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Industry insider who helped companies go woke now ‘regrets’ it: We set 'precedent' for the 'cultural quagmire'

New Tolerance Campaign President Gregory T. Angelo reflects on how his past advocacy within corporate America created a precedent for woke politics in business.

A former president of the gay conservative group Log Cabin Republicans used to help corporations and businesses go woke – but now he regrets it and hopes society can turn the tide. 

New Tolerance Campaign President Gregory T. Angelo acknowledged his "partial responsibility" for helping establish a "precedent decades ago that has since created a new mess in America." 

"There was a precedent that was set as a result of gay advocates successfully convincing major corporations to weigh in on issues related to same-sex marriage, to LGBT nondiscrimination legislation," Angelo said on "Fox & Friends First" Friday. "As a result, not only did these CEOs feel emboldened, but they thought the public was on their side and the public would react in the same way to the support that they got for things like same-sex marriage."


Most recently, Bud Light entangled itself in woke politics with a new marketing campaign featuring transgender activist and social media influencer Dylan Mulvaney.

Since the campaign launched earlier this month, sales of Bud Light have taken a hit and shockwaves could rattle the beer company's supply line.

What's more, as of Wednesday, shares for Bud Light’s parent company Anheuser-Busch dropped roughly 4%.

"The fact that we have seen Bud Lights stock fall so quickly, the fact that Bud Light has not posted on social media in almost 14 days, ever since this controversy erupted, shows that Bud Light has had their heels cooled on this issue," Angelo argued.

As the former Log Cabin Republicans president, Angelo was active in working to get major companies to support LGBTQ+ rights nearly a decade ago. 

"I was one person of many at a time where gay advocates were working with major corporations, senior executives leaning on them to weigh in in support of things like same-sex marriage, in support of legislation that would make it illegal to fire someone because of their sexual orientation. Those were all pieces of legislation and policies that I supported," Angelo said.

"But looking back 10 years ago and what has transpired since, I see that if gay issues were not the flashpoint, the inflection point that actually made CEOs comfortable with the idea of weighing in on contentious social issues, it was most definitely the prime accelerant… There was precedent that was set, a precedent that has now led major corporations to weigh in on everything from abortion to Black Lives Matter to so-called voting rights bills."

Other companies that have gone woke have received backlash including the family entertainment brand the Walt Disney Company. With movies such as "Strange World" and "Lightyear," Disney saw widespread frustration for pushing a woke ideology. 

Environment, social and governance (ESG) investments are also another component of companies going woke. ESGs are based on the concept that investors should use these three broad categories when evaluating where to put their money, prioritizing progressive values and "social responsibility" when making financial decisions.

Angelo noted that the growing involvement of companies in woke issues despite consumer frustration shows "a major disconnect between CEOs and the consumers that they are marketing to."


"There's basically been an insulation that you've seen happen among CEOs where even though… the overwhelming majority of the public, 63%, according to the most recent Wall Street Journal poll, do not want CEOs weighing in on contentious cultural issues. Sixty-three percent of CEOs feel it is their duty and obligation to do so," Angelo said.

Angelo argued that cutting woke politics out of business goes beyond respecting others. It is also about recentering CEOs' focus. 

"If you want to get involved in politics, fine. Run for office. If you want to run a company, focus on the bottom line. That seems to be the message that more and more CEOs are waking up to because more and more Americans are getting that message to them."

Angelo is optimistic that "the same kind of grassroots pressure that got us into this current cultural quagmire, can get us out of it and can do it at a very rapid rate."


FOX Business' Joe Toppe, Kristen Altus and Brandon Gillespie contributed to this report.

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