Mastercard refuses to create committee to stop the funding of hate groups

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

Following appeals at its AGM yesterday (June 25th) for Mastercard to form a board-level group to stop the flow of funds to extremist group, the payments company has rejected the proposals out of hand.

SumOfUs, which describes itselfa as a community "committed to curbing the growing power of corporations", interrupted the meeting to register a shareholder resolution. It would see Mastercard pledge to create a committee dedicated to “responses to domestic and international developments in human rights that affect Mastercard’s business."

Mastercard has received allegations of processing payments to and between far-right organisations including Stormfront, Proud Boys and League of the South. When SumOfUs representative and co-founder of social media activism organisation Sleeping Giants Nandini Jammi took to the AGM floor, she accused Mastercard, as well as partners Square and PayPal, of conducting "business with criminals."

However, the finance company moved to recommend its shareholders not support the proposal - and it was ultimately unsuccessful.

Mastercard chairman Rick Haythornthwaite said: “There are many views out there and so we have to sit down as a company and ask ourselves, first of all, is there any illegal activity taking place, is there an unlawful transaction? And if there is, we turn it down, we talk to law enforcement agencies, we talk to acquiring banks and shut it down.

“If it is lawful, then we need to respect that transaction. If it is something that is sort of against the tide of society, it’s [for] society to rise up and change the law.” Haythornthwaite also said he would review Mastercard's charter and amend it if necessary.

Eoin Dubsky, SumOfUs Campaign Manager, said: “We welcome Mastercard’s commitment to embedding human rights in its ways of doing business.

"But talk is cheap, so we’re waiting to see if these words lead to action. We know that the company currently accepts credit card payments to dangerous hate groups and extremists, proving that its existing set-up isn’t fit for purpose.”