Investment honcho Larry Fink is attracting outrage from conservatives for an old admission that his firm would "force behaviors" on diversity, equity, and inclusion standards amid pushback on companies setting similar goals.
"Behaviors are gonna have to change, and this is one thing we're asking companies. You have to force behaviors, and at BlackRock we are forcing behaviors," Fink said in a 2017 video interview with the New York Times.
BlackRock Inc., the world's largest asset manager, with shares in companies like Amazon, Apple, MasterCard, Johnson & Johnson, Walmart ,and Walt Disney Co., bragged in the 2017 interview about adding "4 more points of diverse employment.”
"What we're doing internally is if you don't achieve these levels of impact, your compensation could be impacted," Fink said in the interview video.
"You have to force behaviors. If you don't force behaviors, whether it's gender or race or just any way you want to say the composition of your team, you're going to be impacted. That not just recruiting, it's development," Fink said. "We're gonna have to force change."
The video circulated on social media after resurfacing online, Fox News reported, with Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, tweeting on Monday that BlackRock is "destroying value and are engaged in illegal and immoral conduct."
"There are two schools of thought within the GOP on BlackRock. The old guard thinks they're creating value and need to be rewarded with tax cuts," the message stated. "I think they're destroying value and are engaged in illegal and immoral conduct. They need to be dealt with accordingly."
Another social media poster, a Virginia woman who went through China's cultural revolution, tweeted: "Under Communism ppl are forced to 'share' their wealth & forced to obey the will of the state. ESG is Communism aiming to enslave all of us."
Former Anheuser-Busch executive Anson Frericks has also blasted BlackRock for committing the "money of everyday citizens" to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments to meet California pension fund standards.
"This is the money of everyday citizens. ... California for example, they recently mandated those large pension funds that they divest from things like fossil fuels, and oil and gas," Frericks said in a Fox News interview. "If they're going to manage their money [they] have to commit to things like ESG, diversity, equity and inclusion, and adopt firmwide commitments that they therefore then force onto all major companies in corporate America."
BlackRock defended itself in a statement to Fox Business, saying the old interview "is often taken out of context."
"This nearly six-year-old clip misconstruing Larry's words about BlackRock's own approach to its employees has been circulating for years on social media and is often taken out of context,” the statement said.
“As a fiduciary, BlackRock's actions serve one purpose: maximizing long-term financial value for our clients. As an employer, BlackRock seeks to hire employees from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives because we believe this diversity is critical to delivering for our clients in a rapidly changing world."
Fran Beyer ✉
Fran Beyer is a writer with Newsmax and covers national politics.
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