Bertelsmann

Penguin Random House, RTL Group, Arvato, Gruner + Jaher , Relias, BMG, Bertelsmann Marketing, Bertelsmann Education Group
Germany
Educational Resources, Media and Entertainment

Corprate Bias Ratings

Risk Level:

Rating - Danger
High Risk

Bertelsmann, a global media, services, and education company, has not publicly terminated business relationships based on views or beliefs. Bertelsmann does not protect its employees from viewpoint discrimination and its subsidiary, Penguin Random House (PRH), has used its reputation and funds to advance the LGBTQ movement and push LGBTQ ideologies onto children. PRH donated up to $30,000 to The Trevor Project and made significant donations to the BLM movement in 2020. For these reasons, Bertelsmann receives a "High Risk" rating.

Criteria
Risk Level
Rationale
Corporate Weaponization
Criteria

Has denied service to customers, suppliers, or vendors due to their political views or religious beliefs OR corporately boycotts, divests, or sanctions regions, people groups, or industries.

Risk Level
Rationale

Bertelsmann has a written policy requiring suppliers not to discriminate on the basis of LGBTQ identity (1). Bertelsmann has not publicly fired customers, suppliers, or vendors based on views or beliefs.

Criteria

Charitable giving (including employee matching programs) policies or practices discriminate against charitable organizations based on views or religious beliefs.

Risk Level
N/A
Rationale

Bertelsmann does not have a charitable giving program.

Criteria

Employment policies fail to protect against discrimination based on political affiliation/views and/or religion.

Risk Level
Rationale

Bertelsmann does not have a written policy to protect its employees from viewpoint discrimination (1).

Corporate Governance and Public Policy
Criteria

Uses corporate reputation to support ideological causes and/or organizations hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

Bertelsmann subsidiary, Penguin Random House (PRH), has an extensive history of LGBTQ and DE&I advocacy. PRH has posted lists of books that promote the celebration of Pride and LGBTQ history (1)(2). PHR has a page dedicated to LGBTQ books, featuring categories like “Books for Kids That Explore Queerness” and “Baby’s First Queer Books” (3). The US, Canadian and UK PRHs have made statements sympathizing with the BLM movement (4)(5)(6). PRH held several live events featuring advocacy for the BLM and LGBTQ movements in June of 2020 (7). Bertelsmann embraces ESG principles, including the UN Global Compact (8). In 2021, the Bertelsmann Content Alliance launched a campaign called “Yes to the Truth. Because it has to be true.” media campaign aimed at promoting “fact-oriented, responsible, and transparent” journalism and fighting “alternative” facts (9). The Bertelsmann Content Alliance named September “Climate Month” since climate change is “one of today’s most important issues” (10). RTL Deutschland, owned by Bertelsmann, started the Alliance Against Fake News. The company has “assign[ed] an internal team of experts to verify the authenticity of news content” to disseminate warnings about “fake news content” to all local news divisions (11)(12). Annabelle Yu Long, the Chief Executive Officer of Bertelsmann China Corporate Center and Managing Partner of Bertelsmann Asia Investments, is an active member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Advisory Council and is also a member of its Global Agenda Council on the Future of Media, Entertainment & Information. This Council works with media organizations to drive the adoption of new business models in regard to “content creation, monetization, advertising, distribution and consumption” and works toward “enabling digital safety by removing misinformation and harmful content” and promoting “the role of media in enabling social justice and improving diversity and representation in creative production (13)(14). In 2016, Bertelsmann gave the Reinhard Mohn Prize 2016 for Responsible Entrepreneurship to Klaus Schwab, the “chairperson” of the World Economic Forum (15). The Bertelsmann Foundation frequently publishes content critical of “misinformation” and “disinformation” (16)(17)(18).

Criteria

Uses corporate funds to advance ideological causes, organizations, or policies hostile to freedom of expression.

Risk Level
Rationale

In 2020, PRH Canada made significant donations to organizations that fight for racial injustices, in light of the BLM movement (1). In 2022 PRH donated up to $30,000, to The Trevor Project, LGBTQ Saves, and the Zebra Coalition” (2).

Criteria

Uses corporate political contributions for ideological, non-business purposes.

Risk Level
N/A
Rationale

Bertelsmann does not make political contributions.

All links were last accessed and all information was updated on:
August 17, 2023

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