Salesforce employees have asked the company to end its relationship with the National Rifle Association. But during an all-hands Wednesday, co-CEOs Bret Taylor and Marc Benioff said that the company wouldn’t bar specific customers from using its services, according to a recording obtained by Protocol.
During the meeting, Taylor said that after Salesforce updated its acceptable use policy to ban the sale of firearms like automatic and some semi-automatic firearms, “a number” of Commerce Cloud customers left the platform. He said those policies reflect which companies can use Salesforce’s tools, but “we are not going to litigate which organizations are allowed to be a customer of Salesforce.”
“I don't want to get into the business position where we're deciding which customers are allowed to use our platform,” Taylor said in a recording of the all-hands. “I think that would violate our principles and violate our principles of trust.”
The remarks follow calls from thousands of Salesforce employees to end its relationship with the NRA, which uses Salesforce’s products for marketing and fundraising purposes. Employees sent a letter to Salesforce leaders with their demand after the shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 children and two adults dead.
Benioff said he’s called for a ban on assault weapons before and supports organizations that advocate for gun control, such as March For Our Lives. “But I also realized that guns are a very personal issue for a lot of people, especially in this country,” Benioff said.
“We have a gun culture that is built around guns in many cases,” he said at the meeting. “If we were in Japan, we wouldn't be having this conversation, because nobody has guns.”
A Salesforce employee, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said reactions from workers have been mixed. Some applauded the company’s conversations around the topic, while others still stood by the demands in the letter. Salesforce is also not the only company that’s been asked to cut ties with the NRA: Apple, Roku and others have been pressed to stop working with the association in years past, and the sale of firearms on Facebook and eBay have come under increased scrutiny in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting.
The tension at Salesforce over the company’s relationship with the NRA is also just the latest example of tech company leadership butting heads with employees. Amazon leadership recently fended off several employee-led shareholder proposals, and a number of tech workers have turned to unionizing in an effort to extract concessions from companies, including better pay and working conditions.
A representative for Salesforce did not return a request for comment.