5 Freedom Foundation Speakers Who Show Us Where Their True Values Lie
August 20, 2019
The anti-worker Freedom Foundation (aka Opt Out Today) attempts to portray themselves as a legitimate, non-partisan think tank. In reality, they are a billionaire-funded extremist group that wants to take away working people’s voices. Look no further than the men and women they’ve lauded and given a platform to over the years to see where their true values lie. As Maya Angelou once said, when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
1. Laura Ingraham
For their upcoming 2019 annual banquet, the anti-worker Freedom Foundation has chosen notorious white supremacist and Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham as their keynote speaker. Ingraham has a long history of using her show, The Ingraham Angle, to spread hateful misinformation, race-baiting sentiments, and downright lies. Ingraham made headlines recently for her tirade defending white supremacists, including anti-semite and white nationalist Paul Nehlen, who recently donned a t-shirt celebrating the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting terrorist and the massacre that claimed the lives of 11 people.
The backlash was swift; advertisers responded by removing their ads from her show. While everyone was reeling from her vehement and indefensible promotion of white supremacy, the Freedom Foundation announced her as their keynote speaker the very next day: “We’re delighted and flattered to have someone of her stature share this special evening with us,” said Freedom Foundation CEO Tom McCabe.
2. Dinesh D’Souza
The Freedom Foundation sank to a new low (until their selection of Ingraham) when they hosted bigoted pundit Dinesh D’Souza as the keynote speaker at their 2018 gala. D’Souza has made millions from his racist, homophobic, misogynistic, and anti-working class writings and movies. He has heaped praise on growing income inequality and the strife that working people endure. He opposes the Civil Rights Act, called President Obama a “boy” from “the ghetto”, said that American slaves were treated “pretty well” and African Americans behave differently from other races through negative behavior and dependency. In college, as the editor of the student newspaper, he publicly outed LGBTQ students without their permission.
He is so extreme that even other conservatives dislike him. He was once banned from Conservative Political Action Conference, the annual gathering of Republican ideologues, because he mocked teenage survivors of school shootings. Many conservative thought leaders have accused him of being at the center of the intellectual rot occurring on the right.
When the Freedom Foundation announced D’Souza as the keynote for their fundraiser, Freedom Foundation CEO, Tom McCabe said of D’Souza, he’s “…a perfect fit for the Freedom Foundation.” For once, we agree with McCabe’s assessment.
3. Andy Puzder
In 2017, the Freedom Foundation booked Donald Trump-ally and alleged wage thief Andy Puzder to speak at two of their fundraisers. Puzder, a former fast-food CEO, was nominated for Secretary of Labor, but was too extreme for either party in the U.S. Senate to stomach, and he withdrew his nomination after his anti-worker record and a video of his ex-wife making domestic abuse allegations became public.
As the head of CKE Restaurants, which owns Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., Puzder called his employees “the best of the worst,” and said he’d prefer hiring robots because “there’s never a slip-and-fall, or an age, sex, or race discrimination case.” In 2017 alone, current and former Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s workers filed 22 complaints of wage theft with the U.S. Labor Department and state agencies, and four sexual harassment claims with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Puzder has also been linked to unfair labor practice complaints filed with the National Labor Relations Board.
4. Matt Shea
Extremist Washington State Rep. Matt Shea was an honored guest and speaker at the Freedom Foundation’s 2015 Honors Dinner, and promoted in a Freedom Foundation email as “one of Washington State’s leading conservative voices.” Shea, one of the Freedom Foundation’s only legislative allies in Washington State, has a long history of spewing hate and dangerous rhetoric – from claiming “there’s no difference between Planned Parenthood and what Dr. Josef Mengele did in Germany in the 1940s,” to formalizing his anti-Muslim views by organizing a certified hate group through a chapter of ACT for America.
Late last year, Shea produced and proudly accepted credit for a dangerous 4-page manifesto he calls the “Biblical Basis for War”. This document sets the stage for widespread violence, assassination, use of deception, and waging war to stop same-sex marriage. This manifesto also includes the terrifying step of “If they do not yield – kill all males.”
5. Mike Huckabee
For their upcoming November Oregon banquet in Salem, the Freedom Foundation has selected flagrant homophobe and failed Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee as the keynote speaker. Huckabee, like many other Fox News pundits, has made millions of dollars spewing hateful, divisive and dangerous rhetoric.
Earlier this year, Huckabee described LGBTQ equality as “the biggest threat” to America’s “moral fiber.” In 2010, he likened the legalization of same-sex marriage to the legalization of drugs, incest, and polygamy. Huckabee also has an extensive track record of making disparaging comments about women’s rights; while working for Fox News, Huckabee referred to his female colleagues as “trashy” for using profanity he deemed unladylike. Huckabee has long likened abortion to slavery and once referred to abortion as the “incredible Holocaust of our own in America.”
Bonus: Joe Arpaio
The Freedom Foundation’s former Oregon Director Anne Marie Gurney opened for former Maricopa County Sheriff and outspoken racist Joe Arpaio at a right-wing rally in Salem, OR in 2015. Arpaio is infamous for his racial profiling of immigrants and latinx communities during his tenure as sheriff, as well as the abhorrent conditions of the jail facilities under his charge.
He reinstituted chain gangs and operated a tent city jail that he referred to as a “concentration camp”, where temperatures inside the tents would reach upwards of 145 degrees during the summer months. In 2014, after years of implementing discriminatory policies, Arpaio was charged and later found guilty of criminal contempt of court for failing to stop racial profiling practices. He was later pardoned by President Trump in a move that the American Civil Liberties Union declared “a presidential endorsement of racism”.