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Delta Air Lines, along with several other Georgia-based companies, is facing a social media backlash over its role in crafting SB202, the new state voting restriction bill signed into law this week.
Delta said in a statement that it was "engaged extensively" with state officials in both parties to help shape a "fair and secure election process."
But some, particularly those that see the new bill as suppression and not merely restrictive, took Delta's statement to mean the airline was pleased with the outcome.
In a statement received by Newsweek, New Georgia Project Action Fund CEO Nsé Ufot said that the companies "can't have it both ways," and criticized praise directed at the bill.
"SB 202 is not commendable in the least. It represents everything Republican lawmakers are fighting for: a rollback of voting rights for Black and Brown communities, new voters, and young people in Georgia. Delta, Coca-Cola, and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce's praise of this bill is a betrayal. It shows they are ready to dismantle the freedom to vote alongside the Republican lawmakers they so willingly support," she said. "It is completely unacceptable to praise the bills that take away our most fundamental American right to vote and simultaneously profit off of our dollars. Their low-key betrayal has now become completely blinding."
Several tweets from opponents of the bill also helped coalesce the #BoycottDelta trend.
Even prominent names such as sportscaster Keith Olbermann directed tweets at Delta:
I suggested yesterday that Baseball would have to be the first practical national target if #BoycottGeorgia@Delta has evidently replied "hold my hood."Do not fly Delta. Do not spend money with Delta. Boycott Delta. Ruin Delta. #BoycottDeltahttps://t.co/Y1dKZ31voS- Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) March 27, 2021
I suggested yesterday that Baseball would have to be the first practical national target if #BoycottGeorgia@Delta has evidently replied "hold my hood."Do not fly Delta. Do not spend money with Delta. Boycott Delta. Ruin Delta. #BoycottDeltahttps://t.co/Y1dKZ31voS
Here is the statement put out the day after the bill passed by Delta CEO Ed Bastian. Decide for yourself how it reads to you:
"Delta believes that full and equal access to voting is a fundamental right for all citizens. Over the past several weeks, Delta engaged extensively with state elected officials in both parties to express our strong view that Georgia must have a fair and secure election process, with broad voter participation and equal access to the polls. The legislation signed this week improved considerably during the legislative process, and expands weekend voting, codifies Sunday voting and protects a voter's ability to cast an absentee ballot without providing a reason. For the first time, drop boxes have also been authorized for all counties statewide and poll workers will be allowed to work across county lines. Nonetheless, we understand concerns remain over other provisions in the legislation, and there continues to be work ahead in this important effort. We are committed to continuing to listen to our people and our communities, and engage with leaders from both parties to ensure every eligible employee and Georgia voter can exercise their right to vote."
The airline could not be reached for comment and did not put out a further statement regarding the decision nor the backlash at the time of publishing.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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