“It was easy. There is simply no excuse for what the Georgian legislature did,” Parsons told CNN Business in his first public comments on the controversial law.
In the interview, the former CEO of Time Warner and CBS called Georgia’s law “stubborn,” a blatant attempt to suppress black voting and a “ruse” that purports to be aimed at safeguarding the elections.
“What does feeding someone or giving someone a glass of water have to do with fraud?” Parsons asked. “It’s just a bald attempt to prevent or suppress the number of black voters showing up to vote in Georgia. We felt as a corporate community that we had to call on the legislature to come out, hold it. responsible.”
Trump’s ‘impossible task’
“Now they go a lot with WOKE CANCEL CULTURE and our holy election. It’s finally time for Republicans and Conservatives to fight back – we have more people than them – by far!” Trump said in a statement over the weekend. “Don’t come back to their products until they give in. We can play the game better than them.”
Asked that the former US president is now calling for a boycott of some of America’s biggest brands, Parsons laughed and said, “Good luck, former President Trump.”
“Do people really want to deprive themselves of all products and services [of those companies] in an effort to somehow bring the clock back to 1865? I don’t think so, but we’ll find out, ”said Parsons, who served as chairman of Citi during the financial crisis and before that headed CNN’s former parent, Time Warner.
Parsons said Trump “fundamentally ignores history” and wants things to get back to where they were, or at least stop them from progressing further.
“It is an impossible task. No one in history has ever been able to do it. And he will not be able to do it,” he said.
The message to other states debating laws similar to Georgia
“It was the right decision,” said Parsons, who was previously interim CEO of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. He added that a large segment of professional athletes are blacks. “They must stand in solidarity with their own constituency, with their own employees.”
Of course, this debate on voting rights concerns much more than Georgia.
Parsons said the stance taken by some CEOs against Georgian law should send a message to other states considering similar legislation. He likened the situation to one where a baseball manager burns out and challenges an appeal made by an umpire.
“He really doesn’t expect the referee to change the call he made, but he expects the referee to remember that next time around,” Parsons said. “We hope other states will see that they cannot pass this kind of legislation without accountability … and have no consequences to pay for it.”
“ Blacks have been left behind ”
Parsons said he did not support a reparations program based solely on writing checks to the African American community.
“I don’t think it’s useful. This money would just be wasted,” he said.
However, Parsons said he would strongly support a broader reparations program, built around training, education and support to help black families get their hands on the American Dream.
“Listen bro, black people have been left behind and are still behind a hundred years and more and need help catching up,” Parsons said. “But it’s more than just transferring money to them.”
‘Hope and optimism’
Long before joining the C-Suite, Parsons jumped twice during his studies and graduated from high school in New York City at the age of 16. He finished at the top of his class at Albany Law School.
He went on to work for prominent Republicans, including Nelson Rockefeller and President Gerald Ford.
Although Parsons said he was irritated by the blatant racism inflicted on black Americans, he said he had not personally experienced overt discrimination during his career.
“I had a lovely run, I guess,” Parsons said. “I guess that’s one of the reasons I still have a lot of hope and optimism that we as a country can overcome this in a lasting and lasting way.”