With his inaction, is Tom Fanning telling the world, “Black lives matter but loyalty to alleged racist law firm Balch & Bingham is more important?”
Southern Company Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Fanning released a public statement on June 6, 2020 declaring, “Racism, in any form, is abhorrent. It cannot and will not be accepted, ignored or dismissed. It must be confronted head-on across our society as it is within our company. The time has come to uncover and destroy systemic racism in all its forms.”
Fanning’s statement was public relations fluff, a spin and a half, or more vulgarly put: blatant bull$#!& hypocrisy.
Because, for two-and-a half years, Fanning has repeatedly ignored and even dismissed the calls to fire alleged racist law firm Balch & Bingham.
A week ago, we, the CDLU, wrote to Fanning telling him actions speak louder than words. His Executive Assistant replied in four minutes that Fanning had received our email. We then offered our cell numbers, to call us day or night.
With his inaction, is Fanning telling the world, “Black lives matter but loyalty to alleged racist law firm Balch & Bingham is more important?”
Look at the facts. Look at the record:
- Balch & Bingham spearheaded the bribery scandal to discourage African-Americans in North Birmingham from having their toxic property tested by the EPA.
- A Balch & Bingham partner was sentenced to five-years in federal prison in the bribery scandal, yet Balch & Bingham has refused to apologize to the African-American community for the partner’s immoral, repugnant, and criminal behavior.
- Balch & Bingham was involved in a “divide and dilute” effort to disenfranchise African-American voters.
- Balch & Bingham insiders allegedly conceived the deplorable campaign that targeted poor African-American children in a bogus “coat drive.”
- Balch & Bingham provided legal services to a limestone quarry company that allegedly engaged in a “whites-only” land grab in a historically African-American area of Vincent, Alabama. The quarry company allegedly considering moving historic slave graves according to local news reports.
- Balch & Bingham let go of their only female African-American attorney in Birmingham last year who headed diversity efforts at the firm, and then later hired eight new associates, all of them white.
- Balch & Bingham has only five African-American attorneys out of over 200 professionals, each of which is in a different Balch office, demonstrating alleged tokenism.
Instead of confronting Balch’s alleged racism head-on, Fanning appears to have condoned their actions by doing nothing.
Fanning is encouraging racism by ignoring racism.
The course of action by Fanning is the exact opposite of Marathon Petroleum’s new CEO who immediately fired Balch, 24 hours after receiving our correspondence.
Southern Company, and its wholly-owned subsidiaries, support Balch & Bingham with generous legal fees every year. Southern Company must defund racism now and fire the embattled firm.
As Rev. Michael Malcom said while interviewed at the Civil Rights Institute, Balch & Bingham has left a “legacy of pure evil.”