Pfizer has faced mounting criticism regarding coercive efforts to promote its COVID-19 shot during the pandemic, including undercover footage that seemingly revealed a plan to mutate the virus in order to make even more money from the vaccine.
COVID-19 is not the only basis for backlash against the pharmaceutical firm, though. Last year, the company announced a fellowship opportunity that was open only to applicants of specific races, which prompted a discrimination lawsuit.
Last week, Pfizer reportedly updated its website to erase the requirement that those applying to the Breakthrough Fellowship must be Black, Hispanic, or Native American. Instead, the new language opens the application process up to college juniors who have “demonstrated commitment” to advancing “diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
According to Do No Harm, the advocacy group that filed the lawsuit, its efforts to combat discrimination prompted Pfizer’s reversal.
“This significant change was made only after Do No Harm’s lawsuit, and only because Pfizer knows its fellowship is in jeopardy on appeal,” said Stanley Goldfarb, the organization’s chairman. “Do No Harm is pleased that Pfizer recognizes its blatant racial discrimination is unlawful and immoral.”
As “diversity, equity, and inclusion” programs have become more commonplace in recent years, a growing number of businesses and organizations have faced criticism for perceived discrimination — particularly against White Americans.
Last year, Starbucks was the subject of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commision complaint by the advocacy group America First Legal, which argued that two training groups violated discrimination laws by allowing only minority applicants to participate.
“The company’s employment practices, as described herein, are patently illegal,” the complaint stated. “They are also deeply harmful. Discrimination based on immutable characteristics such as race, color, national origin, or sex ‘generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status
in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be
Amid an uncertain economic climate and growing hostility toward the identity politics that define such diversity programs, many workplaces are beginning to pare down or eliminate their DEI departments.
As Andrew Crapuchettes, who founded the freedom-focused job search site RedBalloon, explained earlier this month, the decline in popularity is hardly surprising.
“All the virtue signaling in the world cannot forestall the economic realities of a slowing economy,” he said. “In a time when bloated Big Tech companies must make budget decisions, it’s no surprise that divisive and polarizing DEI programs are under scrutiny.”