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Black Conservative Denied Entry to American Express Shareholder Meeting

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Washington, D.C. – A member of the Project 21 black leadership network was denied entry to the American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) annual shareholder meeting in New York today despite presenting proper credentials. Derrick Hollie intended to question the credit giant about its sizable investment in “Diversity & Inclusion” policies that sacrifice merit in order to discriminate based on surface characteristics such as skin color.

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Black Conservative Denied Entry to American Express Shareholder Meeting

"From the beginning, the tone of investor relations was to not let me in," Hollie said after the incident, which drew attention from other attendees. "They knew what we were there for."

Hollie was attending the meeting on behalf of the National Center for Public Policy Research, which is a shareholder in American Express and therefore has every right to send a representative to the meeting. Even so, investor relations representatives denied him entry on the premise that Hollie himself is not a shareholder, initially claiming that Hollie didn’t provide sufficient evidence of the National Center’s ownership.

By the time Hollie was able to clear up this "mistake" with investor relations, the meeting had already begun and the representatives changed their tune, claiming that it was now too late to allow Hollie entry because the voting portion of the meeting was already underway. "But I'm not here to vote," Hollie asserted to no avail. "I'm just here to make a public comment."

Being turned away at the door "almost seemed racist in and of itself," Hollie said of the incident.

To read Hollie's prepared question that he was denied the opportunity to ask, click here.

At another shareholder meeting today, leading investor activists from the Free Enterprise Project (FEP) questioned Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio about similar "Diversity & Inclusion" policies that are rooted in critical race theory. Since the meeting was held virtually, a moderator who pre-screened shareholder questions was able to ignore the question that FEP submitted. That question can be read here.

"Woke corporations know that their overtly racist policies are indefensible under the slightest bit of scrutiny from shareholders, and that's exactly why they do what is in their power to keep us out and shut us up," responded FEP Associate Ethan Peck after the meetings. "The doublethink required to flaunt 'diversity & inclusion' while actively excluding owners of the company because of heterodox opinions is astounding."

"These companies are not advancing defensible policies. They're trying desperately to avoid having to talk about indefensible, immoral and illegal discrimination," agreed FEP Director Scott Shepard. "They will not be able to hide from the consequences of their misdeeds forever. When the companies suffer, the current leaders must go."

Today's meetings mark the 18th & 19th times that FEP has participated in a shareholder meeting in 2022. To schedule an interview with a member of the Free Enterprise Project on this or other issues, contact Judy Kent at (703) 477-7476.

Investors wishing to oppose left-wing corporate donations, race-based discrimination and other "woke" policies infiltrating Corporate America should download FEP's 2022 editions of the "Investor Value Voter Guide" and the "Balancing the Boardroom" guide. Other action items for investors and non-investors alike can be found on FEP's website.

About FEP

Launched in 2007, the National Center's Free Enterprise Project focuses on shareholder activism, the preservation of free markets that respect shareholder and other property rights, and the confluence of big government and big business. Over the past four years alone, FEP representatives have participated in over 100 shareholder meetings - advancing free-market ideals about health care, energy, taxes, subsidies, regulations, religious freedom, food policies, media bias, gun rights, workers' rights and other important public policy issues. As the leading voice for conservative-minded investors, it annually files more than 90 percent of all right-of-center shareholder resolutions. Dozens of liberal organizations, however, annually file more than 95 percent of all policy-oriented shareholder resolutions and continue to exert undue influence over corporate America. FEP also lodges lawsuits in defense of shareholder rights and free markets, participates in regulatory proceedings and contributes to legislative and regulatory reform aimed at reining in out-of-control corporate executives, protecting the corporate world for people of all viewpoints and backgrounds and pushing corporate America back to its genius and its job: business, not left-wing activism.

FEP activity has been covered by media outlets including the New York TimesWashington PostUSA TodayVariety, the Associated Press, Bloomberg, Drudge Report, Business Insider, National Public Radio and SiriusXM. FEP's work was prominently featured in Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel’s 2016 book The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group).

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 60,000 active recent contributors. Contributions are tax-deductible and may be earmarked for the Free Enterprise Project. Sign up for email updates at https://nationalcenter.org/subscribe/.

Follow us on Twitter at @FreeEntProject and @NationalCenter for general announcements. To be alerted to upcoming media appearances by National Center staff, follow our media appearances Twitter account at @NCPPRMedia.

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