WASHINGTON – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys sent a letter Monday to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, calling on the agency to deny Apple’s attempt to exclude a shareholder resolution aimed at providing transparency into whether the company is curating app content in a viewpoint-neutral manner.
Rather than allowing its shareholders to vote on the proposal at the 2024 annual meeting, Apple has asked permission from the SEC to exclude it from the proxy ballot. ADF attorneys are calling on the SEC to deny Apple’s request.
“Major corporations like Apple shouldn’t be hiding from shareholders who are concerned about the company’s impact on free speech, and we are hopeful that the SEC will agree,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Senior Vice President for Corporate Engagement Jeremy Tedesco. “Apple needs to rebuild trust with its shareholders and clients, but that can’t happen unless it answers basic questions about whether it is treating everyone equally regardless of their political or religious views. Apple also needs to address its policies that threaten the fundamental freedoms of its customers and implement the best practices identified by the Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index, the premiere benchmark for measuring corporate respect for free speech and religious freedom.”
Similarly, in its “App Store Review Guidelines,” Apple openly warns users against including content that is “offensive, insensitive, upsetting, intended to disgust, in exceptionally poor taste, or just plain creepy.” Apple’s policy covers a wide range of content, including those promoting biblical views on marriage and sexuality. That trend also holds outside the U.S., where Apple’s censorship often caters to the whims of oppressive regimes.
During the 2023 shareholder season, the SEC denied requests from PayPal and JPMorgan Chase to deny similar shareholder resolutions after ADF attorneys and Jonathan Berry of Boyden Gray & Associates successfully petitioned the SEC to oppose the companies’ appeals.
Find out more about Viewpoint Diversity Score and the Business Index at www.viewpointdiversityscore.org.
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.
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