Waleed’s bold US protest question
Waleed Aly prompted a divisive line of discussion on The Project Monday night when he pondered whether brands aligning themselves with the Black Lives Matter movement was "an evolution in marketing".
Posing the question to his fellow panellists Carrie Bickmore, and Steve Price, Waleed pointed out that a number of high-profile companies have taken a public stance on racial injustice and police violence - something he added would have potentially "hurt their sales" once upon a time.
Responding to the question, Steve Price seemingly suggested that some companies may be "just protecting their commercial base".
It comes as riots and protests continue across the US, sparked by George Floyd's death in police custody last week.
The discussion followed an interview with Kansas State Senator David Haley in which Waleed had said the widespread focus on the violence of the riots was "sidestepping the main issue".
"The point that these activists are making is that by focusing on the fact there's looting, or the kind of violence you're seeing from within these protests, you're actually side stepping the main issue - there's things state governments could be doing right now that they're not" pic.twitter.com/yBRxlH9HiV— The Project (@theprojecttv) June 1, 2020
"Normally when there's something this divisive and controversial, you know, if you are running a big company, you stay out of it. You don't want to be involved," Waleed began.
"Companies have started speaking up and taking a side on this. Nike have done it and Twitter have done it. They changed their logo for a bit. Netflix have done it. Citigroup.
"They've adopted the Black Lives Matter hashtag, for example. I think Netflix tweeted that to be silent is to be complicit. What I'm interested in here is, is this just an evolution in marketing and the way that companies do this, or does it signal - is it a kind of leadership?," he said.
"Or are they just protecting their commercial base," Steve Price weighed-in.
"Even if they are doing that, that is still significant," Waleed replied, to which Carrie said:
"It's such cynicism … I feel like it has been decades - decades - of this, you know? It's go to take something more than them just changing a logo for it to change," she said.
"Pricey, if you are right that it is just them looking after their sales, once upon a time that would have hurt their sales … That's the point right?," Waleed then said, to which to the panellists agreed.
" … And that Nike thing got retweeted," Pricey added.
To be silent is to be complicit.— Netflix (@netflix) May 30, 2020
Black lives matter.
We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up.
As tensions continue to flare around the US, protesters have been supported by companies like Nike, Twitter and Ben & Jerry's, which have all reflected the Black Lives Matter movement in their social media profiles.
Netflix posted on Twitter on Saturday: "To be silent is to be complicit. Black lives matter. We have a platform, and we have a duty to our Black members, employees, creators and talent to speak up."
Nike told its followers to "all be part of the change", and Reebok said in a message to "the black community" that it "stands in solidarity with you," telling its social media followers: "We are not asking you to buy our shoes. We are asking you to walk in someone else's."
Meanwhile, ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's and departments store Nordstrom reflected similar messages.
To the black community:— Reebok (@Reebok) May 30, 2020
We see you.
We stand in solidarity with you.
This can no longer be the status quo. pic.twitter.com/LpE7HHp3qU
The Project airs Sunday to Friday from 6.30pm on Channel 10.
Originally published as Waleed's bold US protest question