UMG Employee Says They Were Fired After Roe v. Wade Email – Billboard
Written by GRB on 05/07/2022
A Universal Music Group employee who worked as a production coordinator for Universal Music Enterprises claims they were fired last week after “speaking in support of abortion rights” following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, according to a since-deleted LinkedIn post.
In the post, Michael Lopez, who identifies as a queer brown person, wrote that “I was devastated by the news of the supreme court’s attack on abortion rights,” adding that, “Paired with the flood of anti-queer and anti-trans legislation, it’s been hard to process how company’s [sic] expect us to be productive while our rights are being stripped away.”
Lopez then wrote that one of their tasks at work on Fridays was to process reports for UMe’s releases in a given week and send that to a mailing list of some 275 people in the company, but that instead, on that day they sent an email that read, “I didn’t do them today. I’m in mourning due to the attack on people with uteruses in the US. Federally guaranteed access to abortion is gone. Vivendi and Universal Music Group must stop donating to anti-abortion, anti-queer and anti-trans politicians. Politicians like Marsha Blackburn, Ken Buck, Victoria Spartz, etc. Or expect more unproductive days.”
(In the comments, Lopez then included a link to a site that tracks political donations showing that Vivendi, UMG’s former corporate parent, had donated to those politicians; Vivendi spun off Universal into a standalone public company in September 2021.)
Lopez wrote in the LinkedIn post that they received several supportive messages in the wake of the email, and that a manager told them to take the rest of the day off. Days later, they were contacted by HR and fired for what Lopez paraphrased as “Not doing your job, disrupting the day of 275 people and poor judgement.” Before being locked out of their computer, Lopez then wrote a follow up email that said, “Just got fired for this email from Friday, so they’re letting you know where they stand on employees speaking out on politicians that support marginalization for folks like me. A brown queer person terminated during Pride month speaking in support of abortion rights. Seems like that’s exactly what America is all about right now.”
A rep for UMG said in a statement that the company cannot comment on personnel matters, but referred to the LinkedIn post as “inaccurate.”
“UMG has a long record of support for women’s issues,” the statement read. “As we wrote to our US employees, UMG views reproductive health care as essential. In the wake of the recent US Supreme Court ruling overturning Roe v Wade, the company has extended its efforts to assure that these important healthcare services remain accessible to employees. We also financially support non-profit groups working in this area and offer a match for employee’s contributions to those groups, as well.”
Following the Supreme Court ruling June 24, several music companies made public or internal statements condemning the ruling and offering support to employees; Universal sent an email to U.S. staff outlining its reproductive healthcare coverage and mental health support, writing that the “accessibility of these essential services must be assured, and we are reviewing our current programs with our providers.” On July 1st, the company also announced it would be offering a 200% match for employee donations to women’s healthcare groups like Planned Parenthood, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the Abortion Care Network and others, an extension of the company’s existing donation matching program.