’t get it.”
The hope for many would be passage of ENDA, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression nationwide. (For more on ENDA please visit http://www.glaad.org/enda.) Unfortunately, since 2008, Exxon has spent nearly $90 million lobbying the federal government. The CEO of Exxon, Rex Tillerson, has personally visited the White House a minimum of 13 times since 2009.
Read The Advocate’s full cover story and essays now at: http://www.advocate.com/print-issue/current-issue/2013/09/03/whats-wrong-exxon. Journalist Antonia Juhasz is a Fellow of the Investigative Reporting Program, specializing in oil and energy. She is the author of several books on the oil industry, including Black Tide. She lives in San Francisco. Follow Juhasz on Twitter @AntoniaJuhasz.