Documentary Report Exposes John Deere’s ‘Woke’ Internal Agenda

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S.A. McCarthy |The Washington Stand

One of America’s best-loved farming brands has “gone woke,” embracing everything from diversity standards to Pride initiatives to anti-Christian bias, according to a new report.

Conservative documentary filmmaker and former music video director Robby Starbuck released an eight-minute video on Tuesday exposing John Deere for having “gone woke.” According to Starbuck’s report, the farming and machinery company has sponsored LGBT Pride events for children as young as three years of age, insists that employees use “preferred pronouns” in all formal communications, enforces diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) standards, and offers training against “whiteness” and “Christian privilege.”

“It’s time to expose John Deere,” Starbuck said in his social media post. He said that John Deere “has been one of the most beloved brands by conservative farmers but recently[,] on CEO John May’s watch, they’ve gone woke.” Starbuck said that his investigation into the company best known for its green tractors has been extensive and he plans to follow his eight-minute exposé with “weeks, maybe even months” of more in-depth reporting.

Starbuck’s report began by covering John Deere’s “personal pronoun policy.” A screenshot from the company’s career website reads, “We encourage employees to use their personal pronouns (such as he/him/his, she/her/hers, they/them/theirs) in internal and external communications, including email correspondence and email signatures.” The website says the pronoun is not only “a sign of mutual respect, it’s practical for our global company.”

Next, Starbuck reported that John Deere sponsored an event in Des Moines, Iowa, called “Capital City Pride’s Little Rainbow Run,” which was aimed at children aged three to 10. “I don’t care if you’re gay or straight, kids should not be celebrating what type of sex you like,” Starbuck commented. He continued, “It’s weird. It’s creepy.”

Another screenshot featured in the report shows a John Deere training session for adult employees on the “genderbread man.” Starbuck explained, “If you’re not familiar with that, it’s the whole concept that basically gender’s completely fluid, there’s no such thing as your biological sex, you just are whatever you think you are.” Starbuck also reported that John Deere sponsors a number of internal employee resource groups (ERGs) dedicated to different “identities,” including LGBT. Employees were encouraged to design rainbow-themed logos for their varying ERGs.

John Deere has also heavily embraced DEI policies and initiatives, Starbuck found. He explained, “One of many ways they upped the game on DEI was for the financing team leaders to do something called a 21-day ‘United for Equity’ challenge through United Way,” an international non-profit network. Starbuck himself took the 21-day challenge and recounted that “it was recommended to me that I read Ibram Kendi’s ‘How to Be an Antiracist.’ … It says that ‘racism is something that we all carry within ourselves. As a result, we must unlearn biased and racist ideas to replace them with tools and actions that are centered around equity, empathy, and solidarity.’” Kendi is known as a Marxist and has focused much of his career on “antiracism.”

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Starbuck said that the 21-day challenge also included reading a book called “Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture.” Other challenges included reviewing a “Glossary of Racial Equity Terms,” listening to a podcast episode entitled “Bias Isn’t Just a Police Problem, It’s a Preschool Problem,” reading another of Kendi’s books called “Antiracist Baby,” and reading a book about black people who identify as transgender. Starbuck joked, “When I was recommended a book about black transgenders, the first thing that popped in my mind by the way: tractors. I mean, it immediately links together for me.”

Yet another challenge was listening to a podcast called “Seeing White,” which Starbuck explained is about “the history of how whiteness came to be, and yes, it is completely derogatory against white people.” Another part of the 21-day challenge revolved around a video course from far-left activist Robin DiAngelo, called “Deconstructing White Privilege.” Starbuck asked, tongue in cheek, “Are you guys wanting to buy a John Deere tractor yet?” The training program also listed “White Privilege,” “Christian Privilege,” and “Heterosexual Privilege” as among the most “types of privilege.” The documentary filmmaker quipped, “No, they don’t mean that in a nice way.”

“That was promoted on the John Deere website, that the finance team did that,” Starbuck summarized. “Apparently they love it when employees do things like that, because they’ve given millions to United Way since then.”

Starbuck also shared videos of John Deere employees (accompanied by their “personal pronouns”) discussing the company’s DEI policies. “DEI is no longer an option, it’s a business imperative,” said Viji George, a division leader for John Deere’s digital solutions wing. Of note, Starbuck found that John Deere posts more openly about its LGBT and DEI agendas on LinkedIn than other social media sites.

“To put it mildly, John Deere seems to have forgotten who their customers are. Having a farm myself, I’m disgusted that a once great American brand is now taking this turn to seemingly embrace leftist policies that are diametrically opposed to the values of most farmers,” Starbuck wrote in a social media post accompanying the video. “When we use our voices and wallets to vote our values, we can change the world and we can restore great American companies to a culture of sanity, meritocracy and culture war neutrality OR we can inspire competitors to step up to the plate to fight for our business.”

Starbuck contrasted John Deere against Tractor Supply Co., which opted last month to permanently retire its DEI and Pride initiatives. “We work hard to live up to our Mission and Values every day and represent the values of the communities and customers we serve. We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them. We have taken this feedback to heart,” the company said in a statement, announcing the elimination of its DEI departments and a renewed commitment to “ensure our activities and giving tie directly to our business.”

“We will continue to listen to our customers and Team Members. Your trust and confidence in us are of the utmost importance, and we don’t take that lightly,” Tractor Supply Co. wrote. “Rural communities are the backbone of our nation and what make America great. We are honored to be a part of them. We are always here and ready to serve you and your family with our legendary service for the life you love. See you in the stores.”

Tractor Supply Co.’s decision was spurred, at least in part, by reactions to Starbuck’s prior reporting on the company. “As we saw with my Tractor Supply stories, millions of people spoke out against these types of woke policies and ultimately Tractor Supply did the right thing by eliminating woke policies, donations, trainings and positions because of your voices,” he wrote on Tuesday. “The customer is king and most of us just want companies we shop at to stop virtue signaling about divisive social, cultural and political issues.”


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

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