Intel hasn’t been doing the greatest work on the PR end of things recently. You see, it started with this ad, where 6 black sprinters are crouching before a dorky white dude. (H/t to Jamie Court at HuffPo) That was particularly poor timing when you look at that in context with Intel’s ballot initiative that they decided to put into play for one of the many 2008 elections. (Or rather the initiative of the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), which Intel leads with several notable anti-consumer corporations.) The ballot initiative would essentially eliminate class action lawsuits for civil rights cases.
As you might expect, civil rights groups did not take kindly to such a move. Class actions were the vehicle that desegregated the schools in Brown v. Board of Education and forced Denny’s to stop denying service based on skin color. Check out this letter (PDF) sent by some of the state’s leading civil rights advocates to Intel’s Board. A quote:
Your initiative removes vital class action protections specifically intended to allow U.S. citizens to defend their civil rights (see attached analysis). The extreme procedural burdens placed on plaintiffs and the endless appeal rights granted to defendants will prevent most civil rights class actions in the future. We must view this initiative as an attack on the civil rights of Californians.
Well, now Intel and the CJAC have pulled the measure off the ballot. You can send the Intel Board a thank you note at the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. By the by, the FTCR is an excellent organization and is well worthy of our support.