Netflix, YouTube and Twitter donate to Black Lives Matter activist’s mayoral campaign

DeRay McKesson
Sid Hastings/Washington Post

The technology companies are becoming a growing influence in the Baltimore mayoral race. According to a campaign finance disclosure for Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson’s Baltimore mayoral campaign, executives from Netflix, Twitter, and YouTube have made donations.

McKesson’s campaign, which launched on February 3, raised nearly $250,000 by March 15. McKesson is raising money through Crowdpac, a crowd-funding site for political candidates. Within hours, McKesson’s Crowdpac campaign raised $31,000 from 400 donors. Twitter’s executive chairman Omid Kordestani and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings donated the most of the three major tech companies, each contributing $6,000.

Netflix Announcement
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings Netflix

McKesson co-founded and managed the online newsletter and website Words to Action, which gained popularity during the Ferguson, Missouri protests surrounding the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown by police officer Darren Wilson in 2014. McKesson’s support from the tech world dates back to November 2014, when McKessson met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others from the company to discuss racial equality on the social media platform.

McKesson is scheduled to speak at Re/code’s Code conference this spring, along with Dorsey and fellow BLM activist Johnetta Elzie.

The tech industry came out in droves to support making McKesson Baltimore’s 50th mayor. Slack founder Stewart Butterfield and Crowdpac co-founder Gisel Kordestan tied with Twitter and Netflix with their own $6,000 contributions. Roger Luke DuBois, New York University’s co-director of the Integrated Digital Media at its Tandon School of Engineering, donated $1,250.

The entertainment world is also pouring in support. Parks and Recreation actress Rashida Jones donated $2,500 and Susan Sarandon contributed $500. Warner Bros Records senior director Michael LoBiondo donated $500.

The technology world has been increasingly more involved in political donations over the last few years. In 2014, Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Amazon donated more than a combined $2.5 million. By October 2014, tech and internet companies had donated $22.5 million to political campaigns.